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Chris Sale named American League starter

Chris Sale. (Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO – Ned Yost said his decision was “real easy.’’

Easy? Perhaps. That’s because facing Chris Sale, whom Yost named as the American League starting pitcher for the All-Star Game Tuesday night at Petco Park, is anything but.

Watching the White Sox ace left-hander from a spectator’s viewpoint is baseball eye candy, Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta said, which is another reason why Sale (14-3, 3.38 ERA), the major leagues’ wins leader, was a good choice by the Kansas City Royals manager to take the ball first in baseball’s July spectacle.

“Sale is one of the most fun guys to watch in baseball,’’ Arrieta said. “With his deception, the funky arm angle, the 7-foot slider he throws. … And he throws from low to upper 90s and that’s not easy to deal with. He can throw a no-hitter every time he touches the mound. Whether you’re a Cubs fan or Sox fan for the city of Chicago it’s going to be fun to watch that guy pitch and to see our guys go against him. That will be awesome.’’

Even if Sale only pitches an inning, he’ll face at least two Cubs with Ben Zobrist leading off and Kris Bryant batting third in Mets manager Terry Collins’ NL lineup.

“He’s ready to go this year,’’ said Yost, who says he would have started Sale last year had he not thrown 115 pitches against the Cubs the Saturday before the All-Star Game. “For me it was a real easy choice.’’

An All-Star and a top-six Cy Young voting finisher in each the four seasons he’s been a starting pitcher, Sale was humbled by Yost’s selection, as expected as it was.

“What an honor,’’ Sale said. “I can’t put into words what this means.’’

It seemed equally meaningful for the 27-year-old face of the Sox franchise to have teammate Jose Quintana not only added to the team Sunday but also being lined up by Yost to participate in the fifth inning. The AL will go with Sale, Indians right-hander Corey Kluber, Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels, Rangers right-hander Aaron Sanchez and Quintana in the first five innings, a left-righty-lefty alignment, before turning the game over to relief pitchers. Yost talked up the importance of home field advantage in the World Series, which is at stake in the game, and made it clear he’s going all-out to win.

Sale will get the ball rolling by going all out as well.

“Planning on letting it eat for a minute, really,’’ Sale said. “Just getting after it. There are no repercussions that come from the game other than having fun and competing. That’s all I’m going to try to do. I don’t know what pitches I’m going to throw. I’m going to rely on my catcher [Salvador Perez] like I always do.

“I know what it means and I know how much fun I’ve had in the past, so I’m just going to try to go out there with some energy and start the game off on the right foot for the guys.’’

Sale will be the first Sox to start since right-hander Esteban Loiza in the 2003 game at U.S. Cellular Field.

He planned on watching, along with his young son and family members, teammate Todd Frazier defend his Home Run Derby title Monday night and soak in everything else for a couple of days here.

“I’ve had fun, I really have,’’ Sale said, reflecting on his relatively short but hugely successful career. “I’ve had a lot of good people, a lot of good mentors and coaches along the way to get me to where I am. This wasn’t me just figuring it out on my own. I’ve had people pushing me in the right direction, teammates and family and coaches. So I’m just very appreciative of all that put together to get me to this point where I am today.’’

Here is the AL lineup:

Altuve 2B

Trout CF

Machado 3B

Ortiz DH

Bogaerts SS

Hosmer 1B

Betts RF

Perez C

Bradley Jr LF

Sale P

The National League lineup features the Cubs entire infield. Ben Zobrist will lead off, Kris Bryant will bat third, Anthony Rizzo sixth and Addison Russell ninth.

The NL batting order:

Zobrist 2B

Harper RF

Bryant 3B

Myers DH

Posey C

Rizzo 1B

Ozuna CF

Gonzalez LF

Russell SS