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Abreu, Ramirez earn first All-Star Game bids

Cuban countrymen excited to be heading to Minnesota together

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Abreu, Ramirez earn first All-Star Game bids play video for Abreu, Ramirez earn first All-Star Game bids

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez are teammates, friends and countrymen from Cuba. And as of Sunday evening, they are both first-time American League All-Stars.

Both were put into the Midsummer Classic via the players' vote, ending up second at their respective positions. Abreu goes as a rookie and Ramirez was selected during his seventh solid season as the White Sox shortstop.

"Everyone knows the type of player and person that Alexei is, and Alexei has helped me a lot since I've arrived," said Abreu, through interpreter and White Sox director of public relations Lou Hernandez. "But it really makes me happy to be going to the game with him."

"I'm extremely happy with Jose, going with Jose, the fact that it's his first year in the league and he's setting records," said Ramirez, also with the assistance of Hernandez. "Not just the two of us, but everyone, whether it's National League or American League. I'm happy that our Cuban baseball, our level of baseball, is being recognized here."

Chris Sale, the ace of the White Sox staff, is looking to join his teammates in his third All-Star Game as one of the five pitchers on the ballot for the MLB.com AL Final Vote. He joins Rick Porcello (Tigers), Dallas Keuchel (Astros), Corey Kluber (Indians) and Garrett Richards (Angels).

Abreu already has been named the AL Player of the Month for April and the AL Rookie of the Month for April and June. He has 27 home runs, putting him in good position to surpass Ron Kittle's franchise single-season rookie record of 35 homers set in 1983. Abreu has 69 RBIs and a .616 slugging percentage, leaving him at or near the top of those three offensive categories for much of the season's first half, even though he missed 14 games with left ankle tendinitis.

Ramirez bounced back from a subpar 2013 effort by his standards to produce a .286 average with eight homers and 41 RBIs. He has reached base safely in 72 of 89 games and sits fourth among AL shortstops with a .977 fielding percentage.

"For both of them, it's exciting. You can tell they're excited to be going and be considered one of the top players in the league," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's a feather in your cap that you take forever.

"Alexei has worked hard, he's worked very hard this year to be able to get this. Just happy for him, happy for Jose, for all the work they do that they're recognized by their fellow players."

Jose Abreu, 1B/DH
Prior ASGs: None
ASG W-L: N/A
ASG stats: N/A
How he made 2014 AL team: Player selection
Why he's an All-Star: Abreu has served as the driving, impactful force of the 2014 White Sox offense, sitting among the Major League leaders in homers, RBIs and slugging percentage.
DYK?: Abreu is on pace for 50 homers, which would break the White Sox single-season record held by Albert Belle (1998) and the Major League single-season rookie record held by Mark McGwire (1987), both set at 49.
Quotable: "It really is a gift from God to be able to have the privilege to play in the All-Star Game. It really is an honor. I can't tell you how happy I am."

Alexei Ramirez, SS
Prior ASGs: None
ASG W-L: N/a
ASG stats: N/A
How he made 2014 AL team: Player selection
Why he's an All-Star: Despite a rough June offensively, Ramirez has been one of the best overall shortstops with the bat and the glove in the AL.
DYK?: Ramirez becomes the first White Sox shortstop to make the All-Star Game since Ozzie Guillen in 1991.
Quotable: "I'm still a little in shock. It's the recognition of a lot of the hard work that I've put in here and we've put in as a team. It's a great honor."

Immediately following the announcement of the AL and National League All-Star rosters on Sunday, fans began voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners are announced after the voting concludes on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.

The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

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.

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