WEST Australian Liam Hendriks is set to become the third Australian to feature in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
The Oakland Athletics relief pitcher will line up for the American League in Cleveland on Wednesday morning after being added to their roster as an injury replacement over the weekend.
Hendriks, 30, will join now Team Australia manager David Nilsson (1999) and former Oakland pitcher Grant Balfour (2013) as Australian All-Stars.
“It’s cool,” said Hendriks, who grew up in the northern suburbs.
“Obviously I’m the 31st Australian to play in the big leagues but there’s only been three of us that have been lucky enough to get selected to an All-Star Game.
“It’s such an honour trying to gain credit for the Australian Baseball League and get the momentum going over there.
“Anytime an Australian guy does anything over here, it positively impacts the game over there.”
Hendriks’ All-Star Game selection caps off a remarkable resurgence after he was demoted to Triple-A (the level below MLB) last June.
“It’s been a whirlwind, for sure, don’t get me wrong,” he said.
“But I think it was almost a necessary evil for me to go down there and kind of gain perspective and get rid of the ego and be like, ‘OK. It doesn’t matter. Regardless of how I’m pitching, I don’t deserve to pitch in whatever role. I’m just going to go out there and pitch whatever inning they want me to.’
“Just that change of mindset has helped me to come where I am now.”
Hendriks returned to Oakland as a September call-up last year and become the first Australian pitcher to start an MLB postseason game in the Athletics’ American League Wildcard Game against the New York Yankees in October.
He is enjoying a career year in 2019, boasting an MLB-best 0.92 ERA as a reliever.
The nine-year MLB veteran ranks fifth among relief pitchers with 61 strikeouts and was named American League Reliever of the Month in June.
Hendriks made eight appearances for the Perth Heat during the 2010-11 Australian Baseball League season.
The 2019 MLB All-Star Game will be shown in Australia on ESPN and Kayo from 9.30am this Wednesday.