Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

At long last, Vazquez named to All-Star team

MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- Last year, Felipe Vazquez was expecting an All-Star nod that never came. He waited until the rosters were announced before making plans for the break, holding out hope that those plans would involve a trip to Marlins Park for the Midsummer Classic. Instead, he went home.

This year, Vazquez wasn't expecting anything. He looked this weekend at flights to Orlando, Fla., figuring he'd enjoy a few days off at home. Instead, manager Clint Hurdle gathered the Pirates together in their clubhouse at PNC Park after their 4-1 win over the Phillies on Sunday and made the announcement: Vazquez is going to the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard in Washington.

PITTSBURGH -- Last year, Felipe Vazquez was expecting an All-Star nod that never came. He waited until the rosters were announced before making plans for the break, holding out hope that those plans would involve a trip to Marlins Park for the Midsummer Classic. Instead, he went home.

This year, Vazquez wasn't expecting anything. He looked this weekend at flights to Orlando, Fla., figuring he'd enjoy a few days off at home. Instead, manager Clint Hurdle gathered the Pirates together in their clubhouse at PNC Park after their 4-1 win over the Phillies on Sunday and made the announcement: Vazquez is going to the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard in Washington.

"I think it was a good choice to not buy the flight," Vazquez said, smiling.

:: Complete All-Star Game coverage ::

Known as Felipe Rivero when the Pirates acquired him for then-closer Mark Melancon in July 2016, Vazquez emerged as Pittsburgh's closer with a fastball that reaches triple-digits, a swing-and-miss changeup, a nasty slider and a curveball.

Vazquez might have been a more worthy choice last season, when he was one of baseball's most dominant left-handed pitchers in his first full year with the Pirates. Despite a few rough outings, he has put together a solid season and seems to have rediscovered his lights-out stuff lately.

"Probably wasn't expected for him. Last year it was expected more," catcher Francisco Cervelli said. "That's amazing. This guy is one of the best in the game. He deserves to be there."

After picking up the save on Sunday, Vazquez owned a 3.38 ERA and 1.31 WHIP with 18 saves and 51 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings over 38 appearances. Since allowing five runs during a blown save in St. Louis on May 31, Vazquez has allowed just two runs (good for a 1.20 ERA) while striking out 28 batters in 15 innings.

Video: PHI@PIT: Vazquez K's the side to record his 18th save

What helped Vazquez get back on track?

"I don't even know," he said. "Probably forgetting about everything and going back to basics."

Vazquez said his teammates congratulated and hugged him after Hurdle revealed the lefty's first career All-Star selection. He was disappointed for deserving teammates like Corey Dickerson and Cervelli.

"For me, being there by myself, it's going to be a little bit tough," he said.

He won't be entirely alone, though. He figured his sister, Prescilla, would be more elated about the news than even he was. Vazquez is particularly close with his sister, who advised him to sign an extension with the Pirates in January and inspired his surname change in April. Next week, she'll join him at Nationals Park.

"She was excited. 'I want to go. I want to go,'" he said, smiling. "Now that I'm actually going, she's probably buying some stuff so she can go now."

Video: Felipe Vazquez discusses his All-Star Game selection

Fans can cast votes for the final player on each league's roster -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online as part of the 2018 Camping World MLB Final Vote, as well as via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps, until Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.

Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.

For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Felipe Vazquez