You can bet the Minnesota Twins were glad they didn’t have to face Jose Abreu in the ninth inning when trying to close out Thursday’s win.
You can also believe the team’s pitchers and manager Ron Gardenhire are equally as pleased they won’t face Abreu again until June.
Though he only has three games experience, Abreu has already made an impression on the Twins, who saw him reach base in eight of 15 plate appearances and drive in five runs in 12 at-bats. The Cuban first baseman, who signed a franchise-record, six-year, $68-million deal in October, left such a mark that Gardenhire ordered him to be intentionally walked twice in his second game in front of Adam Dunn, who had two home runs in the series.
“I'm glad I won't see him for a while,” Gardenhire said. “The kid can really hit. We knew that coming in. We heard he was a really strong young man, and that's why we were pitching around him. No disrespect to Mr. Dunn. The way the guy's getting the barrel to the ball, you just try to limit the damage when he comes up in a lot of situations because he seems like he's on. He hits pretty much everything. Even when he makes an out, he seems like he gets the barrel to it. He's a strong young man. Looks like he really knows what he's doing hitting.”
Through three games, the White Sox have scored 21 runs. The team has a .365 on-base percentage.
So far the White Sox like what they have seen from Abreu, who has two doubles, a triple and two singles in 12 at-bats despite playing in less than hospitable conditions.
“If we can get him up there with guys on, we feel pretty good about it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He stays within himself to be able to put the bat on the ball, but he consistently hits it hard. That’s the one thing that’s impressive. In any situation he comes up, you always think he's going to hit something hard.”