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Abreu in tight race to start All-Star Game at 1st

Veteran slugger would be first White Sox All-Star starter since 1997
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu stayed true to form on Tuesday -- wanting to focus more on the game that night against the Indians than on his lead in the early results of the American League All-Star first basemen voting.

VOTE NOW: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

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CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu stayed true to form on Tuesday -- wanting to focus more on the game that night against the Indians than on his lead in the early results of the American League All-Star first basemen voting.

VOTE NOW: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

View Full Game Coverage

But achieving the starting honor would be something special for Abreu, not to mention the White Sox organization.

"It will be excellent because we play this game for the fans," said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "To have the honor to represent them, and they know what I'm doing, that is really big. If that happens I would be really happy."

"Having the opportunity to work with him every day is something really special," said White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada of Abreu, through Russo. "He likes to work, and you are always learning from him -- the things that he does, how he handles himself and his routine. That's something that you really appreciate, and I always thank him for allowing me to be close to him."

Abreu, an All-Star in his AL Rookie of the Year Award-winning season of 2014, has 267,812 votes to carry a slim lead over Boston's Mitch Moreland (241,889). Detroit's Miguel Cabrera (173,174), Los Angeles' Albert Pujols (155,219) and Houston's Yuli Gurriel (154,363) round out the top five at first base. No other White Sox player received enough support for the top five (or top 15 in the outfield).

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

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. Abreu would be the sixth White Sox player to be fan-elected as a starter to the All-Star Game, joining Thomas (1994-96), Carlton Fisk (1981-82), Richie Zisk (1977), Dick Allen (1972-74) and Luis Aparicio (1970).

The 31-year-old ranks first among AL first basemen in RBIs, doubles, slugging percentage and OPS. Entering Tuesday, Abreu had a .290 average with an .862 OPS, 10 home runs and 38 RBIs. His 25 doubles put him second in the AL behind Eduardo Escobar.

"[Making All-Star teams] are the experiences you never forget," Abreu said. "At that time [in 2014], it was recognition for all my work and for the journey to come to the U.S. and the Majors.

"One of the best moments was when I met Derek Jeter. He was in his retirement year, and it was a very special moment for me. Just being there, being around great players and having the opportunity to share the field and locker room with them was very special."

Third to first

• Outfielder Avisail Garcia began an injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte Tuesday, hitting second and serving as designated hitter. He singled in his first at-bat, after being out of game action since April 23 with a right hamstring strain.

• Moncada has heard talk from manager Rick Renteria and general manager Rick Hahn about a generous strike zone being employed against him by umpires. But the switch-hitter, who is 24-for-119 in his last 30 games, knows it's incumbent on him to make adjustments.

"I'm getting too many calls that for me are not strikes," Moncada said. "They are calling those pitches strikes and I will have to make some adjustments in order to take advantage of the situation. It's just more to keep doing the things that I'm doing. Just be more aware of the strike zone."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu