DENVER — Though the White Sox have been pleasantly surprised by Jose Abreu’s defense, they think a minimal adjustment is needed.
While his range is better and hands are softer than scouting reports indicated, Abreu still needs a little tidying up with his receiving skills. The issue has surfaced several times over the first week of the season and was featured twice in Sunday’s win over the Kansas City Royals as Abreu had difficulty catching throws from Conor Gillaspie and Alexei Ramirez. But the White Sox see the matter as insignificant and correctable.
“It’s more of the way you attack the ball and the timing of when you attack the ball,” third-base coach Joe McEwing said. “It’s minor. It’s a conversation, really. Possibly a little bit of work, but it’s not stretching before you see the ball. See the ball, and then stretch.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura sees it as a combination of Abreu getting set too early and some of the conditions the team has played in. Ventura and McEwing are impressed by Abreu’s defensive work. McEwing cited how Abreu takes grounders in batting practice as if it’s a game situation. Ventura sees the same and is confident that Abreu, who has two errors in six games, can fix the problem.
“The ball moves on him, it’s a little tougher to move your feet and get back in the position to get a good shot at it,” Ventura said. “It’s not anything that is glaring. It’s one of those where you’re going to have to work at it.”
Abreu said he doesn’t see working with new teammates and their throwing tendencies as much of an issue. But as time goes on, Abreu thinks any issues will dissolve.
“It hasn't been too difficult, but there are some guys who are different so as we continue to go on, then things are going to be even easier,” Abreu said.
Said McEwing: “The timing and the tempo, he’ll adjust to it.”