The moment: Diamondbacks celebrate Ketel Marte’s All-Star Game selection

Jul 3, 2024, 5:53 PM

Ketel Marte...

LOS ANGELES — Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo called his entire team into the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, which could only mean one thing.

The MLB All-Star Game starters were being listed off on TV, and the room erupted into cheers as Ketel Marte received the nod to start at second base for the National League.

Baseball fans picked Marte over San Diego’s Luis Arraez, quite the moment for Marte to accomplish something he had been motivated to attain. His teammates called for a speech, and he thanked them for the support.

“Very special moment, especially because the last couple seasons I have been dealing with different injuries, the hamstring,” Marte said via Spanish interpreter. “So it hasn’t been easy, but since last year, I’ve been feeling really good. … When I’m healthy, I know the numbers are going to be there. Being here now, it kind of reminds me of 2019.”

“That was a special moment we could all share with one another and be there for Ketel and honor him the way that he deserves to be honored,” Lovullo said. “He has been such a classy human being since the day that I’ve known him, who happens to be a really good baseball player, and he was recognized for that today. As I said to the group, I noticed on Day 1 of spring training, he was on a mission, and it’s not complete. I know he wants more, but this is great recognition for him.”

Marte said Eugenio Suarez had the loudest cheers in the clubhouse.

The veteran made his first career All-Star team in 2019 as a 25-year-old taking the mantle for face of the franchise after the Paul Goldschmidt trade. But Marte’s next two seasons (excluding 2020) were marred by hamstring issues that landed him on the IL three times and impacted his play.

He returned to form in a healthy 2023 campaign, but getting left off the All-Star team affected him, a feeling Lovullo described Marte never wanted to experience again. He dominated the final month of the regular season (.926 OPS) and postseason (.914 OPS) en route to the NLCS MVP.

“I know the heartache and frustration he experienced last year in Anaheim when we had to tell him that he did not make the All-Star team,” Lovullo said.

“We had a couple conversations around that at that time … ‘You have half a season to prove that the league was wrong. You have half a season to put yourself firmly in the middle of MVP consideration. You gotta absorb what you’re feeling and don’t run from it and and when you get to that point it, you got to be here and be present and go out and and prepare to play.'”

Marte pointed to his injuries as a difference between making the team in 2019 versus 2024. In 2019, making the All-Star Game was a breakout while this is a testament to the hard work he put in to bounce back and persevere.

Lovullo said the experience in 2019 was a bit different, more startling as his chances were closer to 50-50. No team meeting was called. Lovullo described everyone as 12-year-olds watching TV together in San Francisco.

This time Marte may have had a feelling what was going down, but Lovullo said his reaction was just as priceless.

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The moment: Diamondbacks celebrate Ketel Marte’s All-Star Game selection