Sale leads in bid for final AL spot

Chris Sale's bid for a third consecutive All-Star Game appearance remains on track, as early returns in online voting for the final spot on the American League team had the left-hander in the lead.

According to mlb.com, which spearheads the Final Vote process, Sale was ahead in a "tight" race. The Colorado Rockies' Justin Morneau was leading the voting process in the National League.

Listed in order behind Sale were Garrett Richards of the Los Angeles Angels, Rick Porcello of the Detroit Tigers and Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians. The Houston Astros' Dallas Keuchel was said to be in last place.

When Sale was announced as being part of the Final Vote, he promised that he wouldn't vote for himself. On ESPN Chicago 1000's "Carmen & Jurko Show" on Tuesday, Sale was asked if his teammates were stuffing the cyber ballot boxes for him.

"Well, not so much my teammates but just like friends and family have been holding it down for me," Sale said.

Sale has an 8-1 record and a 2.16 ERA this season, but missed a month with a strained forearm muscle, keeping his innings at a relatively low 87 1/3 for starting pitchers. While some have called his omission from the team, so far, one of the biggest snubs in All-Star Game history, Sale has taken it all in stride.

"I knew just because of the time that I had missed that there would probably be something like that," Sale said. "But by no means am I upset. Having an opportunity to make an all-star team is an honor every day of the week."

The White Sox have pulled out all the marketing stops for Sale, getting the word out on social media, creating the "#TargetSale" slogan/hashtag and also working on a cross-promotion plan with the Washington Nationals, who have second baseman Anthony Rendon up for the Final Vote in the NL.

If any team knows what it takes to get through this process it's the White Sox, who have gotten A.J. Pierzynski, Scott Podsednik and Paul Konerko into the All-Star Game in the same fashion.

Perhaps most important for Sale is his start Wednesday at Boston in front of AL All-Star manager John Farrell. It will give him one last chance to show what he can do before the voting ends Thursday.

If Sale makes the squad, he will join teammates Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez for the July 15 game at Minnesota. Abreu, who is just the fifth White Sox rookie to be named an All-Star, has endeared himself quickly to his new team.

"He's been awesome," Sale said. "I don't think anyone on our team has one bad thing to say about him, not only on the field but in the clubhouse as well. He's a guy that is very serious, but behind the scenes he's laughing and joking a lot. He's really fun to be around because he's just a big guy and he's really funny and likes to have a good time. I'm definitely glad he's on my team."