7/14/2014 6:59 P.M. ET
Sox All-Stars have faith in second-half turnaround
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Though the Red Sox are in last place in the American League East at the symbolic midpoint of the season, their two All-Stars haven't given up hope that the team can turn it around.
Ace lefty Jon Lester was asked if the Red Sox could be categorized as buyers instead of sellers heading toward the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"Yeah," said Lester. "Really, our division is pretty open. You look at all the injuries. You look at the Blue Jays, they played well there for a month, month and a half and now they're struggling with some injuries. Baltimore has done a good job to combat that.
"They lost a big piece in Matt Wieters and they're finding a way to stay up there. You're talking about nine games, you're talking about a homestand where things can be very, very different if we get on a roll and we start playing better. I think you saw that the last five or six games from us. The offense has started swinging the bat a lot better lately. If we continue to keep our guys in games, we're going to win more games and hopefully those one-run games are going to change for us."
Closer Koji Uehara took some optimism out of the stretch before the All-Star break, when the Sox won four out of their last five.
"I feel that the way we finished off the first half and how many games there are left in the season, I certainly think that we have a shot," said Uehara.
Given that he is eligible for free agency at the end of the season, Uehara is a player who could be attractive to another team if the Red Sox go into seller's mode.
Uehara was traded from the Orioles to the Rangers at the Trade Deadline in 2011.
"I think I can keep myself in a calm kind of situation, certainly because I had that kind of experience three years ago," said Uehara. "I'd certainly love to continue my career with the Red Sox, but it's really not up to me. We'll see."
Humble Koji not expecting to close All-Star Game
MINNEAPOLIS -- It might seem a no-brainer for American League All-Star manager John Farrell to put the ball in Koji Uehara's right hand should his team have the lead going into the ninth inning on Tuesday night.
After all, Uehara rewarded Farrell's faith again and again last season en route to a World Series championship, and many times in 2014 as well.
But if Farrell goes in a different direction, he certainly won't offend Uehara. Perhaps he was being humble, but the righty doesn't expect he will be the closer in the All-Star Game.
Uehara thinks Farrell should please the home crowd by having Minnesota closer Glen Perkins work the ninth.
"I have a feeling that the closer for the Twins will be in that role," said Uehara. "I don't think it will be me. I'm going to be in the very end of the dugout, trying to keep out of the spotlight."
Farrell said at his news conference on Monday that he hadn't decided on a closer, but that Uehara was certainly in the mix.
At the age of 39, Uehara was thoroughly enjoying getting to go to his first Major League All-Star Game. As he spoke to the media, Uehara was accompanied by his 8-year-old son Kazuma.
"In Japan, this would not be possible, bringing your family and kids to the All-Star Game," Uehara said. "It's certainly been fun."
Boras has confidence in Bogaerts, Drew
MINNEAPOLIS -- Red Sox third baseman Xander Bogaerts finished the first half in a severe slump, but it is just a temporary condition, said agent Scott Boras.
Due to the way Bogaerts eased his way to the Major Leagues late last season and helped the Red Sox win the World Series, he masked some of the natural development issues that have led to his struggles this season.
"You come up to the big leagues your first year and there's no expectancy, and the other thing is the league doesn't know you," said Boras. "You've got to remember that Xander has had very little time in the Minor Leagues and he's learning how to hit sliders and breaking balls and the timing of it in the Major Leagues."
Boras has represented many star players over his decades in baseball, and he has no doubt Bogaerts can get to that level.
"Athletically, there is nothing that Xander can't do," Boras said. "I think we all trust that and know that the one thing he can't do is accelerate experience. When you have great, precocious athletes, they've conquered every dynamic that's given them. I don't think in the Minor Leagues they have sliders like that. He's just getting those at-bats and getting the timing. And I think we're going to see him once he gets that part where you wait and you stay inside the ball, and he gets that timing and the depth of the ball, he gets a significant amount of experience. And then, watch out."
Bogaerts started the season at shortstop but moved to third base when another Boras client -- veteran Stephen Drew -- re-joined the club in June.
After not having Spring Training, Drew is hitting .151 in his first 93 at-bats of the season.
"I think it's all a function of timing," said Boras. "One of the things is Stephen is stronger. He's the strongest he's ever been in his career. He's had a good deal of time to work out, he was at our sports fitness institute every day, really made a diligent effort. He's a guy who has strength under him.
"We get scouting reports, they're saying he's never played better defense, that his range is even better. He's really returned to a level of play that's probably beyond what it was when he was 25 or 26 and had a healthy ankle. That seems to have resolved itself.
"Now in the batter's box, it's really just about him. The Drew's take pitches, Drew's work the counts, they do things. And I think to get that acumen of being comfortable in the batter's box, I think that kind of started to unfold a little in Houston [before the All-Star break]. He's a lifetime .270 hitter and that's not going to go away, and he's in the prime of his career so I'm not concerned about him."