Pirates slugger Josh Bell gets All-Star nod; Felipe Vazquez not included | TribLIVE.com

Pirates slugger Josh Bell gets All-Star nod; Felipe Vazquez not included

Jerry DiPaola
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates first baseman Josh Bell watches batting practice before a game against the Braves Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at PNC Park.

Josh Bell was named to his first All-Star Game as a reserve first baseman Sunday, but Felipe Vazquez, one of the National League’s most effective relievers, was not included on the list of pitchers initially named to the team.

That could change, however, if an injury opens up a spot on the roster.

“There is a week to go (before the game July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland),” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “I told him to keep his bags packed.”

Vazquez has 19 saves in 20 opportunities, a 2-0 record and third-best ERA among National League closers (1.80).

Vazquez might have been a victim of the MLB rule that mandates each team must have at least one player chosen. Relief pitcher Will Smith, who has 21 saves in 21 opportunities, a 1-0 record and 2.16 ERA, was named to the team as the San Francisco Giants’ lone representataive.

Other Pirates with all-star credentials who weren’t chosen were rookies Bryan Reynolds and Kevin Newman.

Reynolds, an outfielder who started the season with Triple-A Indianapolis, is hitting .355, with an .967 OPS, but without enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title.

Newman has earned the Pirates’ every-day job at shortstop and is hitting. 327. He set a franchise modern-day rookie record by compiling an 19-game hitting streak that ended Sunday when he was hitless in four at-bats in the 2-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Bell was an easy selection as a reserve after players’ votes were counted.

He leads the majors with 70 RBIs and his 22 home runs place him seventh in the National League. He has an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of 1.004.

Bell, the first Pirates first baseman to be named to the All-Star team since Jason Thompson in 1982, also was chosen to participate in the Home Run Derby the night before the All-Star Game.

In the American League, former Pirates first-round draft choice Austin Meadows, who was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays last year, was picked as a reserve outfielder.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pirates
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