Okajima edges Bonderman, Halladay, others for All-Star spot

Hideki Okajima


BOSTON -- Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima was added to the
AL All-Star roster Thursday night as the winner of the 32nd man
Internet vote, giving Boston a leading six players in the game.

The voting ended at 6 p.m., and the results were released
shortly before the start of Boston's game against the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays. When the announcement was put on the scoreboard during
the sixth inning, Okajima got a standing ovation from the fans and
his teammates.

He removed his cap, waved with both hands, and bowed repeatedly in each direction.

Okajima received 4.3 million votes in four days to beat Detroit
starter Jeremy Bonderman, Minnesota reliever Pat Neshek, Los
Angeles Angels starter Kelvim Escobar and Toronto starter Roy

Red Sox pitchers Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon were already named to the roster for Tuesday's game in San Francisco, along with
third baseman Mike Lowell and sluggers Manny Ramirez and David

It's the first time that the Red Sox have ever had more than two
pitchers at the All-Star game.

Okajima is 2-0 with a 0.88 ERA and four saves in 38 relief
appearances this season. He is the sixth native of Japan to be
selected for the All-Star game and the ninth Red Sox rookie;
Okajima played 12 years in Japan before making his U.S. major
league debut this season.

Okajima is the third Red Sox player to win the Internet voting,
joining Johnny Damon (2002) and Jason Varitek ('03).