By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) — All Stars Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez were elated with the honor of being named to the American League squad for the mid-summer classic in Minneapolis, July 15.
The one missing element was the exclusion of pitching ace Chris Sale. The White Sox top starter will have a chance to be voted in as the last roster spot with online voting this week.
Sale missed five weeks of the season with a forearm strain. Despite missing that time, Sale has been his usual dominant self, with a record of 8-1 and a 2.16 ERA. The two-time All Star was elated for his teammates getting the nod.
“I think it is awesome,” Sale said. “I think the right two guys are going…Jose is leading the league in home runs and he didn’t play in a game for two weeks. That just goes to show you how well they have played. Lexi has been one of the better bats in our lineup the whole year. Anytime there is a clutch situation and they are up, you like where you are at.”
Abreu has been the talk of baseball being tied with Nelson Cruz for the league lead in home runs with 27 and ranking second in RBI 69. He was voted in by the players.
“I cannot give them enough thanks for recognizing me and what I have done,” he said through a team translator. “Other than giving them thanks I am at a loss for words.”
Ramirez, also making his first All Star appearance, was thrilled to be chosen with a fellow countryman.
“I am extremely happy to go in with Jose,” Ramirez said. “I am happy that our level of baseball-Cuban baseball is being recognized.”
Sale was the winning pitcher in last year’s American League victory, throwing two shutout innings. He also pitched one shutout inning in his first All Star appearance in 2012.
“I know they do the final man thing,” said manager Robin Ventura. “I know if they have a big lefty coming up for the National League, I know I would want him pitching.”
Abreu once again declined to talk about whether he will appear in the home run derby. He has stated on numerous occasions that his concentration must stay on helping his team win games. He has not allowed the questions or the exhibition event to become a distraction.
“I have not thought about it,” the first baseman said. “The thing I have thought about is helping my team win these last seven games before the break. I can’ t see myself thinking about it, but we will get there when we get there.”