Melancon gets all-star bid - Tucson News Now

Melancon gets all-star bid

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NEW YORK (AP) - Pittsburgh pitcher Mark Melancon (UA '06) has been picked as a replacement for the NL All-Star team, giving the Pirates five players in the game for the first time since 1972.

NL manager Bruce Bochy also selected Sergio Romo, his San Francisco Giants closer, as a replacement pick Sunday. Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke and Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan ZImmermann, both on the original NL All-Star roster, are hurt and will miss Tuesday's game at Citi Field.

The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had five All-Stars, there was no designated hitter, baseballs were made of horsehide and the major leagues had 24 teams.

That was 1972, when Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Steve Blass, Al Oliver and Manny Sanguillen represented the defending World Series champions at the National League's 4-3, 10-inning win in Atlanta.

With the addition of reliever Mark Melancon as an injury replacement Sunday, the Steel City has a fab five once again. Seeking to end a record streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons, the Pirates are 56-37 at the All-Star break and contending for the NL Central lead.

"It's a great honor for our organization and shows how far we have come in the last few years," general manager Neal Huntington said.

Once viewed by the Yankees as Mariano Rivera's possible successor, Melancon was traded by New York, Houston and Boston in a span of 2½ years. Now he joins third baseman Pedro Alvarez, center fielder Andrew McCutchen and closer Jason Grilli on the NL roster.

Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke, Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, all on the original NL All-Star squad, are hurt and will miss Tuesday night's game at Citi Field.

"It's pretty cool to be considered among the upper echelon of major league baseball players," Melancon said. "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."

He learned of his addition late Saturday afternoon.

"My first thought was, how I am going to get so many people to New York — which is a pretty busy city, to say the least — on such short notice?" Melancon said.

Pirates traveling secretary Greg Johnson helped with the arrangement to transport a dozen people in the Melancon traveling party.

Melancon was the closer at Arizona where he set the school's all-time record for career saves (18). The record was later broken by Jason Stoffel (29).

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

David Kelly contributed to this story.

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