TORONTO -- He may not be interested in competing in this year's Gillette Home Run Derby, but Jose Abreu can expect an invitation from Jose Bautista to swing for the American League at some point this week during the White Sox-Blue Jays series.
Bautista, the Blue Jays slugger and captain of AL Derby squad, said Thursday that he planned to speak with the heavy-hitting rookie over the course of the four-game set at Rogers Centre.
"He's a guy that's on my short list, but I have to talk to him and see what he says and we'll take it from there," said Bautista, who's the top All-Star Game vote getter for the AL so far.
Abreu, whose 23 homers rank third in the AL, said earlier this week that he believes the home run derby negatively affects his swing. The first baseman previously competed in five contests in Cuba.
But Bautista said he'd rather hear directly from Abreu before ruling him out as a possible entrant.
"I'd like to hear that from himself, I don't want to use sources for that decision. I don't want to not invite him and then he's upset, or disappointed, that I didn't, if I didn't talk to him personally," said Bautista.
Abreu, who as of the last balloting update had accumulated the second-most votes (1,420,294) for AL first basemen, trailing only Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, leads the AL in slugging percentage (.615) and ranks fourth in RBIs (61) and sixth in OPS (.940).
With his impressive rookie season, Abreu has a strong chance to be named an All-Star even if he's not voted in by the fans and would be an attractive choice to participate in the Home Run Derby on July 14 at Target Field.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 10:59 p.m. CT. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less