All-Star Game rosters are going to be announced Sunday, and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, starting pitcher Chris Sale and shortstop Alexei Ramirez can all make cases for inclusion on the American League team.
With his 3-run shot against the Angels in Game 1 of a doubleheader Tuesday, Abreu took over the major-league lead in home runs (26) and RBI (67).
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Sale is a few innings short of qualifying, but his 2.30 ERA would rank third among AL starters.
Ramirez cooled off a bit in June, but he headed into Tuesday's play leading AL shortstops in multiple offensive categories, including hits (95), home runs (8) and OPS (.756).
Sale has been to the last two All-Star Games, and he earned the win in 2013 after pitching 2 perfect innings. Abreu is a lock to be in Minnesota on July 15, and Ramirez is vying for his first all-star appearance.
"I want them to play," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's fun. Guys that get selected and get to go to the All-Star Game and play with the best players in the game, it's fun. I think there's a lot of it that I hope we have guys that go and they get to enjoy that.
"Even when Chris went before and pitched in it, you see a difference in him that you can't tell right now. Usually you can see a difference in him when they come back and they have been part of that. It's special."
After taking over for injured closer Matt Lindstrom and blowing 3 of 11 save tries, Ronald Belisario is out as the Sox' closer, at least for the time being.
And with Lindstrom expected to be sidelined at least another month after having ankle surgery, it looks like manager Robin Ventura is going to let Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam and possibly Javy Guerra take cracks at closing.
"I think the way they pitch is part of it," Ventura said. "For the past couple of months you look at guys in different situations that they come in, sometimes the seventh and eighth, they come in pretty nasty situations and they get out of it. People start looking at like they have that kind of stuff. We have guys that have pitched well to be able to get there."
Count Angels manager Mike Scioscia as another member of the Jose Abreu fan club.
"We saw him in the spring, and there was no doubt in the spring the talent was real, the bat speed's there, the strength, and he's obviously turned it into a terrific first half, certainly with the power numbers and the production numbers," Scioscia said. "He's a force. There's no doubt about it. I'm sure that he's going to be somebody we're really going to have to contain and I think he's shown what his talent can bring, definitely from the power aspect."
Scioscia was asked if he expects Abreu to hit even more home runs in the warmer summer weather.
"Well, I think his power plays in the Grand Canyon," he said. "He's got pretty good power."