FUTURE ALL STAR—Pirates speedster Starling Marte slides into 3rd base in a game against the Brewers for his eighth triple of the year, Marte also leads the Pirates in stolen bases with 23. (Photos by William McBride)
CHICAGO (AP)—Justly rewarded for approaching the 84th Midsummer Classic with one of baseball’s best records, the Pirates placed four All-Stars on the 2013 National League squad.
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen and closer Jason Grilli, whose selections were anticipated, are joined by third baseman Pedro Alvarez and young left-hander Jeff Locke.
The quartet gives the Pirates their best All-Star representation in 32 years—since outfielders Dave Parker and Mike Easler, second baseman Phil Garner and third baseman Bill Madlock were tabbed in 1981.
“We’re not the team that gets a token one [selection] anymore,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’ve earned our way.”
The Pirates had only the obligatory All-Star rep in 14 of the 16 seasons prior to Hurdle taking over in 2011, with two selections the other years.
“I’m proud of all four. They are organizational wins,” added Hurdle, who gathered the players in Wrigley Field’s visiting clubhouse at 1 p.m. CT to disclose their All-Stars and reported that “the vibe in here was really cool.”
The All-Star announcements coincided with the Pirates’ first-ever Dads Road Trip. The fathers of McCutchen, Alvarez and Grilli were all present to share their sons’ glee and pride.
“Obviously, it was a very special moment. I was super excited to get to share it with him,” Alvarez said of his dad, also named Pedro. “I wish my mom and sister were also here, but I got my wife and dad, and that made it very special. I’m happy.”
McCutchen’s selection by the players was almost a given, since at the conclusion of last season, he was their pick to receive the Players Choice Award as NL Most Outstanding Player.
He becomes the Pirates’ first three-time All-Star since infielder Freddy Sanchez (2006-07, 2009). But he is the Bucs first position player to make three consecutive All-Star teams since Bobby Bonilla (1988-91).
FIRST TIME ALL-STAR—Pedro Alvarez was selected to the All-Star team for his first time. But if he continues to play the way he has, he will be joining McCutchen for many more.