Final push could catapult Pedey to 5th ASG

Red Sox second baseman ranked third in voting as of Friday morning

Final push could catapult Pedey to 5th ASG

BOSTON -- Red Sox slugger David Ortiz issued a reminder to fans, as the Final Vote reaches the home stretch.

"#VotePedey !!!", Ortiz posted to his Twitter account on Thursday.

• Cast your Esurance Final Vote for Pedroia

When the latest round of voting was announced on Friday morning, Dustin Pedroia ranked third among the five American League candidates.

Fans can cast their Final Vote ballots until 4 p.m. ET on Friday, and Twitter support now counts toward the tally.

Ortiz and his teammates have enjoyed watching Pedroia return to All-Star status this season.

In 2014, Pedroia was so hindered by injuries to his left wrist and thumb that he hit just seven home runs with a .712 OPS. He was able to regain his strength following surgery and regained his power early in the 2015 season. But then came other significant ailment. Pedroia blew out his left hamstring on June 25, limiting his season to 93 games.

The 32-year-old Pedroia came in this season with the determination to prove his skills had not diminished. To do that, he would need to stay off the disabled list. Thus far -- knock on wood -- mission accomplished.

"You've got to find a way to make sure you're on the field, and if you're on the field you can do what you do," Pedroia said. "Obviously there's a lot of people that have helped me to maintain my health. It's a long list, but they've helped me out a ton."

Pedroia's solo blast

Nobody had ever questioned Pedroia's work ethic. If anything, he might have pushed himself too hard in previous years over the winter and during the season.

The second baseman admits he's gotten smarter about his preparation.

"I've toned it back a lot," said Pedroia. "Certain days, I won't take ground balls and stay off my legs, things like that. You just have to work a little bit smarter."

Pedroia has played in 82 of Boston's first 84 games, hitting .305 to go along with 53 runs, 103 hits, 20 doubles, eight homers and an .810 OPS.

"That's always the goal," said Pedroia. "Work real hard and expect to play well. You can never be satisfied. You always have to keep working and to try to get better every day."

Pedroia's two-run single

Being named an All-Star for the fifth time -- and first since 2013 -- would be special for Pedroia.

"It's always special to go," Pedroia said. "I've been selected for four and one of them I broke my foot like a week before, and then I missed one [in 2009] because our first son was going to be born. It's always great to go and to have a chance to be around the best guys in the game."

The ultimate team player, Pedroia would love nothing more than to cheer his six All-Star teammates (Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Steven Wright and Craig Kimbrel).

"I'm not too much of a self-promoter, but it would be good to go to see some of our young guys," Pedroia said. "I'm pretty proud of all of them getting a chance to start, and obviously to watch David in his last one would be pretty cool."

Pedroia's RBI double

The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will be announced during a Final Vote-themed telecast of "MLB Now" featuring commentary from political analyst Jeff Greenfield, live on MLB Network and MLB.com from 4-5 p.m. ET. MLB Network will provide extensive coverage across all of its studio programming during the Final Vote, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating the cities where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.

Baseball fans have cast nearly 600 million online votes for Final Vote candidates since the program's inception in 2002. In addition to MLB.com and the official club websites, fans can use their mobile devices to cast votes at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Final Vote will include social balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET on Friday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.