How D-backs’ Zac Gallen found out he would start the All-Star Game and kept it quiet

Jul 10, 2023, 7:27 PM

Zac Gallen...

(L-R) Manager Rob Thomson #59 of the Philadelphia Phillies, Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees, and Manager Dusty Baker #12 of the Houston Astros pose for a photo of Cole and Gallen were announced as the starting pitchers for the All-Star Game prior to Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at T-Mobile Park on July 10, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen was at home drinking coffee when manager Torey Lovullo asked to FaceTime him last week.

Lovullo told Gallen earlier he was in consideration to start his first All-Star Game and that it was between him and another hurler.

The manager said he wanted to see what Gallen’s face looked like when he heard the news.

Gallen will take the hill first for the National League, while New York Yankees RHP Gerrit Cole will start for the American League in Seattle.

“I felt like I was really close the last couple years, just for whatever reason I didn’t make it,” Gallen told MLB Network on Monday. “So I think this made up for it, for sure. It’s an honor. I’m just pumped.”

Gallen became the youngest NL All-Star Game starter in a decade after leading the league in WAR (wins above replacement) entering the break with 4.0.

The issue was he could not say anything until Monday when starters and lineups were revealed.

He told some close family members but had to keep it largely under wraps despite receiving questions about it.

“I just sat on it for a few days, telling some white lies to some family and friends,” Gallen told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Monday. “I apologize to everyone who asked when I did know and I had to lie.”

He started a game in the meantime, a seven-inning performance with one earned run in a win, and was asked about the possibility of starting.

Gallen said he’d be pumped but was happy just to make the team. Lovullo said he hoped Gallen would get some strong consideration, so he held up his end of the secret.

The ace is the first D-backs pitcher to start the Midsummer Classic since 2002, and the last time the All-Star Game was played in Seattle, Randy Johnson started amid a Cy Young season for Arizona.

An added benefit to Gallen starting is that he will be able to go through his normal routine pregame, he added. He will throw to starting catcher Sean Murphy of the Atlanta Braves.

Gallen is one of four D-backs representing the NL with OF Corbin Carroll, OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and SS Geraldo Perdomo.

The game begins at 5 p.m. at T-Mobile Park.

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