Vazquez Surprised but Not Shocked to be Back as an All Star

Bucs Closer enjoying his return to the Mid Summer Classic.

Noah Hiles
July 09, 2019 - 2:56 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEVELAND (93.7 The Fan) – While a big amount of local spotlight has been on Josh Bell due to him participating in the home run derby on Monday and starting at designated hitter for the National League in the All Star game on Tuesday, the other Pirates All Star, Felipe Vazquez is also having an enjoyable experience in Cleveland.

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Vazquez, who will be playing tonight in his second consecutive All Star game, made the team in a much different way than his teammate. While the Pirates franchise led a voting campaign to make Bell the starter at first base, there was little that could be done to help Vazquez’s case to play in the mid-summer classic due to the fact that pitchers are not able to be voted in.

Although it was assumed by many that Vazquez would be a no-brainer selection to make the original National League roster, when the first draft of the NL All Star team was announced his name was left off. However, due to pitching schedules of a few players who were selected, Vazquez was able to make his way onto the team.

“I was playing catch at 12:30 on Saturday and (Clint Hurdle), who never walks out on to the field, came out and told me,” said Vazquez. “He said I was going to the All Star game but I wasn’t supposed to say anything until he said so. I asked him why he just didn’t wait because he knows how I get.”

Known by his teammates as an outgoing guy, the Pirates closer had to take drastic measures to ensure he kept his silence.

“I went to the training room and hit,” said Vazquez. “I didn’t want anyone to know so I just hid there and played video games on my phone.”

While Hurdle’s attempt was to surprise Vazquez with the news, if one looks over his numbers, the idea of him being an All Star is anything but shocking. The left handed flame thrower has been as dominant as he’s ever been for the Pirates, entering the break tied for fourth in the National League with 20 saves in addition to having an eye-popping 14.1 K/9.

In last year’s All Star game, Vazquez provided one inning of shutout relief, allowing a hit and a walk but striking out two batters in a game that the National League would end up losing 8-6 in 10 innings.