Abreu sets rookie RBI mark for April
Cuban slugger drives in four runs on Sunday to give him 31 for the month
CHICAGO -- Another day, another group of records for Jose Abreu.
The White Sox rookie first baseman, who started at designated hitter during Sunday's 9-2 victory over the Rays, drove in four with a two-run homer in the sixth off David Price and a two-run single in the seventh against Josh Lueke, giving him 31 RBIs for the month of April.
That total is a Major League Baseball rookie record for RBIs through the end of April, which he previously shared with Albert Pujols, who had 27 in 2001.
Abreu's 10 home runs extends his rookie mark for April, and are the most in any month by a White Sox rookie and most by a White Sox player in April since Paul Konerko hit 11 in 2010. Jim Thome, who was in attendance on Sunday, also hit 10 in April 2006.
The 31 RBIs represent the most in any month by a White Sox player since Frank Thomas had 31 in August 2003. Abreu's 31 RBIs this month are a franchise record for April, the mark previously being held by Konerko with 28 in '02.
Harold Baines holds the franchise record for most RBIs in a month at 36, done in June 1987. Current manager Robin Ventura had 33 in July 1991 and Albert Belle had 32 in May 1997 and July 1998. Even factoring in his thorough daily preparation, this high level of success has come as a bit of a surprise to the humble Abreu.
"Yes, I am surprised," said Abreu through interpreter and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "I didn't have these expectations, especially with the cold weather, the way it is right now. But once again, I've got to thank God. It's God's gift and we'll continue to do it.
"You know, I go to the field to play baseball, help the team. I really don't go looking for records, but they're definitely welcome."
It was a first-pitch changeup from Price that Abreu drove out as part of a five-run sixth. He connected on a 1-1 fastball and took the pitch back up the middle in the seventh.
When asked about Abreu closing in on his 33 RBIs in a month, Ventura deadpanned that the slugger would not be playing the next five days. In reality, Abreu should have three more games to add to these already impressive April totals.
"He's good," Ventura said. "I think he likes to hit with guys on base. I think the last few home games haven't been ideal conditions. Even today is a little windy and cold, but he's just a good hitter. He's making adjustments and doing it between at-bats, between pitches.
"Everything has kind of been an adjustment for him. He just continues to impress."
Sunday's effort made Abreu the first player in Major League history to have four 4-plus RBI games in his first 26 career contests.