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Renteria to use 'abundance of caution' with Abreu

MLB.com @alysonfooter

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox slugger Jose Abreu is anxious to return to the lineup after taking a couple of days off to rest his left hamstring, but he may not see game action until Sunday at the earliest.

These moves are precautionary. Abreu and manager Rick Renteria agree that the first baseman is feeling strong and can return to the field soon, but whereas Abreu would like to play now, his skipper is thinking more conservatively.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox slugger Jose Abreu is anxious to return to the lineup after taking a couple of days off to rest his left hamstring, but he may not see game action until Sunday at the earliest.

These moves are precautionary. Abreu and manager Rick Renteria agree that the first baseman is feeling strong and can return to the field soon, but whereas Abreu would like to play now, his skipper is thinking more conservatively.

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"He's going to go through the ringers today, and I'll put him through the ringers tomorrow and possibly get him an at-bat Sunday," Renteria said. "But I can't promise you an at-bat Sunday, even though he wants to promise you an at-bat."

Renteria credited the decision-making process with his own "abundance of caution," with exhibition games taking a backseat to Opening Day.

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"I want to start the season with 'Pito' Abreu, arguably one of the better hitters in the Major Leagues," Renteria said. "He's ready to go. I'm not going to deny it. He can play tomorrow and probably the next day. I'm going to hold him back."

Abreu, who has been sidelined since leaving the White Sox game against the Rangers on Tuesday, said he has been doing upper-body exercises in the interim while laying off any strenuous leg workouts. He's also hitting in the batting cages.

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"I am ready for the season," he said.

Asked if he understood Renteria's reasoning, Abreu gave an emphatic "yes."

"Absolutely, I understand the situation," he said. "I understand what they are trying to, do but I also know that I want to play, too."

Shields' tune-up

Opening Day starter James Shields made his final Cactus League appearance on Friday with a prearranged abbreviated outing vs. the Mariners, which ended in a 5-5 tie. The veteran righty pitched three scoreless innings, striking out three, and ends the exhibition season with a 6.75 ERA.

"Being it's my last start of Spring Training, my delivery just kind of honed right in today and every pitch was working," Shields said. "I was getting ahead of hitters. I felt good, really good."

Shields will face his former team, the Royals, on opening Day next Thursday in Kansas City.

Engel returns to lineup

After two games off with a stiff neck, center fielder Adam Engel returned to the lineup on Friday, logging a double in the second inning and grounding out in the fourth.

Renteria said Engel may have come down with the neck issue by sleeping incorrectly.

"He continues to improve, he's had a very nice spring and I don't anticipate that this will have any long-term effect," Renteria said. "Most of the time when you work a spasm out, as most of us know, once you get it out, it's OK and you keep going."

Video: CWS@ARI: Engel plates two on a single to right

Reassignments

The White Sox reassigned three of their non-roster invitees to Minor League camp on Friday -- veteran left-handers Xavier Cedeno and Robbie Ross Jr., as well as infielder Matt Skole.

Cedeno and Ross had both been in the competition for one of Chicago's final Opening Day bullpen spots. The 31-year-old Cedeno had a 5.19 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings over 10 Spring Training appearances. The 28-year-old Ross had a 2.70 ERA and eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings over his six spring outings.

Skole had been having a strong spring at the plate. The 28-year-old, who spent 2017 in the Nationals' organization, was hitting .333 (13-for-39) with a .413 on-base percentage and a 1.054 OPS, along with a pair of homers. But the corner infielder doesn't provide as much defensive versatility as someone like Tyler Saladino or Leury Garcia.

The White Sox now have 29 players remaining in Major League camp, including 16 pitchers, three catchers, six infielders and four outfielders.

Up next

The White Sox have two more Cactus League games before heading out to play their Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte, N.C. on Monday. Saturday's game against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch will feature right-hander Carson Fulmer, the Sox projected fifth starter, against Los Angeles lefty Alex Wood. The game will begin at 12:05 p.m. PT. Watch the game live on MLB.TV or on an exclusive video webcast.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu