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.
“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.”