CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu will end up playing the fewest games of his five-year career with the White Sox during the 2018 season. In fact, this will be the first season the hard-working first baseman will play fewer than 140.But the injuries sidelining Abreu over much of the past month
CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu will end up playing the fewest games of his five-year career with the White Sox during the 2018 season. In fact, this will be the first season the hard-working first baseman will play fewer than 140.
But the injuries sidelining Abreu over much of the past month are not baseball related. Abreu was out from Aug. 21-Sept. 10 after having surgery to relieve pain caused by testicular torsion, and he was hospitalized in Cleveland after developing an infection in his right thigh due to an ingrown hair.
Abreu continues to deal with pain, but he has not really thought about sitting out the final 10 games of the White Sox campaign.
"Everybody knows I like to play. It doesn't matter if I'm in pain or not. I like to be on the field," Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo prior to Friday's series opener with the Cubs. "I'm a little sore right now, but at this moment we just have to wait to see the doctors, wait and see what they say about can I play or not play.
"I would like to help this team, as I always want. But at this moment, I can't play right now. We'll see what the doctors say."
The 2018 season will mark the first one of Abreu's stellar career in which he won't reach 100 RBIs or hit at least .290. He has a slash line of .265/.325/.473 to go with 36 doubles, 22 home runs and 78 RBIs through 128 games.
It has been a strange run for a player who doesn't like missing an at-bat, let alone a week's worth of games.
"Absolutely [strange]. In life, sometimes things happen that you don't have control of," Abreu said. "In those moments, you realize the people who really care about you. You appreciate that. I'm not happy in the way the last few weeks have been, but it is what it is. I'm just glad everything is going to be right.
"I'm feeling better. What the doctors did in Cleveland was outstanding. They took care of the situation. It was good. I have a lot to be glad for. I thank them a lot. All the people here have been very, very good with me. I'm just getting the treatment, taking pills and things to get the process going."
Giolito looking for good start to 2019
Saturday's contest marks start No. 31 for Lucas Giolito in a season where a 5.77 ERA on the back of his baseball card won't reflect some of the important knowledge gained by the 24-year-old. Giolito has cleaned up his mechanics through a change in long toss, not to mention an improved focus on the mound.
Giolito's goal in 2019 is to avoid the rough start he experienced this season, where the right-hander carried a 7.53 ERA through the first two months.
"It was a grind. That's the best way I could put it," said Giolito during a recent interview. "I was just grinding through, and luckily I was able to come out and start to produce better results.
"Obviously next year having that kind of start is unacceptable. It's about getting out here from the beginning of the year and being the type of starting pitcher I know I can be."
Just another series
Playing the Cubs in the second-to-last home series of the campaign becomes an interesting scheduling quirk for both the visitors and the host White Sox. But for manager Rick Renteria, it's close to being just another series.
"Obviously, it's not like any other series -- this is an in-city rivalry," Renteria said. "But we're looking to go out there and try and play good baseball against a good ballclub and give ourselves a chance to try to win some games."
The White Sox need three wins over their final 10 games to avoid a 100-loss season. But they could play spoiler as well regarding the Cubs' quest for a third straight National League Central title.
"If we play well, I think we gain a lot. We're competing against another postseason-bound club," Renteria said. "We've kind of been playing a lot of clubs that are postseason bound. You're gaining a lot of experience and knowledge about what you can and cannot do. It raises the level of intensity and focus, I would hope."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.