Abreu moving to No. 2 in lineup for first time
Ventura looking to give hottest hitter extra at-bat, improve production vs. lefties
DETROIT -- The debut of Jose Abreu in the No. 2 spot of the White Sox order has been postponed by rain.
Manager Robin Ventura's Saturday lineup had the team's best hitter situated behind leadoff man Adam Eaton for the first time in Abreu's big league career. And despite inclement weather pushing the third game of this four-game series into a split doubleheader on Monday, Sept. 21, Ventura was pretty certain the lineup will be the same on Sunday.
"When I sleep on it, it might totally change," said Ventura with a wry smile of his new lineup. "But I would assume he would be there. I don't see any change in that.
"We've had a tough go against lefties -- shuffling it up enough to move him up and give him another opportunity, if it's there. With a lineup, you tend to shuffle and find something that works, and this looks like a good move right now, to be able to get him up there and something to shuffle the deck."
Abreu has 753 career plate appearances as a third hitter and 151 as a cleanup hitter. But in facing Tigers ace David Price on Sunday, Abreu will get his first at-bats as a two-hitter. White Sox two hitters have a .220 average and Major League-worst .511 OPS combined this season.
Hitting second, third, fourth or even leadoff doesn't matter to Abreu. It also won't change his plate approach, which already features Abreu's ability to hit to all fields.
"That surprised me," said Abreu of moving to No. 2, through interpreter and White Sox Spanish language broadcaster Billy Russo. "But I'm here to help the team win games. If they need me in the second spot of the lineup, I'm good with that.
"I'm probably going to get one more at-bat, and I'm going to see more pitches. I think that this is the only difference hitting second."
During his first two years with Cienfuegos in Cuba, Abreu hit first and second. He laughed Saturday and said that his body type was a little bit different at that point, but Abreu added that stolen bases still weren't an option.
Bunting was a focus for Abreu during his regimented daily batting practice sessions, even before Ventura made the move. He does it to be ready, not just for the heck of it, but Ventura pointed out that there won't be many, if any, occasions for the man with 49 career homers over the past 1 1/2 seasons to lay one down.
"If the opportunity is for me to bunt, I'm going to bunt," Abreu said.
"He's been practicing," said Ventura of Abreu bunting. "He is pretty good, but I'd prefer not to do that with him. I highly doubt he'd ever do it. I'd choose for him not to, even if it is on his own. I'd rather him not."