Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Ventura sees three worthy Sox All-Stars
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox might be hard pressed to have a player start in this year's All-Star Game, but manager Robin Ventura still thinks the team should be represented on multiple fronts.
A month out with an injury might cost Chris Sale a spot on the All-Star team.
Ventura can see three worthy All-Stars on his club in first baseman Jose Abreu, shortstop Alexei Ramirez and starting pitcher Chris Sale. The All-Star Game will take place July 15 in Minnesota.
"I think they are (worthy), definitely the way they've played this year," Ventura said. "I think those guys deserve a go. But year after year, we're going to sit there and talk about guys that don't end up there. Do they deserve to go? Absolutely. They deserve to go and be a part of that and be recognized as All-Stars."
Abreu and Ramirez are both in second place at their respective positions in the fan voting that ends late Thursday. While Abreu's 1.8 million votes are well behind the 3.3 million of the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera, Ramirez is much closer. The Yankees' Derek Jeter leads all AL shortstops with 2.9 million votes, while Ramirez has 2.3 million.
Both Abreu and Ramirez stand a solid chance of still making the team as backups.
If there is a long shot in the group, it could be Sale since he missed a month of action with a muscle strain in his left arm. And if the White Sox are a sub-.500 team heading toward the break, they might not get three All-Star Game roster spots.
Would it be fair to hold Sale's injury against him? In the 12 starts he has made, he has been nothing short of spectacular. He is 7-1 with a 2.30 ERA, and he has already shown American League manager John Farrell what he is made of.
Against the Boston Red Sox on April 17, Sale dug deep for 127 pitches and gave up just one hit over seven innings. The end result was a trip to the disabled list, but Sale's dogged determination was on full display.
"He has proven (himself)," Ventura said of Sale. "He has done it over, not this just year, but the last couple of years. That stuff to me, you are looking at a guy that's at the top of his game. Whether he missed a little bit of time, he's still one of the better (pitchers) and his numbers prove it out."
As a former player, Ventura knows what playing in an All-Star Game means, so he won't be one of those managers who prefers his players not compete during the break.
"I want them to play," Ventura said. "It's fun. Guys that get selected get to go to the All-Star Game and play with the best players in the game. I hope we have guys that go and they get to enjoy that. Even when Chris went before and pitched in it, you see a difference in him that you can't tell right now. Usually you can see a difference when they come back and they have been part of that. It's special."