Pedroia rushed into duty, but enjoys the extra work
Second baseman pinch-runs in first; Ortiz goes hitless in AL's All-Star Game win
NEW YORK -- Dustin Pedroia didn't get elected to start Tuesday night's All-Star Game, but he essentially got the chance to anyway.
Two batters into the game, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano was belted by a pitch from Matt Harvey, causing a right quad contusion.
Out of the dugout came Pedroia as a pinch-runner, and he wound up playing six innings in the American League's 3-0 victory over the National League at Citi Field.
"It was fun," Pedroia said. "It was kind of weird going in there right from the beginning, but it was fun getting a chance to play with these guys. It was good to win the game. It was a great experience."
Pedroia went 0-for-2 at the plate, but he made a couple of nice plays at second base. David Ortiz, who started at designated hitter, was also 0-for-2 before being pinch-hit for in the seventh.
Both players were pleased to be part of an AL victory, which means that the AL East-leading Red Sox will have the home-field advantage for the World Series if they get there.
"I mean, I think we talked about it before. It's pretty important to the one team that's going to be in the World Series," Pedroia said. "Hopefully it's our team. It's good to win that game."
Before the game, Pedroia said that he would be ready whenever AL manager Jim Leyland needed him, but he never expected it would be that soon.
"Yeah, I was in panic mode," Pedroia said. "And then I just ran out there and 'Here we go.' It was a good time."
Considering that the Red Sox have been the chief rival of the Yankees for decades, Boston's All-Stars thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to watch Mariano Rivera pitch in his final Midsummer Classic.
Rivera came on for the eighth, and none of the other players took the field, allowing the legendary closer to get the spotlight to himself for a couple of minutes.
"It was pretty cool," Pedroia said. "It looked like he was kind of uncomfortable, but it was pretty cool. I had goose bumps the whole time. I'm sure a lot of people did."
Though Ortiz didn't make much of an impact in the game, he relished being on the big stage.
As evidenced by the rosters in this year's All-Star Game, some of the best talent in baseball these days is young. Ortiz, at the age of 37 and an All-Star for the ninth time, represents the old guard, but it's a role he clearly relishes.
"It's great," said Ortiz. "I like the fact that there's a lot of young, talented players in this room. It's not pretty much the same people over and over and over. You want the game to get better. You want people to get to know the new faces of the game, the future of the game. I've been having a lot of fun talking to most of the guys, like Mike Trout. A whole bunch of them that are here for the first or second time, and they're having a blast."
The only player at this year's Midsummer Classic who has been selected to more All-Star Games than Ortiz is Mariano Rivera, who will retire after the season.
"Yeah, it's a good feeling," Ortiz said. "Especially, those young guys, they always want to hear some stories and some things that the older guys have kind of done in an All-Star Game so they do the same things later on in their career."
Ortiz laughed when a reporter asked him about playing another 10 years.
"No, no chance," Ortiz said. "Not even if they offered it to me right now. No. no, no. I'm just going to keep playing the game as long as I'm happy and I'm healthy. I know I've been around for a long time and things are going well, but, man, at some point, things start catching up. And when it's time to go, it's time to go."
The third Red Sox All-Star, right-hander Clay Buchholz, was reduced to spectator status as he continues to recover from a neck strain that has kept him sidelined since June 9.
But Buchholz is glad he decided to make the trip to New York.
"Yeah, that's why I came here. I knew I wouldn't be involved in the actual game, but just being around in the Derby, watching it last night, that was fun and getting to be a part of this today, it's just a cool experience to be able to have," said Buchholz.
It has been a nice diversion from wondering when his neck will allow him to pitch again.
"It's nice to just take my mind off everything. It's tough to watch your guys go out and grind for a month, especially when I felt really good going into that," Buchholz said. "It is what it is, though. I'm fortunate to be here with these guys today."
Another treat for Buchholz was having his locker right next to former teammate Justin Masterson, who now pitches for the Indians.
"One of the best. Like everybody else in there, he deserves to be here," Buchholz said. "He's an awesome guy. Definitely fun to talk to and be around."
Buchholz enjoyed being able to talk shop with some of the best pitchers in the game.
Who in particular?
"Matt Moore and Chris Sale," Buchholz said. "I talked to them. They are great dudes. Obviously good pitchers. It's neat to hear everybody's take on all the guys you face. Those are two guys that throw hard and have been dominant. It's pretty neat to get to talk to guys like that."
With the All-Star festivities now behind them, the trio of Red Sox All-Stars will get a couple of days to rest before a challenging start to the second half.
The Sox will open with a three-game series against the Yankees at Fenway, followed by four with the Rays and three in Baltimore.
"That's a big test for us," said Pedroia. "Any time you're playing in the division, you find out where you're at, and it's a way to make up ground or lose it. Hopefully we play well and win as many games as we can."