Pomeranz appreciates path to hometown All-Star

Pomeranz appreciates path to hometown All-Star

SAN DIEGO -- It took three and a half months, but Drew Pomeranz finally found himself entering a game from the Petco Park bullpen Tuesday night.

Of course, Pomeranz did so as an All-Star starting pitcher -- an important distinction, given his arrival this offseason.

The 27-year-old left-hander has continually validated his manager's faith in him as a starter. He tossed a scoreless fourth inning in the American League's 4-2 victory in the Alll-Star Game presented by MasterCard at Petco Park.

Pomeranz entered Padres camp on course to be a reliever -- as he had been for most of the past three seasons with Oakland and Colorado. Pomeranz, however, viewed himself as a starter -- largely because his surgically repaired shoulder was feeling stronger than ever and because he had added a cutter to his repertoire, a much-needed third weapon.

So when Pomeranz was given his throwing schedule this spring, he noticed he wasn't on the same progression as the club's presumed starters. He sought out pitching coach Darren Balsley, and from there, the two arranged a meeting with manager Andy Green.

"I sat down with them and I told them how I felt, that I had been working on a third pitch and everything feels good and the shoulder feels great," Pomeranz said. "I'd like a chance. [Green] appreciated me coming to him."

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Pomeranz said he spent the moments leading up to that meeting rehashing his talking points in his mind.

Was initiating the meeting himself a bold move? Perhaps.

"But that's what you've got to do," Pomeranz said. "You've got to go after what you want."

In this case, Pomeranz wanted a job in the starting rotation. He went after it -- and got it -- with his performance during Spring Training. Then he made sure it was his for keeps.

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Pomeranz sits tied for third in the Majors in ERA at 2.47, and opponents are batting just .184 against him -- first in the National League. His dominance was rewarded when he became just the second Padres pitcher to appear in an All-Star Game in San Diego, joining Rollie Fingers in 1978.

"The fans were just going crazy since we're here in our home city, especially when they announced both of us," said Pomeranz, who joined Wil Myers as hometown reps. "It was pretty awesome. It's pretty special to have your first one anywhere, but even more so here."

Now, Pomeranz, who is under team control through the 2018 season, has become the subject of trade speculation. That's nothing new. After being selected by Cleveland in the first round of the 2010 Draft, Pomeranz was dealt to Colorado during his first full professional season. He's been traded twice since then, including this past December to the Padres.

"It really doesn't matter if I worry about it or not," Pomeranz said. "Whatever's going to happen is going to happen. I learned that very quickly, getting traded my first year in pro ball. Just when you think you're settled somewhere, it seems to happen."

Still, Pomeranz has finally found an organization in which he's fully comfortable. For the first time in his career, he's been given free rein to consistently pitch deep into games. And he's been encouraged to throw his filthy curveball as frequently as possible.

"I would love to win," Pomeranz said. "I like it here, and I would love to win here. But I'm just trying to get better every time out there, and try and repeat what I did in the first half."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.