Red Sox notebook

Swisher squeaks past Youkilis

All-Star campaign pays off for Yankee

Could use the rest
By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / July 9, 2010

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TORONTO — In what Major League Baseball officials said was the closest vote ever, Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher edged Kevin Youkilis for the final spot on the American League roster in the All-Star Game.

Swisher received 9.8 million Internet votes in four days to beat Youkilis (whose total was not revealed) in what was said to be the tightest race in the nine years of the Final Vote competition.

Paul Konerko (White Sox), Michael Young (Rangers), and Delmon Young (Twins) trailed behind.

Youkilis is hitting .292 with 17 home runs, 55 RBIs, and a .409 on-base percentage. Swisher went into last night’s game in Seattle hitting .298 with 14 home runs, 48 RBIs, and a .376 OBP. He is an All-Star for the first time, making eight the number of Yankees named this year to manager Joe Girardi’s squad.

Swisher was an active participant in the marketing campaign mounted by the Yankees, shooting a video for the team’s website, seeking votes from his 1.2 million followers on Twitter, and soliciting celebrity endorsements.

Youkilis was far less involved in the process. Youkilis, a two-time All-Star, could use the time off. He came out of Tuesday’s game with an injured right ankle and limped off the field after making the final out of Wednesday’s game.

In the National League, Reds first baseman Joey Votto won his first All-Star spot, receiving 13.7 million votes, beating Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman, Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez, and Atlanta’s Billy Wagner. Padres reliever Heath Bell was a candidate before being chosen as an injury replacement.

Beltre takes a dip
This is a rarity, but Adrian Beltre is in a hitting slump.

The All-Star third baseman is 3 for 22 in six games this month with one RBI and one run. The short skid has dropped his batting average from .349 to .334.

For his career, however, Beltre has hit .281 in the second half of the season with an .821 OPS. He has hit .268 in the first half of seasons with a .755 OPS.

Lowrie update
Infielder Jed Lowrie played last night in his second rehabilitation game for Single A Lowell, going 1 for 2 with a walk and an RBI against Jamestown. He has been on the disabled list all season with mononucleosis.

Lowrie started at shortstop for the Spinners. Sox manager Terry Francona said Wednesday that Lowrie would get time at shortstop, second base, and third base during his rehab assignment, which can last up to 20 days. Lowrie is 2 for 4 with three walks in two games for Lowell.

Ranaudo impresses
Sox draft choice Anthony Ranaudo is doing his best to earn a big contract offer. The 6-foot-7-inch righthander from Louisiana State threw six no-hit innings for Brewster in a Cape Cod League game against Harwich. He walked four and struck out six.

In four starts for Brewster, Ranaudo has allowed only seven hits and one unearned run over 23 2/3 innings. He has walked seven and struck out 22.

An elbow injury dropped Ranaudo out of the first round. The Sox selected him with the 39th overall pick.

Ranaudo and his adviser, Scott Boras, are seeking a contract in line with what one of the first 10 picks would receive.

Road woes
The Sox, who start a three-game series with the Blue Jays tonight, have lost eight of their last 11 road games . . . Daniel Bard goes into the series not having allowed a run in his last nine outings. The righthander has allowed three hits without a walk while striking out nine in eight innings in those games . . . All-Star lefthander Jon Lester, who starts tonight for the Sox, is 10-3 with a 2.76 earned run average. Girardi suggested that he would name Tampa Bay’s David Price as his starter for Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Price improved to 12-4 and dropped his ERA to 2.42 in Wednesday’s victory against the Red Sox.

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