Patrick Finley: Tucson Padre proud of Pedro

Son-in-law Alvarez definitely an All-Star in manager's mind
2013-07-18T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:17:11Z Patrick Finley: Tucson Padre proud of PedroPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Late at night, when his Tucson Padres duties are through, Pat Murphy calls up his son-in-law's games.

Using baseball's film-watching computer technology, the skipper can view every Pedro Alvarez at-bat from the day.

He doesn't give the Pittsburgh Pirates slugger tips; rather, he watches them like any other proud Padre-in-law would.

"They're agonizing," he said Wednesday. "Jeez, I'm hanging on every pitch."

Murphy's 12-year-old son, Kai, looked at him the other day.

"Dad," he said, "are you like this during my at-bats? I hope not."

This week, when Alvarez played in his first All-Star Game, it was Kai's turn to be nervous.

The former Vanderbilt star - who's hitting .250 with 24 homers and 62 RBIs this season - invited his brother-in-law to hang out in the dugout and on the field while he participated in the Home Run Derby.

Kai, already a fixture in the Tucson clubhouse, met the game's great players.

"I've never seen Kai nervous around a baseball field," Murphy said. "And he was nervous."

Murphy was, too, sitting in the Citi Field stands.

But, mostly, he was proud - overwhelmingly so - of Alvarez and Murphy's daughter Keli, who married 2 1/2 years ago.

Murphy is no stranger to All-Stars. Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Cleveland's Jason Kipnis, both on this year's team, played for him at Arizona State.

"I have a different feeling inside me when Pedro's coming to the plate," said Murphy, whose Triple-A team starts second-half play tonight at home against Colorado Springs. "I know that represents family.

"When Pedro comes to the plate, I think of my daughter, and I think of Pedro's family.

"I think of my concern for him and the hope he continues his career the way he is.

"I take off my coach's hat."

That hat's been pretty effective, too.

The first-year skipper has the Tucson Padres in first place in their division, at 53-45.

Do you realize that last year's team won 56 games - all season?

It's been such a good year that even Murphy's break was magical. He used the word "grateful" more times than I could count Wednesday.

He was thankful to spend time with Keli, to watch how she helped Pedro minimize the distractions of New York City, where he was raised after moving from the Dominican Republic.

He was thrilled he and Kai got to witness it all.

And he was tickled by the irony: Five years ago, he brought his daughter to the Yankee Stadium All-Star Game right around the time she and Pedro first started talking.

The Murphys stayed at the same hotel then that the skipper and his son did this week.

"I'm just really grateful that I see my daughter and him going through it," Murphy said. "They're two young kids. I couldn't be prouder of the person Keli picked."

He looked up from his Citi Field seat the other day and saw Pedroia walk up to Alvarez and say hello.

It was a veteran acknowledging a first-timer, but also a member of Murphy's baseball family greeting someone from his actual family.

How cool is that?

"It was a warm feeling," he said.

Triple-A All-Star Game

Former Arizona Wildcats standout Preston Guilmet gets save as International League wins in Reno.

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Contact reporter Patrick Finley at pfinley@azstarnet.com or 573-4658. On Twitter @PatrickFinley

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