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Slugging Abreu in elite White Sox company

First baseman tied for 12th all-time in organization with 135 homers
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu's 135 career White Sox home runs place him in the same historic neighborhood as Hall-of-Famer Jim Thome, who hit 134 with the White Sox, and Minnie Minoso, who finished at 135 with the team.

Abreu is tied for 12th all-time in the organization, leaving the highly accomplished first baseman with a great sense of pride.

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CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu's 135 career White Sox home runs place him in the same historic neighborhood as Hall-of-Famer Jim Thome, who hit 134 with the White Sox, and Minnie Minoso, who finished at 135 with the team.

Abreu is tied for 12th all-time in the organization, leaving the highly accomplished first baseman with a great sense of pride.

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"I have a lot of respect for this organization, for the history of this organization and for those players who made history in this organization," Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo. "My name along with their names is something that made me feel proud because I know that I'm doing good things. But what matters the most is the respect for this organization."

Abreu has a personal connection to both Thome, who finished with 612 career home runs and now serves as a special assistant to general manager Rick Hahn, and the late Minoso, the Cuban native who was the first black player in franchise history.

When Thome and Abreu have the chance to talk, the conversation usually is about hitting.

Video: CWS@MIN: Abreu drills a 2-run homer to left-center

"To have a conversation with him about hitting is something that you can't describe," Abreu said. "It's really good because of all the knowledge he has. A great guy, a great human being. He deserves all the respect. He's outstanding. Just personality-wise, he's awesome."

Minoso had a special influence and bond formed with Abreu, who is approaching the same sort of lofty status as his mentor and countryman.

"Every day I never forget about him," Abreu said. "All the things, all the help that I received from him that he came to the clubhouse every day before the game just to chat with me and to have fun. That was very special for me and I always will be grateful for all the help and all the things he did for me."

Kopech's rough start not cause for concern
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper was left somewhat incredulous by the extra attention paid to Michael Kopech's poor start Thursday night for Triple-A Charlotte.

"It's unbelievable that when a starter in our Minor League has a bad outing, it's a story," Cooper said.

Video: Top Prospects: Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox

That story comes from Kopech, the No. 2 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, walking eight and striking out two over three innings, while throwing only 35 of his 86 pitches for strikes. But while fans are counting the days until Kopech arrives in the Majors, the White Sox aren't swayed by an especially good or bad effort.

"He's developing. He had a rough go of it yesterday, didn't throw enough strikes," Cooper said. "That doesn't stop us, or take us one iota from us thinking who and what Michael Kopech is about. I'd like to watch the next start and see how Kopech bounces back. "

"Hopefully the next one will be better," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of Kopech, who has allowed 14 runs over his last 11 innings and issued 17 walks. "Hopefully his fastball command will be there, and he'll be able to use all the other pitches that he has in his repertoire, and be able to attack hitters."

Must-see TV
The White Sox announced some special television analysts joining Ken 'Hawk' Harrelson during a celebration of the iconic figure's final year in the booth.

Hall of Famer Frank Thomas will be with Hawk on Sunday vs. Detroit at 1:10 p.m. CT on WGN-TV. Legendary White Sox captain Paul Konerko will be there on Aug. 19 vs. Kansas City at 1:10 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago, and current broadcaster and former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski joins Harrelson on Hawk Day, Sept. 2 vs. Boston at 1:10 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago.

Hawk Harrelson nesting dolls also will be given away on Hawk Day. It's a giveaway commemorating a different phase of Hawk's career in each doll: a depiction of Hawk as a broadcaster with a headset, as a front-office executive wearing his cowboy hat and as a player wearing his Red Sox uniform.

Tweet from @whitesox: Join us 9/2 for the Hawk Harrelson nesting doll giveaway (first 10,000 fans)! The giveaway commemorates phases of Hawk���s career in each doll, depicting Hawk as a broadcaster, a front office executive wearing his cowboy hat and as a Red Sox player.🎟: https://t.co/lYM6ibpmp9 pic.twitter.com/VKZ6HOKZ5q

Third to first
• Outfielder Avisail Garcia homered among his two hits during an injury rehab start for Charlotte on Thursday. He played again Friday, will have Saturday off and then will be re-evaluated. Garcia has been out of action since April 23 with a strained right hamstring.

• The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced Friday the suspension of White Sox Minor League pitcher Jorge Ferrer following his violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Ferrer, who is currently on the Club's Dominican Summer League roster, has received a 72-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox