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Moreland, 4 more Red Sox make All-Star team; Benintendi still in mix

Rob Bradford
July 08, 2018 - 7:58 pm

The Red Sox will be well-represented in Washington, D.C. at next week's All-Star Game, with five players guaranteed to be going and one more in the mix.

Having won the fan balloting at their respective positions were Mookie Betts (OF) and J.D. Martinez (designated hitter), with Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel being named to the American League pitching staff. Mitch Moreland was picked to join the A.L. team by the players.

"That was cool," Red Sox manager Alex Cora explained to reporters after his team's win over the Royals Sunday regarding Moreland making the team. "We talked about it before the game. This is a guy during the offseason, a lot of people didn't think was going to be here for X or Y reason. And we decided to make a commitment to him. He didn't start the season as an everyday player. He earned it. We made a huge move because we wanted him to play every day and he's doing it. Out of all of them – and I'm very proud of all of them – but to tell the team that he's an All-Star. That was amazing. The reaction – you should see, David Price got up right away and gave him a hug. It was a huge standing ovation. If you take a look at this team, at the way he acts and the way he goes about his business, it's very similar of what we ask for all of them. We're very proud of him."

"I know, I feel like we're making up half the team," Sale told reporters in Kansas City. "I always love going to the All-Star Game but being able to enjoy it with the teammates is a little bit more fun. Mitch, going for his first time, filling him in, I know his son is going to have a blast, too. It's fun, it's exciting, I'm looking forward to it."

For Sale, it's his seventh straight American League All-Star appearance. The lefty is leading all of baseball in strikeouts (76) while boasting a 2.36 ERA and .181 batting average against.

Betts is making his third straight All-Star Game, with the outfielder having the best first half of his career. Betts entered Sunday leading all major league hitters with a .343 batting average and 1.112 OPS. He came into the day tied for second in runs (69) while boasting 22 home runs.

Martinez, who leads MLB with 27 homers and 74 RBI, is making the All-Star team for the second time, having been picked by the players for the 2015 game. The Red Sox outfielder/designated hitter is also hitting .329.

"It's cool," Martinez told reporters regarding his first All-Star start. "It's an honor, it's one of those things where, I don't know, you do well and you kind of hope everyone kind of sees it and it's one of those things, you get noticed and it's a humbling thing."

Kimbrel has now made the All-Star Game seven times, including all three seasons he has been a member of the Red Sox. The closer has 27 saves (second-most in the majors) in 29 chances. He carries a 1.98 ERA and .152 batting average against.

Moreland is making his first MLB All-Star Game, having not made an All-Star team since 2008 when he was in Single-A. Having entered the season as a part-time player, the first baseman is hitting .288 with a .884 OPS and 11 home runs.

"Talk about a guy who deserves it more than anybody," Sale told reporters regarding Moreland. "You see him out on the field, playing. The work that he puts in, the amount of studying he does. Flat-out going out there on days he doesn't feel too good, he's about as tough as they get. We're all really excited for him."

"It's definitely pretty cool, just means you're doing something right," Moreland told reporters. "With that, I know hard work comes with that. I know I have to continue to do my thing and continue to work."

After a slow start, Benintendi has been one of the most productive outfielders in the American League, currently hitting .293 with a .894 OPS and 14 homers.

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