SEATTLE -- After narrowly missing a trip to the All-Star Game last season, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara could be in line to earn a berth on the squad for the first time in his Major League career this season.
Though the Red Sox have underperformed as a team, their closer has been lights-out, which could help him earn a trip to Minneapolis.
Entering Tuesday's game against the Mariners, Uehara was 3-1 with 15 saves and a 1.30 ERA. Uehara's one blown save of the season occurred on Sunday at Oakland, when he surrendered two home runs.
"He's performed at such an elite level for not just this year but over a long period," said manager John Farrell recently. "Without looking at the names of guys that would be in that same conversation, in our eyes, he's certainly an All-Star, but before even saying or suggesting that he's going to be there in Minnesota, we're hopeful there's many more save opportunities between now and the break.
"He's done everything we've asked -- multiple innings, tie games. He's not your 'classic closer' of today. More than three outs. Save situations. He's a breath of a fresh air, and he's one hell of a pitcher."
Uehara became Boston's closer on June 21, 2013. Since that date, he has an 0.83 ERA and a .132 opponents' batting average. Over his last 79 innings, he has six walks and 103 strikeouts.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15, on FOX.
Betts, Owens named to Futures Game roster
SEATTLE -- Mookie Betts, the prospect who has been drawing buzz in Red Sox Nation all season, will play in the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Minneapolis on July 13.
Betts, who was recently promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, is hitting .346 in 74 games in the Minors this season with eight homers and 47 RBIs. The right-handed hitter has 28 stolen bases and a .957 OPS.
Betts has played second base and outfield this season, with his exposure to the latter position creating speculation he could soon join the Red Sox.
Lefty Henry Owens, who is currently at Double-A Portland and ranked the club's top prospect, will join Betts in the showcase game for top prospects.
Both players will be on the U.S. Team.
Owens has dazzled this season, going 9-3 with a 1.99 ERA in 14 starts.
The Futures Game, which is now in its 16th year, features the top Minor League prospects competing in a nine-inning contest as part of Taco Bell All-Star Sunday. The U.S. Team, which has won each of the last four contests, leads the all-time series, 9-6. The game will begin at 5 p.m. ET and can be viewed live on MLB.com and MLB Network.
The game can be seen live on MLB.com and MLB Network, and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89 and Sirius channel 209. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send and receive tweets to and from the U.S. and World Team dugouts during the game by tagging tweets with the hashtags #USDugout and #WorldDugout.
As Buchholz returns, Workman staying in rotation
SEATTLE -- There are a lot of moving parts with the Red Sox's rotation at the moment, but this is what can be gathered at this point.
Clay Buchholz will be activated from the disabled list in time to pitch Wednesday against the Mariners, manager John Farrell officially announced on Tuesday.
Brandon Workman's six-game suspension ended Tuesday and he will remain in the rotation and could start as early as Friday against the Yankees.
As for lefty Felix Doubront, he will be available out of the bullpen for the final two games in Seattle and probably part of the weekend series at Yankee Stadium. However, Farrell also mentioned Doubront perhaps slotting back into the rotation for a start against the Cubs, who are at Fenway Park from June 30-July 2.
Then there is Rubby De La Rosa, the hard-throwing righty who is 2-2 with a 2.51 ERA in his five starts.
Farrell was non-committal when asked if De La Rosa would have to go back to Triple-A Pawtucket.
"Preference would be to keep him in the rotation," said Farrell. "As strong as he's been, as efficient as he's been, he's been outstanding. He's done everything within his abilities to affect our planning going forward."
Sometimes it comes down to roster flexibility. Earlier this season, Workman was sent down to the Minors only because he had options.
But with the Red Sox scratching for wins at this point of the season, there is a realization that they need to go with their best pitchers.
"This is still a bottom line game," said Farrell. "We're conscious of that. You could say that the easy move would be, 'Well, a guy's got options.' And you save the depth and you send a guy back to Triple-A. Well, it just so happens that he's performed as good as anyone on our staff, and everyone sees that, and that's Rubby and in Brandons' case. We've got to take a look at every possibility and every option available, every combination available, to get to where we're at the normal allotment of pitches and position players."
When Buchholz is activated Wednesday, the Red Sox will presumably have to take a pitcher off the roster. That will still leave them with 13 pitchers.
However, if Shane Victorino is activated Friday, another pitcher will likely come off the roster so that Boston can go with the more traditional allotment of 12 pitchers and 13 position players.
Slumping Bogaerts moves down to seventh
SEATTLE -- It was roughly a month ago that Xander Bogaerts caught fire and was elevated to the No. 2 spot in manager John Farrell's batting order. But on Tuesday night, a slumping Bogaerts was dropped down to seventh against Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez.
It marked the first time since May 22 that Bogaerts started a game batting somewhere besides second.
In his last 52 at-bats entering Tuesday, Bogaerts had produced just five hits. His average went from .304 to .260 between June 3-23.
His mentality at the moment?
"Coming in to the park every day being yourself and trusting yourself that it will turn around soon," said Bogaerts. "It's not the situation you want to be in, going through something like this. But you've got to go through it and really see what kind of person you are."
The Red Sox still have a lot of confidence in Bogaerts.
"He's missed some pitches," said Farrell. "Can't say that he's been out front. He's just missed some pitches in the strike zone. So he moving down the lineup is for a couple of reasons. One, to give him a little bit of a breather. Two, to break up the run of left-handers in the bottom part of the order."
The one thing Bogaerts never shows a hint of is panic.
"Every at-bat is a new one," said Bogaerts. "Yesterday, I got a tough break on a 3-2 pitch that wasn't even close. When something's going wrong, a lot of things are going wrong. There's no excuses. You've got to go out there and try to perform better to help the team."