Baseball | Triple-A All-Star Game: Clippers closer will get to pitch close to home

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Clippers closer Preston Guilmet didn’t mind that the all-star break this season included one more baseball game instead of a three-day visit with his family in California.

Guilmet and Clippers catcher Omir Santos will play for the International League team against the Pacific Coast League tonight in Reno, Nev., in the Triple-A All-Star Game.

“With how many teams there are in this league and to be one of those few guys selected is pretty special,” Guilmet said. “And as far as the time off goes, yeah, you’d like it. But it’s just way more fun to go play in the all-star game than to take a couple of days off.”

There is another perk for Guilmet, whose 17 saves are second in the IL this season. His parents, Roger and Cathy Guilmet, are going to attend the game.

“My home is about two hours from Reno,” Preston said. “So I’ll get to spend a little time with the family before I go to Reno. Then my family and friends will get to go to Reno, too, and support the team.”

Although Guilmet considers the all-star game an honor, his selection paled to the moment Clippers manager Chris Tremie told him that the Indians were calling him to Cleveland.

“To hear those words, ‘You’re going up to the big leagues,’ I can’t describe the feeling,” Guilmet said. “It was a dream come true.”

Tremie was pleased to deliver the news. He managed Guilmet in 2012 at double-A Akron before arriving with him in Columbus this season. He knows that the right-hander works without a high-octane fastball.

“He has fought his way from the beginning when he got signed and all the way up through the minors,” Tremie said. “He has put up numbers and had great seasons every year. He has shown that he can pitch in high-pressure situations. He knows how to deal with that pressure and the nervousness, and he knows how to turn it into something positive.”

Guilmet entered a game on July 10 against the Toronto Blue Jays in the seventh inning with two outs and runners on second and third to face Munenor Kawasaki. He didn’t try to blow him away.

“The days that I try to light up the radar gun, it doesn’t light up and the ball usually gets up in the (strike) zone,” Guilmet said. “Remembering that I have to pitch is one of the things that I always have to think about.”

He kept that in mind while striking out Kawasaki to end the inning and coaxed a groundout from Jose Reyes in the eighth.

Vinnie Pestano relieved Guilmet, and he was on his way back to Columbus the next day.

“I’ll never forget the jog in from the bullpen,” Guilmet said. “The feelings that were going through me and even to be in that situation were just fun. I figured that I was coming back (to the Clippers). All you can ever take care of is what is in front of you. I’m going to keep doing that.”& amp; amp; amp; lt; /p>

jmassie@dispatch.com

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