Former Arizona Wildcats pitcher Mark Melancon, in the middle of an incredible bounce-back season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, was selected Sunday as a replacement player for the National League All-Star team.
Melancon has emerged as the best set-up man in the majors in his first season with Pittsburgh, posting a 0.81 ERA, with 46 strikeouts and a scant four walks in 44 1/3 innings. He has a 2-1 record with a major league-best 25 holds.
He and San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo were chosen as injury replacements for the game, which will be played Tuesday night. Pirates closer Jason Grilli is also an All-Star.
Melancon’s star had been on the rise with the New York Yankees and Houston Astros before he got off to a horrible start in his first season with Boston last year, demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket. He was part of an offseason trade to Pittsburgh that sent closer Joel Hanrahan, among others, to the Red Sox.
Four other Arizona Wildcats have been a part of the All-Star Game as players: relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman (seven times), outfielder Kenny Lofton (six times), outfielder Hank Leiber (three times) and starting pitcher Scott Erickson (once).
Melancon is the first of Arizona coach Andy Lopez’s players to make the All-Star Game.