MILWAUKEE (AP) — Brewers closer Corey Knebel had quite a day without even taking the mound.
In the morning, he learned he and his wife, Danielle, would be having a baby girl through a unique unveiling. Then, just before the Brewers played the Miami Marlins on Sunday, he was informed he’d been chosen for his first All-Star Game.
“What a day,” Knebel said. “I don’t know how it could get any better.”
The Knebels learned they’d be having a girl, due Nov. 23, when the team created a special ‘baseball’ that Danielle pitched to Corey, who was in an unfamiliar position of holding a bat.
When Corey hit the pitch, the ball exploded in a puff of pink chalk. When he rejoined his teammates, he learned he was going to Miami for the All-Star Game festivities.
“Danielle is happy, excited because we’re having a girl and then we find out 30 minutes later that I’m going to be an All-Star. I’ve been saying all day I’m on cloud nine, but I don’t know where I am now. I’m really excited.”
Knebel has had a meteoric rise from the minor leagues to All-Star.
“This time last year, I got sent down to Triple-A. It was kind of a reality check,” Knebel said. “I didn’t have a year that I wanted to. I went into the offseason and told myself this isn’t going to happen.”
After Milwaukee traded Tyler Thornburg to Boston, Knebel decided to dedicate himself to winning the closer role, which initially went to Nefatli Feliz, who is no longer with the team.
“Thorny got traded and in my mind, I decided I was going to take that closer role. I didn’t want to mess around anymore, Knebel said. “I knew this is where I needed to be and everything else worked out.”
He is 0-1 with a 1.13 ERA and 13 saves in 16 chances. He has at least one strikeout in each of his 40 appearances this season, setting the major league single-season record for most consecutive games with a strikeout in Friday night’s win over Miami.
When counting Knebel’s final appearance of 2016, he has 41 consecutive games with a strikeout and trails only Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman’s record of 49 consecutive appearances set over 2013-14.
“This kind of came out of nowhere. I’ve been feeling good,” Knebel said. “Throwing the ball over the plate and everything works out. Funny how it works out.”
Knebel played three seasons at Texas from 2011 to 2013 after graduating from Georgetown High School.