Jose Abreu makes it tough for White Sox to rest him

Jose Abreu makes it tough for White Sox to rest him
May 14, 2014, 7:00 pm
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OAKLAND — White Sox manager Robin Ventura wants to give Jose Abreu 48 hours off to rest his sore ankle starting Thursday.

Ventura also has said he expects his Cuban slugger to fight the decision.

Abreu presented Exhibit A for his case on Wednesday afternoon.

Despite a sore - but apparently healing - ankle, Abreu delivered another late hit for the White Sox again. His monstrous three-run homer in the eighth inning lifted the White Sox to a 4-2 win over the Oakland A’s in front of 18,035 at O.co Coliseum.

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The stunning victory helped the White Sox avoid a series sweep at Oakland and also snapped a four-game losing streak.

“(Abreu) wants to play, that’s for sure,” Ventura said. “For him, just getting through it, making sure we can get him healthy where he can swing it a little bit better, he’s a tough kid.”

Even while running gingerly on an ankle that Ventura said makes him wince, Abreu has continued to produce. He blasted a 442-foot homer against Arizona on Friday and sparked a ninth-inning rally here with a round-tripper on Monday.

Abreu did it again on Wednesday after Gordon Beckham and Conor Gillaspie singled to put runners on the corners with one out in the eighth and the White Sox trailing by a run. Down 0-1 in the count to A’s reliever Luke Gregerson, Abreu swatted a fastball off the façade that separates the first and second decks in left field for a three-run homer.

Abreu insists that his ankle is OK and the White Sox have said it's healing despite what looks to be obvious pain. If Ventura has his way, Abreu would sit Friday’s series opener in Houston to give him two full days off his feet.

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But Abreu already has begun to lobby to play.

“It feels good,” Abreu said. “Robin knows I feel good, so as soon as he decides he wants to put me in, I’ll go in.

“The off day is the off day. We have got one off day and that’s enough. The other one we have to play. If they put us on then we’re playing.”

Abreu has appeared in all 41 of the White Sox games this season, starting 40. Even though he has just begun the acclimation process to life in the majors, he has already become the centerpiece of the White Sox offense.

Wednesday’s homer was his major-league leading 15th and he has 41 RBIs in 42 games. The blast also puts Abreu in rare company; he, Wally Joyner, Wally Berger and Kevin Maas are the only players to have hit at least 15 homers in the first 42 games of their careers.

“(Abreu has) got ridiculous power,” said Gillaspie, who finished 3-for-4. “When he gets the ball up in the air like that, it’s going to be tough for it to not leave the park. Hats off to him. The guy made a mistake and he took advantage of it.”

The White Sox offense has been stymied for most of the series in Oakland and Wednesday was no different. Aside from Beckham’s solo homer to lead off the first inning, and Gillaspie’s fifth-inning double that led to Beckham getting thrown out at the plate, Tommy Milone kept the White Sox off balance.

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Milone allowed a run and five hits over six innings.

White Sox starter Andre Rienzo pitched well but earned a no-decision even though he held the A’s to a pair of solo homers. John Jaso also hit a leadoff homer in the first and Josh Donaldson put Oakland ahead 2-1 in the fourth when he drove one the opposite way to right.

Those were the only two hits Rienzo allowed as he walked two and struck out four over 6 1/3 innings.

“We’re concerned about today, and [Abreu] had a great at-bat,” Ventura said. “You get him up there in a tough situation, the way things were going all day. It started off great with Gordon, but Milone was just tough. Andre seemed to match him all the way through. There were some moments of having guys on base, and he got through it. But Jose, it’s just a big home run, to get us a lead and hold them off.”