Jose Abreu will have five days to rest up for the second half the season, as White Sox manager Robin Ventura decided to rest the banged-up first baseman for Sunday’s series finale against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The 28-year-old Abreu has battled a sore leg/foot recently as well as an irritated right index finger, with the latter ailment initially aggravated in mid-May. It forced him out of the White Sox lineup for a few games in early June, too.
“This is just to give him an extra day going into the All-Star break to get four days and get an extra one,” Ventura said. “Hopefully I can stay away from him and not have him go in there. It just needs a day.”
Abreu was not selected to his second consecutive All-Star roster, so he’ll get to recover a bit before the White Sox begin the second half with a doubleheader Friday against the first-place Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field.
While Abreu entered Sunday on a 13-game hitting streak, his first half offensive production took a step back from where it was in 2014, when he won American League Rookie of the Year honors with 36 home runs and a .964 OPS.
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Abreu has a .296 batting average and .835 OPS with 14 home runs, which certainly are solid — though not elite — numbers. Ventura attributed some of Abreu’s drop in production to that balky index finger.
“It’s been hit and miss, really,” Ventura said. “The power numbers haven’t been there. He’s had a couple issues, I think the hand is probably most of it. But he’s still able to grind out an at-bat, give you a tough at-bat, get a hit. Average-wise he’s in there, but power numbers can probably be attributed somewhat to that. He’s had hand stuff that we need to take care of in five days.”
The White Sox will enter the All-Star break having won either nine or 10 of their last 12 games, a run that’s shifted them closer to the periphery of the AL wild card race. Whatever momentum the team does possess will have to be restarted in five days, which isn’t ideal for a team playing well.
But Abreu’s extended rest period does represent a silver lining for the extended time off.
“You never want to not play when you're playing well,” Ventura said. “You know it's coming so prepare for it and be ready to go on Friday.”