Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen was at home drinking coffee when manager Torey Lovullo asked him to FaceTime last week.
Lovullo told Gallen earlier that he was considering starting his first All-Star Game and that it was between him and another pitcher.
The manager said he wanted to see what Gallen’s face looked like when he heard the news.
Gallen will take the mound 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 two years, for whatever reason I didn’t make it,” Gallen told MLB Network on Monday. “So I think that made up for it, for sure. It is an honor. I’m just pumped.”
“Five-year-old me is like ‘who would have thought.'”@zacgallen23 talks about his first preparation #AllStarGame start and enjoy the moment.@Dbacks | @adnansvirk | @YonderalonsoU | @CY24_7 pic.twitter.com/lZhDLH7xPf
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) July 10, 2023
Gallen became the youngest NL All-Star Game starter in a decade after leading the league in WAR (wins over replacement) entering the break with 4.0.
The thing was, he couldn’t say anything until Monday when the starters and lineups were revealed.
He told a few close family members, but had to keep it largely under wraps despite receiving questions about it.
“I sat on it for a few days, telling some white lies to some family and friends,” Gallen said. Wolf and Luke of Arizona Sports on Monday. “I apologize to everyone who asked when I knew and I had to lie.”
He started one game in the interim, a seven-inning performance with one earned run in a win, and was asked about the possibility of starting.
Gallen said he would be retired but was happy just to make the team. Lovullo said he hoped Gallen would get strong consideration, so he kept that end a secret.
The ace is the first D-backs player to start the Midsummer Classic since 2002, and the last time the All-Star game was played in Seattle, Randy Johnson started in the middle of a Cy Young season for Arizona.
An added benefit to Gallen’s start is that he will be able to skip his normal pregame routine, he added. He will throw to starting catcher Sean Murphy of the Atlanta Braves.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 10, 2023
Gallen is one of four D-backs representing the NL with OF Corbin Carroll, OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and SS Geraldo Perdomo.
The game starts at 5:00 PM at T-Mobile Park.