Hader, Soto to represent Friars at All-Star Game

July 2nd, 2023

CINCINNATI -- The Padres’ All-Star selections -- and  -- have made regular appearances at the Midsummer Classic. This is Hader's fifth selection and Soto's third. But the thrill is definitely not gone.

"Taking the awards, it feels great," Soto said. "Going there seeing so many All-Stars and people, everybody is a great feeling. Just to see all those All-Stars, you know, and just pick their [brains] and everything. There are a lot of guys and teams that are in a good position. I try to pick whatever they can give me so I can bring it over. That's the main thing. I just try to get to know those guys a little more."

Said Hader: "It's an honor. Obviously, this game is really, really hard. So to be named an All-Star with all of these guys, it'll just be fun."

Padres manager Bob Melvin was happy for Soto and Hader, but he was expecting more Padres to be selected -- he still is, in fact.

Michael Wacha is 8-2 with a 2.84 ERA, and Blake Snell’s 3.21 ERA is eighth-best in the NL.

"I feel like there are some other guys that should be included," Melvin said. "Obviously, I'm a little biased. We'll see how it goes. Things get flipped around sometimes and guys get added."

This will be a different experience for the 24-year-old Soto. Last year, speculation that the Nationals would trade him lingered.

"Everybody was talking about getting traded," Soto said. "All the media and everything. They were just on top of me talking about all the trades. I was like, 'Just let me enjoy the time and have a great moment.' It's going to be more calm this time, and [I’ll] enjoy my time."

Soto was traded to the Padres on Aug. 2 last year. He struggled after the trade, slashing .236/.388/.390. This year, he's slashing .277/.424/.502 with 15 home runs and 46 RBIs.

Hader, 29, has also turned it around after struggling upon joining the Padres from Milwaukee the day before Soto’s trade. The closer had a 7.31 ERA in 16 innings last season after the trade. Entering Sunday, Hader had a 1.21 ERA with 18 saves and 45 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings.

The best of this All-Star Game for Hader?

"Taking [my son] Lucas to the Home Run Derby," Hader said. "That's the biggest thing, being able to share that with him."

Hader has been named an All-Star four other times but made his lone appearance in the game in 2018. He lasted only one-third of an inning, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits, including a home run to Jean Segura.

"To be able to see how your stuff matches up with the best of the best [is fun]," he said. "Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn't."