PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jose Abreu has always had soft hands over at first base.
Now, he wants to use them to improve his ability to scoop throws out of the dirt.
The White Sox first baseman grabbed yet another one-hopper at the bag to secure an out on Friday, one of several he’s managed to wrangle this spring.
Shortstop Tyler Saladino remembers thinking “Oooh, that’s a tough one,” when he released the throw from deep in the hole. But Abreu stayed with it and hauled in another tough play to bail out his teammate.
“I’ve been working a little bit on that because in the beginning I was good, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with my work,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “Now, I feel very, very good. I’m much more confident.”
Abreu -- who had two hits in a 5-4 loss to Seattle Mariners -- said his only practice has come from taking extra grounders and working on how he handles throws in morning workouts.
While White Sox manager Robin Ventura won’t divulge how he plans to split playing time between Saladino and Jimmy Rollins, he won’t commit to the veteran as an everyday starter. Rollins is expected to win the starting job. But Saladino should see a fair amount of time.
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“Especially with age and things like that, there will be definite periods when (Rollins is) going to need a rest,” Ventura said. “He’s better when he’s fresher. You can tell even out here, you get three in a row, the crispness that comes back with a day off. That’s just father time. It has nothing to do with his mindset or anything else. It’s just, there comes a time when guys get to that point where it’s better to get rest to become more effective when you’re in there.”
Rollins is hitting .324/.333/.649 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 37 at-bats this season. Saladino is hitting .258/.324/.645 with three homers and eight RBIs in 31 at-bats.