Justin Morneau is pleased with his progress and if it continues he could be headed out on a rehab assignment next week.
With his former team in town Tuesday, the veteran said he would travel with the White Sox to Houston over the weekend and figure out the next step if all in his rehab goes well. Morneau, who had elbow surgery last December, said he felt good headed into Tuesday’s workout after he took two days of batting practice over the weekend. The ex-Minnesota Twins player doesn’t anticipate he’d return to the lineup until sometime after the All-Star break.
“As long as everything goes good through the rest of this homestand and then in Houston, I think we’ll kind of assess where we’re at there,” Morneau said. “Everything so far up to this point, every time we’ve increased the activity and increased the intensity of it, everything has reacted well. Hopefully, it continues to go that way.”
Morneau expects he’d need a lengthy rehab once he gets underway. Not only does he have to acclimate to game speed once again — “there’s only one way to really find out,” he said — but Morneau needs to build up his endurance. He actually has worked hard to be prepared for that, he said, knowing he won’t have a month like spring training. And, Morneau also has to get his swing back in order after a layoff since the end of last season.
“I don’t know how many days that’s going to take,” Morneau said. “Once I go on a rehab assignment, I can’t see it being less than 30 at-bats before I’ll be ready. But who knows, I could feel great after 20 or whatever. But to say less than that would probably be pushing it a little too much.”
Two days after the best start of his young career, Carson Fulmer earned an invitation to the All-Star Futures Game.
The club’s top prospect will play for the U.S. team in the July 10 contest at Petco Park, the White Sox announced on Tuesday. Fulmer, who pitches at Double-A Birmingham, struck out seven in seven scoreless innings on Sunday night.
The 2015 first-round pick has struggled with command this season and has a 5.88 ERA and 44 walks in 75 innings. But Fulmer --- who has 75 strikeouts in 2016 --- has improved those figures of late, striking out 39 and walking 10 in his last 29 innings. He has a 4.34 ERA in that span, which accounts for his last five starts.
The White Sox selected Fulmer with the eighth overall pick of the 2015 draft. He had a 1.96 ERA in 23 innings between the franchise’s Rookie League team and Single-A Winston-Salem.
Jose Abreu said Tuesday he’s healthy and finally feels like he’s locked in at the plate.
After the slowest start of his career, the White Sox first baseman thinks he has rediscovered the approach that helped him become one of two players in baseball history to begin their careers with consecutive 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons.
With 12 games left before the All-Star break, Abreu only has a .755 OPS, which is 119 points lower than his career mark. But those figures and Abreu’s RBI count are on the rise in a month in which he has hit .310/.357/.563 with five homers and driven in 20.
“Everybody knows that this is a very difficult sport and I just started slow like I did last year, too,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “And I’ve been battling to try to get in a groove again, but it’s just work. I’ve been very confident in myself and I think that’s why I finally can say I’m feeling good at home plate and the results are there right now.”
The White Sox have played 76 games this season with Abreu having appeared in 74.
He missed Friday’s game to rest his sore legs. Both he and manager Robin Ventura said it was mandatory as Abreu — who is hitting .262/.320/.435 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs in 328 plate appearances — had some tightness in his right leg and his left was worse.
At this point last season, Abreu was hitting .291/.342/.488 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs in 307 plate appearances.
After he was off Friday and Monday, Abreu said his legs are in good shape.
“Physically, I feel good,” Abreu said. “I had a little soreness in my legs a few days ago, but right now I’m feeling very good and that’s good. I think the offday yesterday was good for me, too.”
Though they have much ground to make up, Abreu likes where the White Sox are as a team. He likes that even though they have faced many obstacles, they’re still in the middle of the pack.
“We’re a .500 team right now and I think that’s not all bad because we started the season very hot and then we suddenly struggled and badly the last two months probably,” Abreu said. “Right now we’re 38-38 and that’s good because we’ve been in good and bad stretches and have been able to survive.”