Despite rust, Abreu takes next step toward return to White Sox

Despite rust, Abreu takes next step toward return to White Sox
May 31, 2014, 12:30 pm
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Under the watchful eye of head trainer Herm Schneider, Jose Abreu moved closer to making his return to the White Sox.

Abreu had about 10 at-bats in a simulated game Saturday morning at U.S. Cellular Field, and the hope is he'll participate in another simulated game Sunday and re-join the White Sox lineup Monday in Los Angeles.

The 27-year-old slugger looked rusty facing the low-level minor league pitchers flown in by the White Sox for this weekend's simulated games. Abreu was often late on fastballs and didn't hit a home run, though he slammed a couple of deep fly balls and hooked a few breaking balls down the left field line that would've gone for singles in an actual game.

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Most importantly Abreu was able to run, briskly jogging to first base or legging out "doubles." The White Sox didn't want to send Abreu out on a minor league rehab assignment so they could keep close tabs on how his ankle responded to Saturday's work, especially in terms of how he ran.

"Herm was pretty adamant about keeping him here and being able to watch him," manager Robin Ventura said, "and we have a better idea of his mannerisms and his reactions to certain things."

Everything didn't go smoothly, though, as Abreu was drilled above his left elbow early into the simulated game. He was quickly tended to by Schneider and was able to continue after the awkward moment.

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Abreu is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Monday -- against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, no less -- and while the White Sox have had success without his bat in the middle of the lineup, his return should be a boon for the club that entered Saturday with a .500 record.

"It gives you a deeper, longer lineup than you would have without him in there, and we've seen the impact of having him in the lineup compared to having him out," Ventura said. "We realize we're a lot better with him in it."