OAKLAND -- At long last, Grant Balfour has made the American League All-Star team.
He didn't learn about his addition to the team until just after the first pitch of what turned out to be an 11-inning, 3-2 Oakland win over Boston in which Balfour threw a scoreless ninth inning, striking out the side
But he had a hunch it might happen.
"I have a little overnight bag packed, just in case,'' he said.
The Oakland closer, who is perfect in 25 save attempts for the A's to go with a 1.63 ERA, was named as a replacement Sunday for A's starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, who was not going to be used by AL All-Star manager Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers Tuesday because he started Sunday.
The 40-year-old Colon, now a three-time All-Star, will still travel to New York and take part in the All-Star festivities. He came into Sunday's start against the Boston Red Sox with a 12-3 record, got no decision while allowing two runs in 6.1 innings to hit the break with a 2.70 ERA.
Under baseball rules, Colon couldn't be replaced on the roster until he'd thrown his first pitch.
Colon said he was a little disappointed that he wouldn't have the chance to pitch, but he'll be in New York and will be part of the hoopla, so that's not bad.
"I feel happy I can go to the All-Star game,'' Colon said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "I'm happy we'll be in the game, and (left fielder Yoenis) Cespedes in the Home Run Derby, too.''
This is the first All-Star appearance for Balfour, 35, in his third season with the A's, his second as the team's closer. He has thrown 38.2 innings and struck out 41
"Each and every year you'd like to be an All-Star,'' Balfour said. "I think I've had some good years, but it hasn't worked out. It's an honor now to be named. I can cross this one off my list.''
His teammates were pumped to know that Balfour was finally getting a chance to go, giving the A's two representatives for just the second time in the last decade.
"Other than Miguel Cabrera (of the Tigers) and Chris Davis (of the Orioles),'' third baseman Josh Donaldson said, "I can't think of anybody who means more to his team (than Balfour does.).''
As recently as Saturday night, Balfour said he hadn't heard anything about a possible berth on the All-Star roster, but he said "there's always hope.''
Balfour is the second Australian, and the first Aussie pitcher, to make it to the All-Star team joining catcher Dave Nilsson, who represented the Brewers in 1999.
Although the A's will finish the pre-All-Star portion of the season with the second-best record in the AL, Balfour will be the only active A's player in the game. In addition to Colon, who will now be there only as a spectator, the club is seeing Cespedes head to New York to take part in Monday's Home Run Derby where third base coach Mike Gallego will pitch to him.