Pirates trio honored to get All-Star opportunity

Pirates trio honored to get All-Star opportunity

PHOENIX -- Of all the steps forward the Pirates have made so far this season, having three players line up along the third-base line at Chase Field on Tuesday to tip their cap during All-Star Game introductions is viewed as one of the most significant.

It indicates that the Pirates are being recognized outside of Pittsburgh. And it serves as further confirmation that the organization has a talented foundation around which it can continue to build.

The Pirates' chances to showcase some of that talent on a national stage were left to Joel Hanrahan and Andrew McCutchen, both of whom made an appearance in the contest. Kevin Correia, a late addition to the All-Star roster, spent the evening ready to relieve in the National League's 5-1 win over the American League.

"We got a couple guys out there," McCutchen said. "It was good to have an opportunity. I feel like we made the Pirates fans and the city proud."


McCutchen entered the game first, taking the Dodgers' Matt Kemp's place in center field in the seventh. With no balls hit his way in the final three frames, he never did get to showcase his speed.

McCutchen grounded out to the pitcher in his only at-bat, which came in the eighth.

"A little check swing and it tapped the ball back to him," he said. "Oh well, it was a good experience to get the opportunity."

Though McCutchen had hoped to prove that he should have been among the initial All-Star selections, a weak groundout was not about to ruin his first All-Star Game experience. He embraced the chance to be on the field for Monday night's State Farm Home Run Derby and, even after getting on his parents for trying to collect too many autographs, he is coming back to Pittsburgh with plenty of his own.

He was hardly star struck either, his demeanor suggesting that he felt he belonged to be among such elite company.

"It's just an honor to be with these guys and be on the same level as these guys," McCutchen said. "It makes you feel good to be a part of this as well. It's definitely good just to be a part of it and to say that I'm an All-Star. It's just another thing I can mark off my to-do list."

With the NL leading by four, manager Bruce Bochy summoned Hanrahan to pitch the ninth. Unlike McCutchen, who laughed off any suggestion that he had nerves, Hanrahan admitted that his legs were shaking as he took the mound.

It didn't show, as Hanrahan began his appearance by striking out the Rangers' Michael Young. Beginning the sequence with four straight fastballs, Hanrahan turned to his slider to get the punchout.

"I was trying to make it sexy for the fans and everything," Hanrahan said.

Hanrahan should have had an easy second out, too, but Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro made a low throw to first that Cincinnati's Joey Votto couldn't pick. Castro was charged with the error as White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin reached.

Tampa Bay's Matt Joyce followed with a single, which prompted Bochy to call on his own closer, Brian Wilson, to record the final two outs.

"It would have been nice to have had a clean inning, but it was a fun and great experience," Hanrahan said. "I got an out. I gave the fans what they wanted to see with [Wilson] coming in to close the game. It wasn't going to be a save situation for him, so I gave them what they wanted. It was a lot of fun to be a part of."

Correia agreed on that front, despite not making an appearance in the game. Being that he was not added to the roster until Sunday, the right-hander knew it was unlikely he'd get the chance to pitch. That did nothing to dampen the experience.

Correia was thrilled that his son was able to join him on the field during the Home Run Derby, and he mentioned the Red Carpet Parade as another highlight of his stay in Phoenix.

"It's been a great experience just to be with a group of players that are this good at the sport," Correia said. "Just being able to talk with some of the guys like Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, who I hadn't met before, those guys are the best at my profession. I can learn a lot from those guys.

"Going out there and throwing an inning isn't really going to change my experience here."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.