BOSTON -- With his selections for this year’s MLB All-Star Game all but announced, Red Sox manager John Farrell reflected on his experience determining the American League roster on Sunday afternoon.
“I would consider the whole process to be not only fun but challenging in its own right,” Farrell said. “The fact that we’re representing the American League is the greatest significance of all.”
As defending World Series champions, Farrell and his staff will be at the helm of the AL opposite St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny on the National League side. Along with his coaches, Farrell also invited Indians manager Terry Francona and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to join him in Minnesota.
Farrell, of course, spent four years (2007-10) as pitching coach when Francona was Red Sox manager.
“He’s always of help,” Farrell said with a smirk.
Farrell said that he’s reached out to previous All-Star managers and has leaned on his staff for advice as the game approaches.
“A lot of the dialogue goes on between the staff that’s currently here,” he said. “Their input is the most valued because of all that we share and all the challenges that we work to meet together.”
As part of the All-Star process, fan voting determines the starting lineups for each team while the players themselves have input on eight of the 13 pitchers on the roster as well as the reserves. Farrell said that although the majority of the selections are determined before he gets into the mix, the challenge of narrowing the roster down to a deserving 33 players was one of the toughest parts.
“It really guides your final selections,” Farrell said. “There’s so many deserving players, that’s where it really begins to get difficult. There’s going to be players that might be deserving that are omitted because of making sure that every team is represented. And there’s a limit to the overall number allowed on the roster.”
Among the players deserving of an All-Star appearance are several of Farrell’s own. Jon Lester is in the midst of a career year, going 9-7 with a 2.73 ERA in 18 starts while closer Koji Uehara has once again been dominant, converting 18 of 19 save chances and posting a 1.36 ERA in 39 games. On the offensive side, Farrell also has the likes of four-time All-Star Dustin Pedroia and nine-time pick David Ortiz to choose from.
All in all, it’s been a challenging but rewarding process for Farrell, who called being part of the game “an honor.”
“I will say having now gone through this the first time, you’re handed an awful lot to make sure you include,” Farrell said. “You want to do what’s right by the individuals who have had a great first half of this season.”
Selections for the All-Star Game will be unveiled as part of the “Taco Bell All-Star Selection Show” on ESPN at 7 p.m. Sunday. The game will take place July 15 at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox.
The winner of the game will determine which league gets home-field advantage during the World Series.
“We have an obligation to do everything we can to win the game for home-field advantage in October,” Farrell said. “In the end, obviously it will be a very good team.”