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Avisail named first-time AL All-Star

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- An outstanding 2017 for Avisail Garcia became even greater on Sunday when the White Sox right fielder was selected as an All-Star for the first time in his six-year-career.

Garcia stands as the lone White Sox representative. The honor comes as a result of the 26-year-old's breakout season, as well as coming when he and his wife, Anakarina, are expecting a son to join their family, which already includes a daughter, Annarella.

CHICAGO -- An outstanding 2017 for Avisail Garcia became even greater on Sunday when the White Sox right fielder was selected as an All-Star for the first time in his six-year-career.

Garcia stands as the lone White Sox representative. The honor comes as a result of the 26-year-old's breakout season, as well as coming when he and his wife, Anakarina, are expecting a son to join their family, which already includes a daughter, Annarella.

Garcia plans for his wife and daughter to join him for the festivities in Miami.

:: Complete All-Star Game coverage ::

"I asked Q [Jose Quintana] how it was when he went last year, and he said it's a great experience," an elated Garcia said. "Make sure you bring your family with you. First time, but hopefully there's many more to come.

"It's an honor to represent the White Sox in the All-Star Game. It's an honor for me. It's another blessing. I just have to keep working and can't wait for that moment."

There might be no greater individual beneficiary of the White Sox rebuild than Garcia. When Chciago was focused on the playoffs last season, they moved Garcia to designated hitter because his defense was a bit suspect. If the team had playoffs in mind again for 2017, Garcia could have been non-tendered after three straight middle-of-the-road seasons despite his five-tool talent.

But the White Sox gave Garcia an opportunity to return to right, and Garcia certainly didn't take this chance lightly. He lost somewhere around 20 pounds coming into the season and put in the intense preparation leading to his .318 average, .875 OPS, 11 home runs and 51 RBIs.

Although he has missed four straight games with left knee soreness, Garcia is currently just nine RBIs shy of his career-high.

"First of all, I lost weight. I work on my hitting," said Garcia, of his offseason regimen. "Wake up every day at like 5 a.m. to go to the gym and work hard. Then go back home in the afternoon and then go to hit like three times per week.

"All that work is coming together. I just thank God for the opportunity and just have to keep working. Like I said, it's another blessing. When you work hard and believe in yourself, you got a really good chance to be where I am right now representing the White Sox in the All Star Game. I feel blessed."

Not only has Garcia's production improved, but he's also learning more about his game and the game itself. As an example, he can recognize and move on from bad at-bats.

"Now I can make the adjustment," Garcia said. "It's a big thing in this game. You just gotta keep your mind strong and be focused and positive and try to make that adjustment fast."

White Sox manager Rick Renteria brought the entire team together to give Garcia the news, motivating the first-time All-Star even more for the season's second half.

"He goes as a representative, obviously rightfully, for everything he's been doing up to this point," Renteria said. "But we congratulated him as a team. It's fitting that everybody should be in the room. Those guys have been picking each other up all year long."

Fans can cast ballots for the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile devices until 4 p.m. ET on Thursday. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will then be announced during "MLB Tonight" live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. Extensive coverage throughout the Final Vote will be provided by MLB Network and MLB.com, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns, and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.

Now in its 16th season, with more than 680 million votes cast, the Final Vote again will include social votes on the last day of balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the final six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.

On Tuesday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

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, Avisail Garcia