Right now, it’s Nick Swisher. But it’s not a slam dunk.
With the MLB.com ballot box set to close at 3:59 p.m. today, Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis is running neck-and-neck with the Yankee in online voting for the final AL All-Star spot, trailing yesterday afternoon by a single percentage point.
Even Sen. John Kerry, who knows all too well the sting of coming in second, is urging his constituents to “Vote Youk.”
Regardless of whether he makes it to Anaheim next week as an All-Star, Youkilis is having an MVP-caliber season, entering last night’s game against the Rays at Tropicana Field hitting .297 with 17 homers, 55 RBIs and an OPS of .999.
But after Tuesday’s injury scare, perhaps the smart vote today is for keeping him home. Maybe even playing in an exhibition game is tempting fate. With the Sox’ DL already worthy of All-Star status, the last thing Boston needs is another injury.
Thankfully, despite appearances, Youkilis’ “ankle cramp” was only enough to sideline him for half of one night. The first sacker was written in last night.
“I think Youk takes a lot of pride in not coming out of the lineup,” Terry Francona told WEEI-AM. “And it’s not just right now, it’s all the time. There’s days when we go up to him, day game after night game, and we say, ‘Hey, will this help you?’ And he says, ‘No, I want to play.’”