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Alexei Ramirez making case for All-Star game

CHICAGO IL - MAY 27:  Chicago White Sox ground crew rolls out tarp cover field after third inning against

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 27: Chicago White Sox ground crew rolls out the tarp to cover the field after the third inning against the Cleveland Indians as the game enters its second rain delay at U.S. Cellular Field on May 27, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 477583843

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Updated: June 29, 2014 6:43AM

If the All-Star Game were held today, Alexei Ramirez would have the strongest case to be the American League’s starting shortstop.

“It would be a tremendous honor to be able to participate, to be recognized for putting in hard work and doing everything I’ve done to get here,’’ Ramirez said.

Ramirez opened the season with a franchise-record 17-game hitting streak and had 40 hits in April, a notoriously poor month for him, and hasn’t really cooled off in May. Through Monday, he led AL shortstops in average (.320), home runs (seven), RBI (36), slugging (.483) and OPS (.838) and is third with nine stolen bases. He hasn’t missed a game.

Ramirez always talks up team results above his own and stopped short of saying he deserves to be an All-Star. He definitely pays attention and would relish the chance to go to the game, which is July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

“I absolutely watch it,’’ he said. “I think it’s fun, especially last year with [fellow Cuban Yoenis] Cespedes [winning the Home Run Derby]. These are the best players in baseball, and I enjoy watching it.’’

The All-Star Game is still 43 games down the road. Ramirez figures to have fan-vote competition from Derek Jeter (.273, one homer, 10 RBI), who will be a sentimental choice in his last season.

In the first round of balloting released Tuesday, Jeter leads with 602,525 votes. Ramirez is second with 472,537. Jose Abreu (367,617) is third at first base behind Miguel Cabrera (440,407) and Albert Pujols (371,193).

Up and not quite Adam

Leadoff man Adam Eaton isn’t moving completely free and easy, and while he said his sore legs are “coming around,” he’s still coping with minor soreness. But Eaton said he wants no part of a rest for his legs Wednesday before the day off Thursday that would give him two days off for the price of one.

“A couple of cold tubs, day off Thursday, and by Friday, we’ll have the spark back in them,’’ said Eaton, who was on the disabled list May 3-17 with a strained right hamstring.

Still struggling, hurting

Felipe Paulino, who began the season in the starting rotation before going on the disabled list with right rotator-cuff inflammation, has been removed from his rehab assignment at Class AAA Charlotte, where he has struggled with a 9.61 ERA in five starts.

Paulino has a sore shoulder.

“I don’t know if he’s seriously injured, but you look at the numbers, and you still think there’s something there,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “We’ll continue to evaluate that.’’


Twitter: @CST_soxvan

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