CLEVELAND -- Jose Abreu strengthened his lead at first base in the American League All-Star voting, according to the latest update announced on Tuesday afternoon.• VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star BallotIt's not a competition Abreu pays close attention to, not when the tireless worker is fighting his way from
CLEVELAND -- Jose Abreu strengthened his lead at first base in the American League All-Star voting, according to the latest update announced on Tuesday afternoon.
• VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot
It's not a competition Abreu pays close attention to, not when the tireless worker is fighting his way from a June downturn -- he entered Tuesday's game against the Indians hitting .239 with a .700 OPS during the month. Abreu's family's focus on the All-Star voting is a slightly different story.
"They are paying a lot of attention with all that. They're getting crazy," said a smiling Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo, shaking his head with a laugh as Russo spoke of his family's excitement. "With every news, every little thing they read about that, [they get excited].
"But I already told them, 'Don't talk to me about that. I don't want to know about that.' They know that I am focused on the things that I want to do. This month hasn't been as good as I want it to be, not as good as last month. I haven't felt in rhythm for a long period of time."
Abreu, who is looking to earn his second All-Star appearance and first as a starter, has 636,666 votes, building up an advantage over Boston's Mitch Moreland (472,245). Houston's Yuli Gurriel (368,863), Los Angeles' Jose Pujols (336,724) and Detroit's Jose Cabrera (333,130) round out the top five. No other White Sox player earned enough support to reach the top five at any other position or 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 vote at first base in 1996. He would be the sixth White Sox player (11th time overall) to win the fan vote as a starter to the All-Star team, joining Thomas ('94-96), Carlton Fisk ('81-82), Richie Zisk ('77), Dick Allen ('72-74) and Luis Aparicio ('70).
Entering Tuesday's action at Progressive Field, Abreu leads all AL first basemen with a .838 OPS, .500 slugging percentage and 26 doubles. He ranks second with 41 RBIs.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria gave him an off-day on Sunday, but the man who has played at least 145 games in each of his first four Major League seasons wants to be on the field.
"I have a lot of respect for this organization," Abreu said. "They have done a lot for me. They pay me to come in here every day and play every day. That's why I want to play every day. But the biggest reason is if I don't play, my mom is going to start telling me things. She's going to be all over me. That's probably the biggest reason why.
"If I don't play, she's the first one calling me in the morning. 'Hey, why aren't you playing? What's going on? You can play.' It's not that easy."
Gonzalez throws another simulated game
Miguel Gonzalez, who last pitched on April 17 due to right rotator cuff inflammation, threw a second simulated game on Tuesday at Progressive Field.
"He got up and down twice, threw 15 pitches," Renteria said. "We had two hitters for him. He sat down in between for three, four minutes, got back up, made nine warmup pitches and then threw another 15 pitches to two batters.
"Fortunately, he came out of it pretty good. We'll see how he feels later on today and tomorrow and we'll continue to progress with him and see what the next step will be."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.