Despite no appearance in All-Star game, former Wildcat Melancon still humbled by selection
Pittsburgh Pirates setup-man Mark Melancon, who pitched at Arizona from 2004 to 2006, was selected to the National League’s All-Star Team but did not appear in the game.
The American League All-Stars beat the NL 3-0 in the Midsummer Classic in New York at Citi Field Tuesday night.
Melancon was added to the roster as an injury replacement, giving the Pirates five representatives for the first time since 1972.
“It’s pretty cool to be considered among the upper echelon of major league baseball players,” Melancon said to the Associated Press before the game. “It’s really humbling. It’s something you always hope will happen at some point in your career and I’m really excited about it.”
Melancon has a 0.81 ERA, two saves, 46 strike outs and a 0.79 WHIP at the all-star break. His 25 holds rank first in the NL.
“I spoke with Mark [Sunday],” UA baseball head coach Andy Lopez said. “He’s very excited, he didn’t think that would ever happen. But, when they needed a replacement for the injured teammate, his numbers merited it.”
In 2005, Melancon had 11 saves, good enough for second all-time in UA history. In 2004, he helped Arizona make its first CWS appearance since 1986.
Melancon made his MLB debut in 2009 with the New York Yankees. He has also played for the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox.
“He’s very excited, proud to be an Arizona Wildcat, but also proud of what he was able to accomplish,” Lopez said.
TucsonCitizen.com reported that Melancon is the fifth ex-Wildcat to make the all-star game.
“It always helps when you’re able to show that one of your ex-guys is out there pitching in the all-star game,” Lopez said. “All that stuff helps, it shows credibility to what we’re doing on a day-in, day-out basis in terms of player development.”
Four former Wildcats made the Triple-A All-Star team as well — Oklahoma City Red Hawk Jason Stoffel and Round Rock Express’ Cory Burns and Brad Mills for the Pacific Coast League and Preston Guilmet for the International League. Guilmet won’t make an appearance though after being called up to the Cleveland Indians last week.
The Triple-A All-Star game will be broadcast today at 6 p.m. on the MLB Network from Reno, Nev.
“That’ll be fun to watch,” Lopez said. “There will be a few guys getting into the big leagues pretty quick.”
Guilmet, a starter for the UA, pitched a perfect 0.2 innings of relief in his Major League debut against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 11.
Indians manager and former Wildcat Terry Francona praised Guilmet after the game.
“He had a lot of guts,” Francona said to the Akron Bacon Journal. “I asked [Indians bullpen coach Kevin] Cash how he warmed up and [Cash] said [Guilmet] warmed up like a major leaguer. He came in and was supposed to keep the ball down with some deception, and that’s exactly what he did.”