Sox trying to make Youkilis an All-Star
Team will ask to have first baseman put on players ballot
BOSTON -- How's this for an All-Star dilemma? Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is enjoying a comfortable lead in the balloting for American League first basemen. Meanwhile, Kevin Youkilis, who starts at first base for the Sox and is having an All-Star-caliber season, is not on the fan ballot.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein might have brainstormed a solution that could put both men on the AL squad that will take the field in San Francisco on July 10.
Epstein suggested that the Red Sox make a special request to Major League Baseball that Youkilis -- instead of Ortiz -- be listed at first base on the ballot distributed to players. It is the players who have the most control over the selection of the reserve All-Stars.
Ortiz heard about the suggestion from Epstein and manager Terry Francona and was all for it.
"Theo came to me and asked me about it," said Ortiz. "I just told him go ahead. If I can do anything for my teammates, I will."
The Red Sox, as of late Wednesday afternoon, hadn't yet submitted the paperwork to Major League Baseball requesting that Youkilis be listed on the player ballot instead of Ortiz.
"They did call me to ask about the process and whether they can make a switch if they want to," said Phyllis Merhige, vice president/club relations for Major League Baseball.
Both players are enjoying solid seasons for the Red Sox. Ortiz, a three-time All-Star, entered Wednesday hitting .340 with 11 homers and 42 RBIs. Youkilis, who has never been an All-Star, is hitting .335 with eight homers and 33 RBIs.
"He's having a good year," Ortiz said of Youkilis. "I think being in the All-Star Game would be a really good experience for him."
Youkilis appreciated the support of his teammate.
"It shows how David can be a great teammate," Youkilis said. "He's been there, he's done that; I think he's trying to do a good thing for me. I appreciate it. All these guys in here support each other and play for each other."
Even if the players around the league don't vote for Youkilis, he still has a couple of other ways he could make the team. Three of the seven spots that are chosen by AL manager Jim Leyland are position players. Also, there will be a Final Vote ballot on MLB.com in which the fans have a chance to vote for the final All-Star in both the American and National Leagues.
"I don't know how it all works," Youkilis said. "I never really thought about it that much other than my father telling me that people had all these crazy ideas of writing me in, or putting me on as an outfielder -- some crazy things. For me, I don't think about it. Whatever happens, happens. All I care about right now is just playing ball -- trying to go out there each day and winning. If I get voted in, or if I play well enough where I make the All-Star team, that's an added bonus to what we've got going on here."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.