TORONTO -- Don't rule out Jose Abreu for the Gillette Home Run Derby just yet. The White Sox rookie slugger told American League Derby captain Jose Bautista to keep the lines of communication open as the Blue Jays' right fielder considers his options for the five-man squad.
Abreu had said earlier in the week that he wasn't interested in competing in this year's Derby because he believed it has a negative effect on his swing. He'd previously participated in five such contests in Cuba.
But he appeared to bend a little bit after he crushed a pair of solo home runs in the White Sox 5-4 win over the Blue Jays on Friday saying, "You never know, we'll have to see."
On Sunday, Bautista said the pair had spoke about the possibility of Abreu joining the AL Derby squad. Based on that conversation, he hasn't closed the door on the idea just yet.
"He's a little hesitant because he's done a couple of them in the past and he hasn't fared too well," Bautista said. "He feels like it messes up his swing a little bit. But he did tell me it's not 100-percent no, to keep the communication lines open with him and see what happens. I'm definitely doing that because I think the fans deserve to watch him."
Abreu has been on a tear so far this season, and entering Sunday was in a three-way tie for the Major League lead in home runs with 25.
As of the last All-Star Game balloting update, the 27-year-old had accumulated the second-most votes (1,420,294) for AL first basemen, trailing only Detroit's Miguel Cabrera.
"He's a great talent. He's somebody that has taken MLB by storm in his first year," Bautista said. "It's amazing to see, and hopefully he can put the power I've seen in the past couple of days on display in Minnesota."
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 Gillette 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.