SEATTLE – Gerrit Cole had starting the All-Star Game on his baseball bucket list.
"I’ve always been like, man, I really hope I could do that one day," the New York Yankees ace said Monday.
He's getting his chance. Cole will start Tuesday night for the American League and Arizona’s Zac Gallen will open on the mound for NL, the first time Yankees and Diamondbacks are both All-Star starters since Roger Clemens faced Randy Johnson in the 2001 game at Seattle.
“I feel like I’ve worked hard. This is something that I dreamed of as a kid,” Gallen said. “So for it to come to fruition is everything and more, really.”
AL manager Dusty Baker of Houston and NL manager Rob Thomson of Philadelphia announced their starting lineups on Monday before the annual Home Run Derby.
Baker said Sunday that Cole wouldn’t pitch in the All-Star Game because he would be going on two days’ rest after throwing 103 pitches in a 9-2 win over the Chicago Cubs in New York on Saturday.
“He wanted it,” Baker said Monday. “A lot of guys, sometimes they might not want to pitch in this particular game, but he wanted to pitch. Hey man, if a guy like Gerrit Cole wants to pitch, I’ll let him pitch.”
“It’s just always something that I’ve wanted to do, and I feel like I’m physically able to do it,” Cole added.
Cole will start for the first time in his sixth All-Star nod. He is 9-2 with a 2.85 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 117 innings. The 32-year-old right-hander joins Lefty Gomez (five times), Red Ruffing (twice), Hank Borowy, Spud Chandler, Roger Clemens, Whitey Ford, Jimmy Key, Vic Raschi, Met Stottlemyre, Bob Turley and David Wells as Yankees All-Star starters.
Gallen, a 27-year-old right-hander, is 11-3 with a 3.04 ERA, tied for the major league lead in wins. The first-time All-Star has 125 strikeouts in 118 1/3 innings and becomes the third Diamondbacks pitcher to start an All-Star Game after Johnson in 2000 and '01 and Curt Schilling in 2002.
Gallen said he learned of the starting assignment last Wednesday from Arizona manager Torey Lovullo.
“It’s been a whirlwind, really,” he said. “I think I found out Wednesday or Thursday morning, Torey had FaceTimed me. So I kind of had to tell white lies for the last few days to my family.”
Gallen last pitched Friday, throwing 96 pitches in a 7-3 win over Pittsburgh.
“Zac’s numbers just came out of off the page for us,” Thomson said.
Baker's AL batting order has Texas second baseman Marcus Semien leading off, followed by Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, Tampa Bay left fielder Randy Arozarena, Texas shortstop Corey Seager, Rays first baseman Yandy Díaz, Rangers right fielder Adolis García, Baltimore center fielder Austin Hays, Texas third baseman Josh Jung and Rangers catcher Jonah Heim.
Atlanta right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. leads off for the NL, followed by Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman, Dodgers center fielder Mookie Betts, Dodgers designated hitter J.D. Martinez, St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado, Miami second baseman Luis Arraez, Braves catcher Sean Murphy, Arizona rookie left fielder Corbin Carroll and Atlanta shortstop Orlando Arcia.
Two players elected to start by fans will miss the game because of injuries. Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge tore a ligament in his right big toe on June 3 and Angels center fielder Mike Trout broke his left wrist on July 3.