Pittsburgh Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez was named Saturday to the National League All-Star team along with Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff, Major League Baseball announced.
New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka was added to the AL All-Star team, replacing Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, who missed his July 4 start after suffering discomfort in his left shoulder pectoral muscle.
“It was similar to how everybody else, including you guys reacted: pretty surprised,” Tanaka told reporters through an interpreter Saturday after hearing the news from Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
Tanaka, 30, who has been selected for the second time after coming from Japan for his first season in the U.S. in 2014, has compiled a 5-5 record and a 3.86 ERA with 90 strikeouts over 18 starts this season. Other Yankees on the AL roster include Aroldis Chapman, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez.
Vazquez, 28, was selected for the second consecutive season. He replaces the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke, who started and threw seven scoreless innings Friday night against the Colorado Rockies.
Entering Saturday’s action, Vazquez is fifth among NL pitchers with 19 saves. He has converted 47 of his last 50 save chances dating to May 30, 2018. He converted his first 14 save opportunities in 2019 before failing to protect a lead on June 1 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Since the start of the 2017 season, the left-hander from Venezuela has 77 saves, which ranks third behind the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen (102) and the Colorado Rockies’ Wade Davis (87).
Vazquez joins Pirates first baseman Josh Bell on the NL All-Star squad, with the game to be played Tuesday at Progressive Park in Cleveland.
Ranked six among all-time best Pirates closers with the 77 career saves, Vazquez, who began his major league career in 2015 with the Washington Nationals, trails only Kent Tekulve (158), Mike Williams (140), Dave Giusti (133), Mark Melancon (130) and Joel Hanrahan (82).
Woodruff, 26, a right-hander who is tied for first in the NL with 10 wins in his first full season as a starter, is replacing Brewers teammate Josh Hader. He has a 3.67 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 18 starts this season. He joins outfielder Christian Yelich, second baseman Mike Moustakas and catcher Yasmani Grandal of the Brewers on the NL squad.
—Field Level Media