White Sox

White Sox: Jose Abreu doesn't want to jinx healthy finger

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White Sox: Jose Abreu doesn't want to jinx healthy finger

CLEVELAND -- He doesn’t want to discuss it for fear of a jinx, but several days of hard contact would suggest Jose Abreu’s finger is fine.

Abreu ended a stretch of 68 straight plate appearances in between home runs when he reached the left-field bleachers in Friday’s win with a solo homer off Cleveland’s Corey Kluber. The White Sox first baseman hadn’t homered since July 3, a blast that gave him 50 in his career. Almost two months removed from a stretch in which his finger kept him out of the field (May 30-June 7), Abreu contends he’s feeling good.

[MORE: White Sox prepared for potential Jeff Samardzija trade]

“He looks healthy, he looks good at the plate right now and he understands what he means to the lineup,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Again, you’re talking about guys who are pros and go about their business the right way, Josie does that.”

Abreu has hit a ton with runners in scoring position this season.

Through Saturday’s first inning, when he singled in two runs, Abreu was hitting .352/.459/.563 with four home runs and 35 RBIs in 85 plate appearances with men in scoring position.

But overall, Abreu’s power numbers are down as he’s on pace to hit 25 homers after he crushed a franchise-rookie record 36 in 2014.

While some have speculated the injury has lingered, it also could be the added pressure to perform Abreu has applied to himself with the White Sox offense in shambles. Abreu said he considers his status and looks at himself as the team’s run producer.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“That is a responsibility that each player has to have because we are a team and every individual has to perform his best,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “Me in particular, yes, when the team hasn’t performed well, I’m trying to do my best in any moment because of my contract, because of my situation, because I know the people look at me as a leader on the offense, and I always try to respond to that responsibility. In that way, yes, I try to put more pressure on me because I feel the necessity to show up in that moment.”

As for the pressure he can apply to the bat handle, Abreu insists it’s not the issue. And if you don’t mind, he doesn’t want to spend too much time discussing it.

“Everything is good,” Abreu said. “It’s better not to talk about that. Everything is good.”

Michael Kopech undergoes successful Tommy John surgery, on track for 2020 return

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USA TODAY

Michael Kopech undergoes successful Tommy John surgery, on track for 2020 return

Michael Kopech's Tommy John surgery was a success.

The White Sox announced Wednesday that Kopech underwent the procedure Tuesday to address the significant tear in his UCL and that he is on track to return for spring training ahead of the 2020 season.

This was the expected outcome when the team announced Kopech's injury two days after he made his fourth major league start. But the news that day sent a shockwave through the fan base, one of the brightest young stars of the rebuild slated to miss a full season as he recovers from this significant injury.

The White Sox said then that Kopech would likely be ready to go for spring 2020, a season many fans and observers have circled as one where the franchise could shift from rebuilding mode into contention mode. Of course, the delaying of Kopech's first full big league season — and the valuable development that comes with that — throws into question what kind of contributor he can be should the rest of the team be ready to win. Similarly, does the delayed developmental time for Kopech and the host of other prospects who suffered significant injuries this year shift the timeline of the entire rebuilding effort?

Those questions won't be able to be answered until Kopech and the rest get back on the field.

The completed surgery brings with it the same projection from 12 days ago, that Kopech should be ready to go by spring 2020. As we wait for that date, the rebuild will progress without him. What will the puzzle and his place in it look like by then? Just another element of the waiting game on the South Side.

Jose Quintana's first start against the White Sox will come Friday

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USA TODAY

Jose Quintana's first start against the White Sox will come Friday

Well, the opening game of this weekend's Crosstown series on the South Side just got a lot more interesting.

The Cubs are juggling their rotation a bit as they head toward the postseason, and in doing so, Jose Quintana is now scheduled to pitch against his former club Friday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. It will be the first time he's faced the South Siders since last summer's trade that sent him to the other side of town.

Rick Hahn's front office shipped Quintana to the North Side in exchange for a package that included Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease. The trade initially looked like a winner for both teams, with the Cubs in win-now mode and the White Sox in rebuilding mode. It's looking even better for both sides at the moment.

Quintana has been on fire of late, with a 2.10 ERA in his last six starts. Meanwhile, Jimenez and Cease are arguably the two best prospects in the White Sox loaded farm system. Jimenez is ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the game after a big season swinging the bat, and Cease was the organization's best minor league pitcher this season, both guys sparking big expectations for the team's bright future.

While the Cubs have to be confident in Quintana with how well he's pitched of late, he's returning to a ballpark where pitching well didn't always end in wins. He infamously received an unbelievably small amount of run support during his otherwise terrific tenure on the South Side and posted just a 22-27 record in his 84 games (all but two of which were starts) at Guaranteed Rate Field. Of course, the win-loss record doesn't reflect the 3.59 ERA he posted there in a White Sox uniform.

Quintana will almost surely get a nice ovation from White Sox fans, who treated also-traded starting pitcher Chris Sale well in his return to the South Side last season, but this Crosstown series could have a little more meaning than most. The Cubs remain in a tight division battle with the Milwaukee Brewers, meaning the White Sox have an opportunity to play spoiler. And while Quintana won't be trying to strike out Jimenez or battling against Cease, his former club could have an opportunity to pour some rain on the Cubs' late-season parade.