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David Ortiz on Yasiel Puig, Jose Iglesias and the All-Star Game: ‘You don’t hate, you appreciate’

07.05.13 at 5:55 am ET
By
David Ortiz

David Ortiz

Yasiel Puig. Jose Iglesias. Jonathan Papelbon. The All-Star Game.

David Ortiz has the answer to those in the thick of this debate.

“You don’t hate, you appreciate,” the Red Sox designated hitter said.

Ortiz was responding to the question of if Puig – the ultra-talented rookie outfielder for the Dodgers who has 29 major-league games under his belt – should be eligible to make the National League All-Star team. It was the same question recently posed by reporters to Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, whose response was: “To me, it’s an absolute joke. It’s really kind of stupid if you ask me.”

“I know what Pap’s point is,” Ortiz added. “[Puig] doesn’t have enough time, which I understand. I’m pretty sure that’s why Pap said what he said. He doesn’t have enough time to earn it.

“On the other hand, if the fans vote for him, screw it. I was looking at [Puig’s] numbers last night and I was impressed, myself. What he’s doing is incredible.”

While Ortiz wouldn’t fully go down the road of welcoming Puig onto the All-Star team through the conventional players/managerial voting process, he was adamant that the fans should get what they want. And there is a very good chance the public will want Puig. (In the same light they chose Bryce Harper for the National League’s final spot a year ago.)

“If he gets voted by the fans, screw it,” the DH said. “What he’s doing is extraordinary. It’s sick what he’s doing. If a guy like that goes to the All-Star Game, it’s because he’s doing something incredible.”

And, as Ortiz points out, if you talk Puig, Iglesias has to at least enter the conversation.

The Red Sox infielder has played in 13 more games than his former teammate on the Cuban National Team, having hit .411 with a .990 OPS. Not the numbers of Puig (.430 batting average, 1.174 OPS, 8 HRs), but hard to ignore, just the same.

Iglesias’ production can’t keep simply being viewed as a small sample size considering it has now been 42 games. Think about it: By the time the Red Sox had played 42 games, it was May 17. On that date the leading hitter in the majors (Miguel Cabrera) was hitting .376. That’s 35 points below Iglesias’ current number.

When asked if he had thought about making the All-Star team, Iglesias admitted that he had. When did it first cross his mind?

“Maybe today,” Iglesias said Wednesday. “Earlier today. Hopefully I will be there.”

As for Ortiz’ thoughts on the matter, the designated hitter views Iglesias’ candidacy in an even more favorable light than his view of Puig.

“Jose, in his case, he made the team. He made the team out of spring training. It’s a little different,” Ortiz said. “And he’s played in 40-something games. I would to like to see the young talent out there, I don’t care. He’s just unbelievable, that’s what I think.”

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