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David Ortiz soaks in the spotlight, compliments during All-Star Game festivities

July 13,2016 03:12

SAN DIEGO -- Tuesday was David Ortiz's special day and not even his American League East rivals could hide their excitement for the 40-year-old in his final All-Star Game appearance. Ortiz spent most of the day being paraded around San Diego, ...and more »

SAN DIEGO -- Tuesday was David Ortiz’s special day and not even his American League East rivals could hide their excitement for the 40-year-old in his final All-Star Game appearance.Ortiz spent most of the day being paraded around San Diego, interviewed by reporters from all over the world and finally, late in the afternoon, mingling with fellow All-Stars.Even in the National League, Ortiz is beloved. Marlins ace Jose Fernandez told him he was his favorite player. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said, “His personality is infectious. I’m just excited to be on the same field as him.”Ortiz was hoping to face former teammate and current Cubs lefty Jon Lester.“I miss Lester,” Ortiz said. “He’s like a little brother to me.”Players on the Orioles, Rays, Blue Jays and Yankees temporarily stopped rooting against Ortiz and instead became his teammate.Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson went as far as saying he wouldn’t mind if Ortiz decided not to retire at the end of the season.“He’s one of the best, in my opinion, one of the best baseball personalities in the game, one who I’ve looked up to for a long time,” Donaldson said. “The reason I say ‘if’ so much (about Ortiz’s retirement) is that I don’t know if I want him to go. I don’t know if I want that. He means a lot to the game of the baseball. To see him doing the things he’s doing is awesome. As a player, even though he’s an opponent of mine, I still respect him and his game.“I mean, if he retires I’m not going to be super upset, because he loves to hit in the Rogers Centre, and he’s in our division, an opponent who is very good. So I’m not going to sit here and try to convince him. That’s not my job. All I’m saying is I respect his game and I’m going to miss him if it is his last year.”Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, a free agent at the end of the season, laughed nervously when asked if he wanted to be the heir to Ortiz as the DH in Boston.“I don’t know about that,” Encarnacion said.One of two representatives of the Yankees, left-hander Andrew Miller was feeling sentimental about Ortiz’s last All-Star Game.“He’s just incredibly generous,” said Miller, part of the Red Sox from 2011-2014. “As a teammate he went out of his way to be good to me and he didn’t have to. He’s a DH from the Dominican, he didn’t have a whole lot in common with a guy that signed a minor league contract and was a starter that got moved to the bullpen and might have been a lefty specialist. He was awesome to me. Very positive. Getting a chance to play with him when I was trying to turn things around, to have someone like that tell you that you’re nasty was something that went a long way. He was awesome to play with. One of the guys I’ll look back and I’ll tell people I played with him.”Miller then remembered that his Yankees (44-44) were 5-½ games behind the Red Sox (49-38) in the A.L. East.“I don’t like pitching against him,” he said. “I’m happy he’s doing well. I’m hoping he’s not in our way at the end of the day, because our goal is to win, my goal is to win as a Yankee. But all in all I’m thrilled he’s having a good year and not surprised.”Follow Boston Herald Red Sox beat writer @JMastrodonato on Twitter. He can be reached by email at jason.mastrodonato@bostonherald.com.

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