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Abreu continues to pace AL 1B All-Star voting

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu was focused on Argentina's 2-1 victory over Nigeria in World Cup action, along with many of his teammates, prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu was focused on Argentina's 2-1 victory over Nigeria in World Cup action, along with many of his teammates, prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

But he had a few moments in between viewing soccer action and his regimented and detailed preparation for that night's contest to discuss his continued lead among American League first basemen in the third round of All-Star voting released on Tuesday.

"I welcome that recognition, and I respect all the fans that have voted for me," said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "I appreciate that.

"Even though I don't think about that or it's not in my mind, I appreciate that. My focus is just to get better, to get my offense to the point where I can feel comfortable with it. I'm not at that point right now, but I'm working to it."

Video: CWS@DET: Abreu homers, collects 3 XBH in 4-hit effort

Abreu checked in with 1,032,748 votes, widening his lead over Houston's Yuli Gurriel, who now ranks second with 714,361. Boston's Mitch Moreland (644,728), who was previously second, Los Angeles' Albert Pujols (516,550) and the injured Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers (415,891) round out the Top 5 at first base. Abreu is the only White Sox position player in the Top 5 or among the Top 15 in the outfield.

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 10:59 p.m. CT. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.

Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

According to the team, Abreu is the first White Sox player to lead at any point in the balloting process since Frank Thomas won the fan election at first base in 1996. He would be the sixth White Sox player (11th all-time) to be fan-elected as a starter to the All-Star team, joining Thomas (1994-96), Carlton Fisk (1981-82), Richie Zisk (1977), Dick Allen (1972-74) and Luis Aparicio (1970).

Entering Tuesday, Abreu topped all AL first basemen with a .796 OPS, 27 doubles and 44 RBIs. Those numbers have taken a dip during June, when one of the steadier middle-of-the-order presences in baseball has hit .215 with two home runs, 13 RBIs and a .603 OPS. But as he said earlier, Abreu is working tirelessly to get his offense back to a higher level.

"Just doing my routine. Keep doing my routine," Abreu said. "Right now, it's just a matter of swinging at more pitches in the strike zone.

"That's something I'm not doing consistently or throughout this month and that's probably the reason my offense is not as good as it was last month. Fixing that is going to make everything OK."

Where the World Cup is concerned, Abreu smiled and said everyone on the White Sox has a different team to support. His choice is France and has been since 1998, possibly because his favorite player is Zinedine Zidane, although he has never visited that country.

"But I've made a promise to my wife to bring her to France and to go to the Eiffel Tower," Abreu said. "We'll see. I don't like to be for a long period of time in an aircraft and that's going to be tough."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu