Konerko, Dunn join first-time All-Star Sale

Konerko, Dunn join first-time All-Star Sale

NEW YORK -- Chris Sale and his wife, Brianne, had planned to do some work on their new house in Florida during the upcoming All-Star break.

Those plans have been tabled because of the left-hander's immense talent.

American League roster
Starters
C Mike Napoli, TEX
1B Prince Fielder, DET
2B Robinson Cano, NYY
3B Adrian Beltre, TEX
SS Derek Jeter, NYY
OF Josh Hamilton, TEX
OF Curtis Granderson, NYY
OF Jose Bautista, TOR
DH David Ortiz, BOS
Pitchers
RHP Ryan Cook, OAK
LHP Matt Harrison, TEX
RHP Felix Hernandez, SEA
RHP Jim Johnson, BAL
RHP Joe Nathan, TEX
RHP Chris Perez, CLE
LHP David Price, TB
RHP Fernando Rodney, TB
LHP CC Sabathia, NYY
LHP Chris Sale, CWS
RHP Justin Verlander, DET
RHP Jered Weaver, LAA
LHP C.J. Wilson, LAA
Reserves
C Joe Mauer, MIN
C Matt Wieters, BAL
SS Elvis Andrus, TEX
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
3B Miguel Cabrera, DET
2B Ian Kinsler, TEX
1B Paul Konerko, CWS
OF Adam Jones, BAL
OF Mike Trout, LAA
OF Mark Trumbo, LAA
DH Billy Butler, KC
DH Adam Dunn, CWS

"I guess I'll have to find another time to do that," said a beaming Sale. "But I'll sleep in an empty house for the first couple weeks of the offseason. That's fine with me."

Sale, 23, was one of three White Sox players selected to the American League All-Star team, as announced on TBS during the MLB All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell on Sunday. First baseman Paul Konerko and designated hitter Adam Dunn also were chosen to play in the July 10 Midsummer Classic at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, marking the sixth such honor for the White Sox captain and second for the big left-handed slugger.

Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski were equally worthy of All-Star consideration, but their names were not called. Peavy, however, is one of the five candidates on the AL Final Vote ballot, trying to join Scott Podsednik (2005), Pierzynski ('06) and Konerko ('11) as previous White Sox winners.

Each of this year's three White Sox All-Stars holds his own individual reason for celebration.

Konerko, 36, has found an optimum level of consistency at the plate in the latter stages of his career to go with his remarkably steady leadership as White Sox captain. With a .335 average following Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Yankees, Konerko appears well on his way to a third straight season with a mark above .300 and is challenging for the AL batting title. He has 14 homers and 40 RBIs, in pursuit of a third straight year with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs.

There's no way Konerko would miss an All-Star Game if selected. But he has a typically pragmatic win-win approach when viewing the All-Star break as a whole.

"You never think it's not a big deal, no matter how long you play or how old you are," Konerko said. "It's a great thing. I watched it as a kid every year. It's an honor to go.

"If you don't go, it's not a big deal, too. You get some rest, spend some time with your family. That's all good. It worked out, as everyone knows. .... If you do get picked, you're thankful and you want to enjoy it."

Last year's struggles for Dunn have been well documented; he hit .159 with 11 homers and 42 RBIs. Those issues are a thing of the past, as Dunn has belted 24 homers and collected 58 RBIs this season.

Dunn, Konerko and Sale were all voted in by the players, with Konerko garnering 592 votes at first to 333 for All-Star starter Prince Fielder. Sale finished second behind Tigers ace Justin Verlander, while Dunn was second to Red Sox DH David Ortiz.

"Getting voted in by your peers, that's the highest honor you can have," Dunn said. "It's a great feeling, a great honor. But I really feel like there's a lot of guys in here that deserved it."

Then there's Sale, the first-time All-Star and the team's top pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft who was a late-inning relief star in 2011. Left elbow soreness briefly shifted Sale to the bullpen on May 4, but the young man argued his way back into the rotation by May 12 after realizing it was nothing more than normal soreness and has become a force.

"I'm so excited about him getting the opportunity, the recognition he deserves," said Peavy of his rotation-mate. "Chris has been as good as anybody to me, if not simply the best pitcher in the game. He has been just a rock for us, to go out every fifth day to give us more than a chance. I'm sure it's going to be the first of many for him."

"It's awesome," Sale said. "It's something I've honestly thought about for a long time since I was a kid, playing baseball, being a fan of baseball. I was kind of speechless. They told me. It was just crazy."


Manger Robin Ventura and bench coach Mark Parent broke the news to Sale, who has posted a 9-2 record and an AL-best 2.27 ERA over 15 games and 14 starts, having struck out 94 and allowed just 68 hits over 95 1/3 innings. Sale immediately called his wife, his dad and his mom, joking that his mom didn't pick up because she was at the beach.

"My dad just said, 'Good for you. Congratulations,'" Sale said. "Like I said before, this is something I've gone through with him. This is satisfying for me, and he's tickled about it, too, just because all the stuff he's gone through with me, playing baseball in the backyard. I owe a lot of this to him, too.

"I have a couple of good guys who have been there and can show me the [All-Star] ropes a little bit. It's been an incredible ride. I wish I could sit here and tell you I did this all by myself, but I've had two catchers behind the plate, the defense is behind me, scoring runs when I'm out there. Without those guys, I wouldn't be sitting here right now."

The southpaw is currently scheduled to pitch on Tuesday against Texas and then finish the first half for the White Sox against Toronto at home. But even with that Sunday start, Sale can petition to pitch two days later in the All-Star Game under a fixed pitch count.

"If I feel good; we'll go at it," Sale said. "Obviously, it's something we've got to sit down and talk about a little bit more."

The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m. CT.  ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.

Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.

The Home Run Derby can be seen on MLB.com and ESPN at 7 p.m. CT on Monday, July 9.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.