Pirates reliever Mark Melancon was named to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game as an injury replacement, chosen by National League manager Bruce Bochy.
“I’m very humbled and excited to go,” Melancon said. “This is just a really cool moment. It takes your teammates to get to this game.”
Melancon owns an NL-reliever-best 0.81 ERA during his first season in Pittsburgh. Jason Grilli’s setup man is second in the league to the Pirates closer with a 1.62 reliever FIP. The 28-year-old was not originally selected to the NL team but found out Saturday he would be traveling to New York to participate in his first All-Star Game.
“These last 24 hours have been cruising by fast,” Melancon said.
Melancon had to make plans for 14 friends and family members to get to New York, mostly from Colorado and Nebraska.
“If we could’ve had a West Coast All-Star Game, it would have been better,” he joked.
Check out Melancon’s other All-Star numbers out of the Pirates bullpen in 44.1 innings:
- 27% strikeout rate (8th among NL relievers)
- 2.4% walk rate (2nd)
- 11.5 strikeouts per walk (2nd)
- 92.5% of baserunners stranded (4th)
- 0.79 walks/hits per inning (2nd)
“He’s been nothing short of great,” said Grilli, Melancon’s throwing partner. “He’s very deserving. I’m glad he’s going.”
While the two best members of the Pirates’ Shark Tank bullpen are off to NYC, the sharks themselves (including Teke and Cutter) will stay in their home clubhouse tank. As for the pitchers themselves, Bochy may break up the 8th-9th combination they have brought.
“Grilli and I are on Cloud 9,” Melancon said. “I don’t think we would care if we threw the 3rd and 4th.”
Pittsburgh starting pitcher Jeff Locke will not pitch in the All-Star Game after suffering lower back tightness. Neither Melancon nor Grilli are expected to have any availability issues for the Midsummer Classic even if they pitch Sunday. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has discussed with Bochy any limits on their usage.
The Pirates have five All-Star representatives for the first time since 1972 — Melancon, Grilli, Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Jeff Locke.