White Sox

White Sox: Healthy Jose Abreu producing at 2014 levels again


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.”

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

White Sox prospect Luis Robert headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more playing time after injuries limited to 50 games in 2018.

He just got hurt in the Arizona Fall League.

Robert is playing with the Glendale Desert Dogs in the AFL and left Friday's game with an injury.

It's not clear what the injury was, but Robert walked off on his own power. He also has pulled out of the Bowman Hitting Challenge (a modified home run derby) that will take place Saturday.

Robert, the No. 4 White Sox prospect and No. 44 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was 1-for-3 in Friday's game before exiting. He has hit safely in all four games in the AFL, going 5-for-17 (.294) with a walk and three strikeouts, but no extra base hits.

The 21-year-old is the third youngest player on the team and the AFL is a respected offseason league for prospects. A good showing from Robert would be a sign that he is beginning to develop his talent into playable tools.

The injury could be minor so no need to ring the alarm bells yet, but the AFL season is barely more than a month long. Even a short-term injury could prevent him from making up for some of the lost playing time from the 2018 minor league season.

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?


Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

The White Sox have a hole or two to plug in their starting rotation. Could Sonny Gray be an answer?

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday that he's looking to trade Gray away from the Bronx this winter.

Gray isn't as attractive an add as he was a few years back, when he was coming off a sensational 2015 campaign that saw him post a 2.73 ERA and log 208 innings. He went to the All-Star Game and finished third in the AL Cy Young vote that year.

Since, he's been less successful. He made just 22 starts with the Oakland Athletics in 2016 and had a 5.69 ERA. The following season, he started with a strong 3.43 ERA in 16 starts for the A's before the midseason trade that sent him to the Yankees, where he made 11 starts with a 3.72 ERA. This season didn't go too well, earning Gray a move to the bullpen. He finished with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games, only 23 of those being starts. He threw just 29.1 innings over his final 10 appearances of the season, three of which were starts. He had a 5.26 ERA with 50 walks in 113 innings as a starter in 2018.

Those numbers won't leap off the page (in a positive way) for anyone, but there's no doubt that a potential deal for Gray would be a low-risk move for the White Sox. For a team looking to add 40 percent of a starting rotation, being able to do so cheaply — be it from a dollar or prospect standpoint — would be a good thing, especially if the strategy ends up being to simply add one-year fill-ins while Michael Kopech recovers from Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease makes his way to the major leagues.

However, Gray's 57-walk total from the 2018 season could be something the White Sox would want to stay away from. After all, White Sox pitchers led the AL with 653 walks this season. They also had five of the top 21 walk-issuing pitchers in the Junior Circuit: Lucas Giolito led the league with 90, James Shields was third with 78, Reynaldo Lopez was fifth with 75, Hector Santiago was 15th with 60, and Carlos Rodon was 21st with 55. Gray slotted in right ahead of Rodon.

But Gray has obviously produced results in the past, and whether the White Sox are looking to simply plug the holes in the 2019 staff or potentially find a sign-and-flip candidate for the 2019 trade deadline — he's slated to hit free agency after the 2019 season — Gray could fit that bill. One thing's for sure: He's available.