Orioles reliever began his career with San Diego in 2011
By Joe Trezza
Buck Showalter made sure Brad Brach's first All-Star appearance would be a family affair.
Showalter knew that San Diego was where Brach first broke into the Majors in 2011, where his family first saw him pitch, and where they would congregate again when Brach suits up for the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on Tuesday.
So Showalter made sure Brach heard of his selection from family. The Orioles manager first went to Brach's wife, who alerted the reliever of the news.
"Its one of those things I'll never forget," Brach said on MLB Network Radio on Friday. "It's a dream come true. To be able to experience all that with her -- the ups and the downs -- it's a lot.
"It was great she was able to give me the news, because she's been there for the whole journey as well."
On the heels of solid seasons in each of his first two years in Baltimore, Brach is enjoying a breakout campaign in 2016. The 30-year-old righty is 5-1 with a 0.95 ERA in 47 1/3 innings, striking out 10.6 batters per nine. He's holding right-handed hitters to a remarkable .081 batting average against -- the best mark in baseball. Brach has been integral to the Orioles' bullpen, helping to make up for the loss of Darren O'Day, who has twice been hampered by hamstring injuries.
Brach set a personal goal of becoming an All-Star before the season started, in part because the game is being held in San Diego. Brach was a 42nd-round selection of the Padres in 2008, and he made 109 appearances for them from '11-13. The Orioles acquired Brach for Minor League pitcher Devin Jones after the Padres had designated him for assignment in 2013.
"Now to kind of go back to where it all started and where my family got to watch me pitch first, I don't think it's sunk in yet, and I don't think it will until next week," Brach said. "I couldn't have scripted it any better, and I'm really looking forward to it."
The journey adds up to Brach being one of the most unlikely All-Stars.
"My family members, deep down, they probably didn't think this could happen either," Brach said. "It's one of those things we're all just kind of taking in stride. It's been an unbelievable experience."
On Tuesday, watch the 2016 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 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, 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.
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.