BOSTON -- When David Ortiz journeys to San Diego for the 10th All-Star appearance of his career, he will be flanked in the starting lineup by three young players who have energized him in Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts.
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The Red Sox will also be represented by a knuckleballer (Steven Wright) who has come out of nowhere, and a flame-throwing closer (Craig Kimbrel).
After having just one All-Star in 2015, Boston had six players selected, and four of them will start. Shortstop Bogaerts, center fielder Bradley and right fielder Betts will join designated hitter Big Papi as members of the American League's starting nine as voted in by the fans. The Red Sox have a chance to send seven to the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard (Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX) if Dustin Pedroia wins the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote in the AL.
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This is the third time in Red Sox history they've had at least four starters at the All-Star Game and first since 2005. This marks the first time Boston has had six All-Stars since 2008. Pedroia could see the Red Sox send seven for the first time since 2002.
"Well, we're going to have a great representation of the Red Sox -- and deservedly so," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I think what's great about the guys that are going to be participating in that game is we've got a number of starters, and I think that's more validation around the country for the votes that they've generated, and not just by our fans. Whether they're young players, or a veteran as David is, this is a great combination of players that we're going to be sending to San Diego."
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Ortiz will likely be a big storyline throughout the festivities, considering this is his last hurrah.
"The All-Star Game is always fun and it's a time for the fans to come and enjoy watching their favorite players," said Ortiz. "This will be my last year playing, so it's something that can turn out to be very special."
Ortiz is hitting .337 with 34 doubles, 19 homers, 66 RBIs and a 1.100 OPS at the age of 40.
Video: TEX@BOS: Broadcast on Red Sox's All-Star selections
Wright, who wasn't even projected to be in the starting rotation when Spring Training started, was selected by the players. The 31-year-old righty had just 26 appearances in the Major Leagues entering the season. He entered Tuesday second in the AL in ERA (2.42).
One of the first people Wright contacted after learning the news was Tim Wakefield, the 200-game winner who helped him develop the difficult craft of throwing a knuckleball.
"Yeah, I talked to him of course," said Wright. "I wanted him to hear it from me first. He's helped me out so much. He continues to help me."
Kimbrel was a selection of AL manager Ned Yost. Admittedly not off to his best start, Kimbrel (3.66 ERA, 17 saves in 19 opportunities) was pleasantly surprised to hear he will be going to San Diego.
"I didn't expect it at all," Kimbrel said of his fifth career All-Star selection. "I am a little surprised. This year has been up and down so far, but being selected and being able to go is a definite honor. If I get the chance to pitch, I'll go out there with what I've got and try to get some outs."
In the AL outfield, Bradley and Betts will play alongside Angels superstar Mike Trout.
"He's a great player," Betts said of Trout. "One of the best in the league, if not the best. Just to be sharing the outfield with him will be great."
For Bradley and Betts, who were both drafted in 2011 by the Red Sox and once roomed together in the Minor Leagues, it's special to go together.
"To have Markus out there is going to be a lot of fun," said Bradley. "You couldn't write it up like this."
Bradley had a 29-game hitting streak in May. He ripped his 14th homer of the season in Tuesday's 7-2 loss. Betts has been an all-around presence at the top of the lineup, hitting .298 with 71 runs, 110 hits, 21 doubles, four triples, 18 homers, 57 RBIs and 13 stolen bases.
Batting in the No. 3 spot, Bogaerts has been a force, hitting .332 with 22 doubles, nine homers and 52 RBIs while stealing 11 bases.
Fans can vote for the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote until 4 p.m. ET on Friday. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will be announced during a Final Vote-themed telecast of "MLB Now" featuring commentary from political analyst Jeff Greenfield, live on MLB Network and MLB.com from 4-5 p.m. ET. MLB Network will provide extensive coverage across all of its studio programming during the Final Vote, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating the cities where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.
Baseball fans have cast nearly 600 million online votes for Final Vote candidates since the program's inception in 2002. In addition to MLB.com and the official club websites, fans can use their mobile devices to cast votes at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Final Vote will include social balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET on Friday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.
On Tuesday, July 12, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.