Brad Hand was anything but an All-Star when he was with the Marlins.
But only 15 months after the Marlins lost him for nothing on waivers to the San Diego Padres, he returned as one.
“It’s a little weird,” Hand said Monday. “For sure weird.”
In five seasons with the Marlins, Hand never had a defined role and went 9-25 with a 4.71 ERA while splitting time as both a starter and reliever.
But it has been a different story in San Diego, where the Padres have used him exclusively in relief.
In 124 appearances out of the bullpen with the Padres, Hand has emerged as one of the premier bullpen arms in the majors. He has a 2.71 ERA while averaging 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings, nearly double his 5.9 strikeouts per nine innings rate he had with Miami.
“I always believed in myself,” Hand said. “I knew I was capable of doing it. [With the Marlins], I could never really find what it was I was going to do. Getting bounced back and forth between starting and relieving is obviously not an easy situation to deal with.”
Hand, who is the Padres’ only All-Star representative, should be in high demand over the coming weeks when he’ll likely be one of the hottest trade targets leading up the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
“I just couldn’t find what worked here,” Hand said of his Marlins’ days. “I just kind of came from [the Marlins] and found it. It just didn’t work out for both sides.”
There are more All-Stars hailing from Florida high schools than there are from any other state. Nine players who played prep baseball in the Sunshine State are on All-Star rosters.
“We are so proud to have nine former FHSAA student-athletes participating in this year’s MLB All-Star Game,” said George Tomyn, executive director of the Florida High School Athletic Association.
“With the game being played in Miami and the inclusion of these nine players, the extraordinary talent we have in the state of Florida will be well represented for this showcase event.”
The nine All-Stars from Florida are: Lance McCullers (Tampa Jesuit); Andrew Miller (Gainesville Buchholz); Chris Sale (Lakeland); Yonder Alonso (Coral Gables); Michael Brantley (Fort Pierce Central); Francisco Lindor (Montverde Academy); Daniel Murphy (Jacksonville Englewood); Zack Greinke (Apopka); and Wade Davis (Lake Wales).
PARADE OF STARS
Don’t have a ticket to the All-Star Game but still want to see the players?
They’ll be parading through the streets of Miami on Tuesday as part of the annual MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show.
The event, which is free for fans, will begin at 12:30 p.m. and start on Biscayne Boulevard, just north of Chopin Plaza. The parade will travel north along Biscayne Boulevard, ending near NE 8th St.
Serving as grand marshals will be former Marlin Jeff Conine and Hall of Famer Tony Perez.
In addition to the 70 All-Stars, MLB team mascots will join the parade route, interacting with fans along the way.