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Melancon replaces Locke on NL All-Star team

Pirates setup man has been nearly perfect after coming over from Red Sox

PITTSBURGH -- Mark Melancon is the next member of the Pirates on the receiving end of belated All-Star justice. The nearly perfect setup reliever has been chosen to replace teammate Jeff Locke on the National League All-Star team.

NL manager Bruce Bochy and MLB jointly announced Melancon's selection shortly before the start of the Bucs' game with the Mets on Sunday.

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"I've already had conversations with Bochy about what's acceptable use for Melancon," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

The choice of Melancon to replace Locke -- who had to withdraw with lower back tightness, which also caused him to be scratched from his scheduled Sunday start -- is eminently sensible, and just.

"He's been almost automatic in the eighth inning for us," said general manager Neal Huntington, who engineered the trade with the Boston Red Sox for Joel Hanrahan that landed a four-player package that included Melancon.

Since Locke technically remains recognized as an All-Star, the Pirates have the bragging rights of a quintet of All-Stars for the first time since 1972, when the selections were the outfield of Roberto Clemente, Al Oliver and Willie Stargell, and the battery of catcher Manny Sanguillen and right-hander Steve Blass.

The right-hander has an ERA of 0.81 in 45 appearances, with 46 strikeouts and four walks, entering Sunday. The stunning body of work comes after the onetime Houston closer struggled through a 2012 season in Boston, posting an ERA of 6.20 in 41 outings.

Pedro Alvarez was omitted from the original NL foursome for the 2013 Chevrolet Home Run Derby before being added after Carlos Gonzalez withdrew with a finger injury.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Mark Melancon