ALLENTOWN – With the Triple-A All-Star game less than two weeks away, the International League and the Pacific Coast League have announced their rosters. For Lehigh Valley, it was a great announcement as four IronPigs and their manager will be in the home dugout.
Two position players, third baseman Cody Ransom and first baseman Andy Tracy, were elected as starters for Internationally. Two others, starter Nate Bump and reliever Scott Mathieson, were added to the roster for the July 14 contest.
Manager Dave Huppert was also selected to be a bench coach during the game.
"It's big for the team and the guys who made the team," Huppert said. "They deserve it. It's a big honor especially playing at home."
Andy Tracy will be participating in his third Triple-A All-Star game. Representing the IronPigs last season Tracy went hitless in two at-bats matching his 2000 appearance with Ottawa when he represented the Montreal Expos.
Tracy has been a stalwart in the IronPig lineup batting .290 and leading the team in walks (49), on-base-percentage (.408) and slugging percentage (.511).
Cody Ransom is making his second appearance in the summer all-star event going 0-1 in his first appearance in 2001 for the Fresno Grizzlies (Giants).
"Obviously its an honor. It means you are doing something to get noticed," Ransom said.
Ransom has been clutch all season for the IronPigs offense. He leads the team in home runs (16), RBI (51), and runs (48). Although he is batting .240, he is hitting .313 with runners in scoring position.
"I do a good job with runners in scoring position," Ransom said. "I need to work on hitting with nobody on base. That is why my average is where it is at."
We will have to wait until Homerun Derby participants are released on July 7 to find out whether Tracy or Ransom will participate.
Nate Bump leads the IronPigs in wins (7-4) and ERA 2.55 and has been the most consistent starter, pitching a team-high 95.1 innings. The sinkerballer is making his first trip to the Triple-A All-Star Game and the circumstances could not be better for him.
"It's great! I grew up a Phillies fan and I am back in my home state pitching," said Bump. "There is a little bit of a comfort level there. It's an honor and a privilege and there is a little extra incentive for me to be back home in my home state."
Mathieson is making the most of his latest chance to rebound from injuries that have plagued him since he was called up to pitch for the Phillies in 2006. The IronPig closer has converted 14 of 16 save opportunities and sits with a record of 3-2 with a 2.34 ERA. He has struck out 43 batters while walking just 14.
NOTES: The 7-0 loss to Syracuse drops the IronPigs record to 32-50 on the season ... The IronPigs lead the International League in attendance averaging 9,054 in 40 home games thus far ... Despite being two hit by Syracuse righty Justin Jones, the IronPig pitchers struck out 17 tying the franchise record with Brian Mazone setting a season high nine.