Pirates' Melancon added to All-Star roster

Rob Biertempfel
| Sunday, July 14, 2013, 1:45 p.m.

An injur y to teammate Jeff Locke enabled Pirates reliever Mark Melancon to gain a spot in the All-Star Game.

National League manager Bruce Bochy chose Melancon on Sunday to replace Locke on the roster. Locke will attend the event Tuesday at Citi Field in New York but will not play due to a sore lower back.

“I don't even know what to say,” said Melancon, a first-time All-Star. “It's really cool. It's surreal.”

Melancon joins teammates Jason Grilli, Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez on the NL squad. The five All-Stars are the most for the Pirates since 1972, when Steve Blass, Roberto Clemente, Al Oliver, Manny Sanguillen and Willie Stargell were chosen.

Since the All-Star Game began in 1933, this is the 11th time the Pirates have had four or more representatives.

It's uncommon for a middle reliever to earn an All-Star berth, and even rarer for a closer and his setup man to make it the same year.

“Grilli and I are on cloud nine,” Melancon said.

“I'm glad I've got my throwing partner coming with me,” Grilli said. “Mark's been nothing short of great. Our whole pitching staff has been (great). I wish we could pack a lot of those guys in our carry-on bags with us.”

Melancon, 28, is 2-1 with two saves and an 0.81 ERA. In 44 1 / 3 innings, he has issued four walks and gotten 46 strikeouts. The righty has been scored upon just three times in his past 37 outings.

“It's great to see Mark go,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “He's pitched very well. It's not only been no runs, it's been very few baserunners and very few pitches. He's getting the recognition he deserves.”

Melancon found out Saturday afternoon that he was on the All-Star team, but Major League Baseball didn't officially announce it until Sunday afternoon.

On short notice, Melancon and Pirates traveling secretary Greg Johnson scrambled to get Melancon's family to New York.

“These last 24 hours have been cruising by fast,” Melancon said. “Trying to get 14 people to New York, a city that's always busy even without an All-Star Game, is a little difficult.”

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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