CHICAGO -- In the ninth inning of Thursday night's loss to the Twins, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu made a slick pickup of catcher Omar Narvaez's one-hop throw to nail fleet-footed Byron Buxton on a wild pitch off of a third strike.It was a sign of Abreu's defensive possibilities,
CHICAGO -- In the ninth inning of Thursday night's loss to the Twins, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu made a slick pickup of catcher Omar Narvaez's one-hop throw to nail fleet-footed Byron Buxton on a wild pitch off of a third strike.
It was a sign of Abreu's defensive possibilities, which have not been as prevalent as Abreu would like in the 2017 campaign. During that same game, in the first, Abreu missed a throw from Tyler Saladino, costing the team a potential inning-ending double play and a scoreless frame. The Twins went on to score four unearned runs.
"Sadly, last night, I failed at that play with the solid throw," Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo, speaking prior to Friday's series opener with the Padres. "But I take a lot of pride in my defense.
"I work on it a lot, same as my offense, because I take pride in both as part of the game. I don't think one is more important than the other. Both are important."
Abreu has a minus-17 Defensive Runs Saved in his career, second-worst at first base during that span behind Ryan Howard. Ultimate Zone Rating has him at minus-10.6, behind only Howard and Pedro Alvarez at first. Abreu is minus-3 DRS and minus-1.4 UZR this season.
His preference is to play in the field over strictly serving as designated hitter, and manager Rick Renteria doesn't favor one person handling DH responsibilities. So it's up to the 30-year-old to continue working for improvement in the field, understanding the mistakes he made as he did Thursday, when he acknowledged stretching too early for the throw.
Renteria likes Abreu's defense, pointing Thursday night to the mitt he uses possibly being a problem.
"You put a different type of glove on this kid and you see him taking ground balls at second, third and short," Renteria said of Abreu, who is using the same glove he has been using over the last year or so. "He's a good defender."
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.