The next challenge for Jose Abreu will be maintaining his success as his workload increases well beyond what it was in Cuba.
Abreu entered Saturday with 325 at-bats, already more than he had in a season while playing in Cuba's 96-game league. His previous career high was 312 at-bats, coming in 2006 with Cienfuegos.
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Abreu doesn't expect fatigue to play a factor in the season's final two and a half months, though, as the 27-year-old spent all offseason training for the grind of the long major league season.
"I don’t really think it’s going to affect (me)," Abreu said through team translator Lino Diaz. "… So far we’ve played half of the season right here and here we play 162 games but I just feel like we’ve just got to continue to work hard and stay mentally tough and continue to be a good person so you can get the results that you want at the end of the season. But I don’t think … the length is going to affect my performance or anything like that."
Still, manager Robin Ventura said he'll keep an eye on Abreu's fatigue when September rolls around and Abreu nears having double the at-bats he had a year ago in Cuba (264).
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Ventura's already shown a willingness to give his slugger a day off from the field by having him sporadically be the club's designated hitter, as Abreu was in the final game before the All-Star break.
"I think right now he's so excited with the way things are going, that can carry a lot of guys through that period," Ventura said. "But again, you don't know until he gets there and you see it. He's made a lot of adjustments along the way already and I think that's part of him making an adjustment. There will be days where he can DH. … So you take care of him and give him maybe a day here or there where you can do that."