Liam Hendriks has pitched in an All-Star Game before.
In 2011, he was a Double-A All Star while pitching for New Britain in the Minnesota Twins organization.
Twice he was named to the Futures Game, but as he noted in 2010 he underwent an emergency appendectomy.
“That kind of took me out of the running,” said the Australian with his usual sense of humor.
With his numbers and performances for the Buffalo Bisons this year, Hendriks was certain to be elected a Triple-A All Star. But on Friday he picked up another honor – all-star starter.
Hendriks was named the starter for the International League squad when the team takes on the Pacific Coast League All-Stars on Wednesday in Durham, N.C.
The announcement highlighted a day of promotions, celebrations and honors for the Buffalo Bisons at Coca-Cola Field. And all this was before the team took the field where the Herd dropped its second straight game of the homestand to Durham – a 4-2 decision in front of 13,205.
Deck McGuire (3-5) struggled to find the strike zone, walking seven batters, including one with the bases loaded in the first. He gave up a two-run homer to Jeremy Moore as the Bulls built a 3-0 lead.
Catcher A.J. Jimenez drove in both runs for the Herd. His single scored Kevin Pillar in the sixth and a sacrifice to center brought in Ryan Goins in the eighth. But that was the end of the Herd’s rally.
Instead the highlights for the Herd came earlier on Friday. Hendriks saw his starting nod as not only an individual honor but one for the Bisons’ organization.
“I was kind of surprised when I found out,” Hendirks said. “There are a couple of good guys in this league who have been doing extremely well but obviously I’m honored with the start. It’s a huge accomplishment not only for me but, what is it, 20 years since the Bisons have had a guy start the game? It’s huge for the organization as well.”
The last Bison to start the Triple-A All-Star games was Roy Smith in 1993. Hendriks becomes the fourth Bisons pitcher to get the all-star start joining Smith, Dorn Taylor (1990) and Rick Reed (1991).
Hendriks is 7-1 with a 2.19 earned run average in 14 starts (16 total appearances) for the Herd this season. His ERA ranks second in the league while he leads the IL in the fewest walks (0.70) and baserunners (8.77) per nine innings pitched.
The 25-year old was recalled twice by Toronto this season. He is 1-0 with a 6.08 ERA in three starts with the Blue Jays.
“I’ve been throwing well,” Hendriks said. “I had a couple of rough spots, one up there, one down here, but for the most part I’ve been pretty consistent. That’s pretty much the aim of the game. You just try to go out there and be consistent and do what you need to do and attack hitters and get ahead.”
While Hendriks is preparing for his All-Star start, two of his all-star teammates were involved in transactions on Friday.
For the first time in 94 games Dan Johnson not in the Bisons’ lineup. The first baseman had his contract selected by the Toronto Blue Jays after designated hitter Adam Lind was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a foot fracture.
Johnson had been selected to the All-Star Game and was to compete in the Triple-A Home Run Derby on Monday. He leads the International League with 17 home runs while his 79 walks are the most in all of affiliated baseball. He added four more to that total, drawing four walks for the Blue Jays in their game at Tampa Bay Friday night.
To make room for Johnson on the 40-man roster, the Blue Jays designated reliever Bobby Korecky for assignment. Korecky was also named an IL All-Star with a 4-1 record and a 0.57 earned run average in 36 appearances.
Before the game, three new members of the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame were inducted. The class included: Eric Wedge, a former Bisons and major-league manager, Greg Tubbs, former Bisons outfielder, and Bob Miske, a legendary Western New York scout.
As part of the festivities, Buffalo Sabres top draft pick Sam Reinhart threw out the ceremonial first pitch. It was a bit high and wide.
“It was a little nerve-wracking once I got onto the mound,” Reinhart said. “It was a little higher than I wanted it to be but I knew that going in bouncing would not be the best-case scenario so I was just trying to focus on getting it there.”
The series continues today and Sunday before the All-Star break. P.J. Walters (2-0, 3.27) is scheduled to start for the Herd tonight (7:05 p.m. TWCS, Radio 1520 AM) while Esmil Rogers (2-2, 2.95) will start Sunday.