White Sox

White Sox: Healthy Jose Abreu producing at 2014 levels again

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White Sox: Healthy Jose Abreu producing at 2014 levels again

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Not only did Jose Abreu make some swing adjustments at the All-Star break, he has also had the benefit of good health.

With a sore finger that lingered in part of the first half currently not an issue, the White Sox slugger once again looks like the record-breaking slugger he was in 2014. Over his past 18 games, of which he’s hit safely in 17, Abreu has a .348/.423/.725 slash line with seven home runs and 21 RBIs in 78 plate appearances. On Saturday, Abreu produced the fifth two-homer game of his career in a 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

[MORE: Fresh Jose Abreu hitting ball with authority for White Sox]

“He’s had some things injury wise that have held him back,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Last year the foot was a big issue, this year the finger, which changes the mechanics of things. As hard as he hits the ball it’s hard to keep that pace if you’re not feeling right. Right now he feels good and that’s why he’s hitting the ball harder and further. When he feels good he’s a better hitter.”

Twice this season Abreu, the reigning American League rookie of the year, had to take lengthy pauses in at-bats after he re-aggravated the soreness in his right index finger by fouling off a pitch. He also was relegated to duty as a designated hitter only for the better part of a week in late May/early June when he couldn’t properly grip the ball. Ventura believes the finger bothered Abreu more than he would admit and his power numbers may have suffered.

Whereas Abreu blasted 29 homers before the All-Star break on his way to a club rookie-record 36 in 2014, he only hit 14 this season. But Abreu has picked up the pace, hitting seven in the second half so far — matching his post-break total from last season. In Cleveland, Abreu said his finger felt better and he was thankful and didn’t want to talk about it any further — perhaps to avoid jinxing his good health.

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Buy a Jose Abreu jersey]

While Abreu — who received co-AL player of the week honors with Adam Eaton on Monday — has enjoyed his good health and the productivity it has allowed for, he’d trade it for team victories. The White Sox have lost seven of their last nine amid Abreu’s hot streak.

“I have been feeling very good after the All-Star Game,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “The power has been there and the homers have been there also. But the most important thing is to get wins. It doesn’t matter what you can do on as an individual, the most important thing is what you can do as a team. At this moment what we do individually is not as important as the result we get.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Chris Bleck (ESPN 1000) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Ryan Pace’s offseason begins. Josh Sitton and Jerrell Freeman are gone, but what will he do with Kyle Fuller?

Plus, Rick Hahn joins Kap from Glendale, Ariz., to discuss the state of the White Sox rebuild, how tough it is to keep their best prospects in the minors and why Jose Abreu is so important for his young team?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

The White Sox three outfield prospects are creating a lot of buzz at spring training.

On this edition of the podcast, Micker Adolfo tells Chuck Garfien about a conversation they all had about one day becoming the starting outfield for the White Sox. Adolfo talks about his longtime friendship with Eloy Jimenez, his impressions of Luis Robert, Luis Basabe and the White Sox future.

But first, it's a conversation with MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez who has great insight on many of the White Sox players: Jimenez, Robert, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu. He tells an amazing story about why Jimenez decided to sign with the Cubs when he was a teenager, how much Abreu is revered in Cuba and much more.

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.