This honor gets him going

Lester is happy to take Star spot

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By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / July 11, 2011

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Jon Lester said he didn’t have anything special planned with his family for the All-Star break.

“We were staying here,’’ Lester said yesterday as his 11-month-old-son, Hudson, fiddled with the sunglasses tucked in his dad’s shirt. “We were just going to lay low, hang out, and do stuff around the house. Just be normal for a couple of days.’’

But those plans changed when Lester learned he had been selected to the American League squad for tomorrow night’s All-Star Game in Phoenix. Lester was named to replace Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, a player-selection who started yesterday against the Angels, making him ineligible to pitch tomorrow.

However, because Lester is on the disabled list and not able to pitch, Toronto’s Ricky Romero was added to the AL roster.

“He’s not pitching, but he gets to represent the Red Sox, which I think is really cool,’’ manager Terry Francona said of Lester. “I think it means a lot to him, as it should, and the fact he could be recognized as an All-Star, tip his hat and be part of it, I think is really terrific.’’

Lester was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday after his start Tuesday against the Blue Jays was cut short after four innings because of a strained left latissimus. Still, it wasn’t going to deter him from going to Phoenix to make his second career All-Star appearance.

“Any time you’re selected, however it is, it’s an honor,’’ said Lester, who expressed some disappointment a week ago after not being selected despite posting 10 wins. “That’s what I told Tito today when he asked if I wanted to go or if I didn’t. I said, ‘Yeah, I’d like to go.’ Obviously, you never know how many you’re going to be at, so it’s always nice when you do get selected to go out there and enjoy it.’’

And that’s what Lester planned to do, in joining David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett, and Kevin Youkilis.

“Last year, my wife was pregnant and couldn’t go, so she gets to go and we’ll take him,’’ Lester said, nodding to Hudson. “It should be fun, it should be interesting.’’

Beckett, who suffered a mild hyperextension of his left knee when he slipped on a wet mound in Friday night’s 10-3 victory over the Orioles, was cleared to participate in the All-Star Game after a side session yesterday.

“He really did a good job,’’ Francona said of Beckett. “He understands that if it’s not, he won’t pitch. For us to tell the league that he was OK, he had to be OK, because we don’t want to hang anybody out to dry.’’

Medical updates
Francona said Carl Crawford, who has been on the DL since June 18 with a left hamstring strain, will make a couple of rehab starts in Pawtucket. “If everything goes according to plan, he’ll come in here Thursday, work out and hit,’’ Francona said. “Just so he doesn’t have to go into a game after not playing cold, he’ll play for Pawtucket Friday and Saturday in left field and he’ll travel Sunday to Baltimore and join us Monday.’’ . . . Francona said Jed Lowrie, on the DL since June 17 with a left shoulder strain, has not been cleared to begin hitting. “He’s still not there with the strength,’’ Francona said. “When the strength gets more even, then he’ll start doing some hitting.’’ . . . Clay Buchholz, who had said he hoped to begin throwing yesterday, did not, but it was not the result of any kind of physical setback. It was just a miscommunication on his part. Buchholz continues to go through a regimen of stretching, icing, and core strengthening exercises.

Papi sets his order
Ortiz, who will captain the AL contingent of Gonzalez, Robinson Cano, and Jose Bautista in tonight’s Home Run Derby, said he had his lineup prepared to face the NL side captained by Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder. “I might go Cano, Gonzo, Bautista, and then me,’’ Ortiz said. “So I can carry all the pressure because I’ve already done it a bunch of times. It goes back and forth, so if there’s a situation where we are down by a certain amount of homers and all the pressure is on me, I probably know how to deal with it better than the rest of the guys. That’s why I might put myself later. But I’ll talk to the guys first to see how they feel.’’

Zero hour
Daniel Bard threw a scoreless eighth inning in yesterday’s 8-6 win over the Orioles, extending his career-long scoreless streak to 19 1/3 innings over his last 18 appearances, marking the Sox’ longest such streak since Hideki Okajima, now toiling in Pawtucket, threw 20 2/3 scoreless innings from April 4-May 20, 2007. Bard also picked up his AL-leading 21st hold, the most ever by a Sox reliever before the break. “He’s been very efficient, which is good, because we can send him out there more,’’ Francona said of Bard . . . Gonzalez had two hits yesterday and now has 128, the most by a Red Sox before the break (since 1933) . . . Dustin Pedroia’s homer in the second extended his hit streak to a season-high 12 games. He is hitting .347 with 10 RBIs in that span . . . Ellsbury went 2 for 4 yesterday and is hitting .465 in his last 10 games . . . To make room for rookie starter Kyle Weiland, whose major league debut was tarnished when he and Francona were ejected in the fifth inning, Scott Atchison was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket. It was fourth time this season the righthanded Atchison had been called up and sent down . . . Faces in the crowd: Tennis Hall of Famers Andre Agassi and his wife Steffi Graf . . . Former Red Sox manager Joe Morgan (1985-1991) was among those on hand for the 14th annual Alumni Day . . . Condolences to Mike Reinold, Sox head athletic trainer/assistant director of medical services, whose 62-year-old father passed away suddenly last Thursday.

Michael Vega can be reached at

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