PITTSBURGH -- Sitting in his office on Sunday morning, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle joked that Josh Harrison should spend his All-Star break far away from the baseballs that have besieged his body in the batter's box this season.But there will be no break for the Majors' hit-by-pitch king. For the
PITTSBURGH -- Sitting in his office on Sunday morning, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle joked that Josh Harrison should spend his All-Star break far away from the baseballs that have besieged his body in the batter's box this season.
But there will be no break for the Majors' hit-by-pitch king. For the second time in a career defined by passion and perseverance, Harrison is a National League All-Star. He will represent the Pirates at Marlins Park on July 11 in the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.
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With a perpetually bruised body that has been plunked an MLB-leading 18 times this season, Harrison just has one message for the American League's finest arms to fulfill Hurdle's request.
"Let the American League know that, 'Hey, as long as you don't hit him, we'll be good,'" Harrison said, grinning. "I think we can just send out that memo."
While Andrew McCutchen has reclaimed his title as the Pirates' best offensive player, there is no doubt Harrison has been Pittsburgh's most consistent player this season.
"We are very proud of Josh being named to the NL All-Star team," Hurdle said. "His heart and hustle on the field of play are contagious. Second time named for the classic has been earned."
Harrison is slashing .288/.368/.447 with nine home runs, 27 RBIs and 10 steals this season. He remains a dynamic defender wherever he plays, spending most of his time at second and third base. He'll take his infield and outfield gloves to Miami, just in case.
"Whatever they need me to do," Harrison said.
That attitude helped propel Harrison, 29, from a fringe-of-the-roster utility man onto the scene in 2014, when he finished ninth in the NL Most Valuable Player Award voting. Free from a nagging thumb injury that bothered him from '15-16, Harrison has returned to his '14 form.
Now, Harrison is a two-time All-Star. The second trip may be even sweeter.
"The first time around, I didn't know what to expect," Harrison said. "This time, I've kind of got a general idea of what to expect with the days that go on during the break, the long days. They're enjoyable. So for me, I know what to expect -- the mayhem -- for a couple days. It's well worth it.
"Just humbled. Grateful. Hopefully I get at least one more of my guys, because there are some guys that are deserving."
Fans can cast ballots for the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile devices until 4 p.m. ET on Thursday. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will then be announced during "MLB Tonight" live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. Extensive coverage throughout the Final Vote will be provided by MLB Network and MLB.com, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns, and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.
Now in its 16th season, with more than 680 million votes cast, the Final Vote again will include social votes on the last day of balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the final six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.
On Tuesday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
The Pirates were particularly surprised to see lefty reliever Felipe Rivero (0.82 ERA) and starter Ivan Nova (8-5, 3.08 ERA) left off the roster. Nova leads the Pirates with 2.9 Wins Above Replacement, while Rivero ranks third with 2.0. Harrison is second on the team with 2.5 WAR.
Nova could be available as a replacement if another NL pitcher is unable to attend. He said he would participate if asked. Rivero said he already made a different decision.
"I'm going home," Rivero said. "I'll be all right."
It should be noted, however, that Rivero's home is about an hour's drive from Marlins Park.
"Yeah, any way, I'm going to Miami," Rivero replied, smiling. "That's going to be four days of relaxing, not doing anything."
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.