The Boston Red Sox have asked Major League Baseball to substitute hot-hitting Kevin Youkilis for David Ortiz as the team's first base entrant on the All-Star ballot distributed to other players, a gesture meant to help Youkilis' chances to help make the American League squad.
There are just 15 full days remaining in the fan balloting. In the most recent ballot results announced by MLB, Ortiz is by far the leading vote-getter among AL first basemen, with 1,055,260 votes, more than double the second-leading vote-getter, Minnesota's Justin Morneau.
Because it appears that Ortiz will be the starting first baseman for the AL, based on the fans' voting, the team asked Ortiz if he would be OK with it if Youkilis could be listed on the ballot sent to players.
"He was all for it," said one Major League Baseball source, "and excited about Youkilis' chances."
Major League Baseball does not require that the same players who are listed on the fans' ballot appear on the ballots given to players.
Ortiz is primarily a designated hitter, of course, but because DHs are not listed on the ballot, Ortiz was placed among the first basemen. Youkilis, Boston's regular first baseman, is having a breakout season, hitting .335 with eight homers, 33 RBIs and a .421 on-base percentage.
Ortiz has participated in the Home Run Derby each of the last three years but said Wednesday night that he will "chill out" and not take part in that portion of All-Star Game festivities in San Francisco.
"I've been doing it the last three years, and man, it just wears me out," he said, according to the Boston Herald.
Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.