Abreu off the DL, to face Kershaw
CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu was activated from the disabled list prior to the White Sox series opener Monday at Dodger Stadium.
The first baseman and galvanizing force in the middle of the White Sox lineup gets to test the inflammation in his left ankle against none other than two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. But after going through a second simulated game Sunday morning and looking crisper at the plate and running the bases, Abreu seems ready to go.
"I'm anxious to get started," said Abreu through interpreter and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "There's really no limitations."
"Coming back against Clayton Kershaw is probably not ideal in terms of shaking off that rust," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn of Abreu. "But after talking it over with him and Robin and the coaches, it makes most sense to get going tomorrow."
Abreu last played on May 17 in Houston, when manager Robin Ventura pinch-hit for him because he didn't look right in a previous at-bat. Even with that length of absence, the White Sox didn't feel the need to send him on a Minor League rehab assignment.
Hahn pointed out that an assignment would have cost Abreu a couple of travel days and would have interrupted the treatment he was receiving from White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider. They also wanted to cut down the travel with the White Sox leaving Sunday night for the West Coast and the risk of any additional swelling from the flying.
Instead, the White Sox brought up two right-handed Minor League pitchers and two left-handed Minor League pitchers from extended spring training to throw to Abreu in simulated games.
"Part of the reason we brought the kids up for sim games here was so that he would face live action essentially and best we could simulate a game in terms of pitchers letting it go from 60 feet, 6 inches," Hahn said. "It would have worked out either way. This seemed more convenient for the player, especially with us going to the West Coast immediately after this. Again, there's going to be a little rust, but it has only been a couple of weeks and he should be able to shake it off pretty quick."
Abreu has 15 homers, 42 RBIs and a .908 on-base plus slugging in his rookie season. He's prepared to assume his spot in the middle of the lineup, but doesn't feel extra pressure to do too much because of the team's recent offensive struggles -- a .215 average with 15 runs scored over the last six games.
"Unfortunately the last couple of days our offense has been down, but that's part of baseball," Abreu said. "You have ups and downs. You're going to go through those, whether I'm here or not, they can do it. It's a team. I don't feel pressure that I have to come in and do anything different."