Jose Abreu’s family may have grown a little closer on Friday night.
Incensed after Trevor May struck him with a pitch in the eighth inning of a blowout victory, the White Sox slugger took a few steps toward the mound to bark at the Minnesota Twins pitcher, which cleared the benches and later led to manager Robin Ventura’s ejection.
Abreu eventually cooled off and apologized for his actions after a 10-4 win at U.S. Cellular Field. But he also spoke of how he felt after his teammates, whom he often refers to as his family, reacted as they did — by charging on the field to back him up.
“That showed me respect,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “They respect me and I respect them, and especially Robin. I think that Robin was there to defend me and it was good. I always say we are a family and we showed today that we really are a family.”
Long after tensions had cooled, Ventura was still bothered in his postgame media session.
With the teams slowly backing down on the field, Ventura argued in close proximity to the face of crew chief Bill Miller near the third-base line, which led to the manager’s second ejection of the season and 14th of his career.
May hit Abreu with a 97-mph fastball on an 0-1 pitch only after Nate Jones had struck Byung Ho Park with a pitch in the top of the eighth.
Ventura said May’s pitch was intentional. He received a roar of approval from White Sox fans as he headed to the clubhouse at the close of his argument.
“I felt that was (intentional), and especially with Pito, you're always sensitive to that and you respond to that,” Ventura said. “It's a difference of opinion. We're not going to back down or be afraid in that situation. You back the guy up. I think, for me, there was intent there.”
Reliever Scott Carroll hit Kurt Suzuki in the behind with a pitch in the ninth inning, but neither team reacted. Shortstop Tyler Saladino said the White Sox would have had no qualms about supporting their teammate again if the situation calls.
“If he does step out there like that, then we're all going to be there,” Saladino said. “We're a team. That's what we do. It doesn't matter who it is. If something happens like that, you're there for the guys.”