- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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First baseman Paul Konerko, designated hitter Adam Dunn and starting pitcher Chris Sale were selected for the American League squad, while the curious omission of catcher A.J. Pierzynski is bound to raise a few eyebrows throughout baseball circles.
The pesky veteran Pierzynski told reporters on Saturday that he had no chance to be picked by the players because they dislike him in general. Nonetheless, the 35-year-old leads all catchers with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs. Pierzynski has been the White Sox’s most consistent run producer all season on a surprising first-place team that includes All-Stars Konerko and Dunn. AL manager Ron Washington told reporters on Sunday that Pierzynski was his most difficult omission, but he needed to make room for a Minnesota Twin and selected Joe Mauer.
Konerko, who was tied for the American League lead in batting average (.336 ) entering play on Sunday has had a strong first half, producing 14 home runs and 40 RBIs. The 35-year-old first baseman is 4-for-8 in his five previous appearances in the Midsummer Classic.
Dunn, who was an All Star with the Cincinnati Reds in 2002, was a bit of a surprise pick, as no one can remember a hitter making an All-Star team with a .213 batting average. However, the other numbers Dunn has amassed are certainly worthy of selection. The Sox DH is second in baseball with 24 home runs and his 58 RBIs are fourth in the American League. The slugger’s 64 walks and 125 strikeouts are also league highs.
Sale, a first time selection, has been the talk of baseball scouts all season. The 23-year-old lefty has been one of the top starters in baseball with a 9-2 record and a league-leading 2.27 ERA. Opponents hit just .198 against his offerings which is second in the league. Sale or Texas Rangers starter Matt Harrison could be Washington’s choice as AL starter for the July 10 game in Kansas City.
Peavy, along with teammate Dunn, is a candidate for comeback player of the year. After injury-plagued 2010 and 2011 seasons, the 30-year-old right-hander has stepped up his game, replacing Mark Buehrle as the ace of the White Sox pitching staff. The veteran pitcher ranks second in the league with 112.2 innings pitched and sixth in both strikeouts (101) and earned run average (2.96). He is tied for the most complete games (4) with the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander.
Both Peavy and Pierzynski are two time All-Stars so while Peavy wait for the results of the online election on Thursday, Pierzynski can only make the team if there is an injury to an already-chosen player.
The White Sox have had three players previously make the All-Star team through online voting -- Scott Podsednik in 2005, Pierzynski in 2006, and Konerko last season.
A.J. Pierzynski and Jake Peavy, a Final Vote candidate, were left off AL roster.