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Abreu pleased with White Sox improvement

Slugger has eyes on playoff spot; bullpen day likely for Tuesday in Boston
@scottmerkin
June 23, 2019

ARLINGTON -- First baseman José Abreu has been with the White Sox since 2014, but he's yet to see an 80-win season, let alone a playoff contender. So the solid start for this 2019 squad has been especially gratifying for the White Sox leader. “Yes absolutely,” said Abreu through interpreter

ARLINGTON -- First baseman José Abreu has been with the White Sox since 2014, but he's yet to see an 80-win season, let alone a playoff contender. So the solid start for this 2019 squad has been especially gratifying for the White Sox leader.

“Yes absolutely,” said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. “For all of us who have been here for a few years, we are in this moment now where we are realizing all the process is coming together.

“Now all the kids are playing good and we still have plenty of room to improve and that’s exciting. We are just scratching the surface of what we are able to do. Now, it’s our responsibility, the old guys, to guide these young guys and try to push them and try to get them better every day. It’s a good moment and I’m very excited for this moment and the future of this team.”

After Sunday’s series finale with the Rangers, Abreu was ranked fourth in the American League with 54 RBIs to go with 17 home runs and a .792 OPS. He admitted to feeling a different vibe in the clubhouse compared to past years, a vibe spurred by the young talent, which produces extra motivation for Abreu.

“We are surrounded by young guys and they are pushing you to work harder than before,” Abreu said. “This moment, you see all the guys doing their job, all the guys getting to the level of production that you think they can do and the team playing the way it’s playing, you start to realize, ‘Hey, we are not that far behind in the Wild Card spot. Maybe we can do something.’”

When asked about the possibility of making the playoffs in Year 3 of the rebuild, Abreu smiled and offered a familiar mantra.

“We are going to keep working,” Abreu said.

Tuesday remains TBA

A bullpen day still seems probable for the White Sox on Tuesday at Fenway Park, although manager Rick Renteria said pregame Sunday that using an opener is still being discussed.

Right-hander Dylan Covey, on the injured list retroactive to June 6 with right shoulder inflammation, threw about 35 pitches in a side session on Sunday. He got up and down twice, throwing 20 pitches in the first round, per Renteria.

“He felt very good,” Renteria said. “From all intents and purposes, he didn’t feel like his command was good, but he felt good health-wise.”

Covey soon should return to the White Sox rotation. But he might first have to go through a brief injury rehabilitation assignment.

“It’s possible. We’ll see how he feels after today,” Renteria said. “Not just right now. See how he feels this evening. See if he has any soreness or changes that might affect it and we’ll make a determination when we get to Boston.”

White Sox deserve All-Star recognition

Count Abreu among the myriad White Sox teammates who are thrilled with James McCann being part of the Final 3 vote among AL catchers. Abreu called McCann “a hard worker” and “a key piece” for the team.

He also would like to see All-Star recognition for shortstop Tim Anderson and third baseman Yoan Moncada, who each finished sixth at their position during the first round of voting.

“With the work they have done this year, with the stats, the production they have done this year, they deserve to be in the Top 3 of their position,” Abreu said. “They should be there, but for whatever reason, people didn’t vote for them and that’s something that is wrong.”

He said it

“He’ll learn from the at-bats he’s getting, understand what they’re trying to do to him. You have to give him an opportunity to have quite a few more before you make a determination with where he’s at. He’s holding his own. He’ll continue to learn and get better.” -- Renteria, on rookie Zack Collins

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.