José Abreu, unsurprisingly, wanted to be in the lineup Saturday.
That was nothing unusual, of course, as the White Sox first baseman loathes days off. But after he collided with Kansas City Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier in frightening fashion Friday, needing assistance walking off the field and suffering a bruised and cut face, as well as a bruised knee, it was a little ridiculous.
But White Sox manager Tony La Russa put his starting lineup on hold, anyway, while he waited for the team's trainers to medically clear Abreu to play.
They did. And a day after that frightening scene along the first-base line, Abreu was back in the White Sox starting lineup, batting cleanup and playing first base.
"Last night to today, he’s made a remarkable comeback, as far as the appearance," La Russa said before it was determined Abreu would be OK to play. "He’s moving around. He’s actually taking some swings. He’s insisting he’s good to play.
"If they give him an OK, he plays. If they say he should wait another day, he doesn’t. So they have certain protocols to look at.
"Last night, the concussion thing was OK. Now, it’s just the collision and getting back out there 24 hours later."
Abreu already cleared himself, though that came well before Saturday, with starting pitcher Lucas Giolito relaying that Abreu said he wanted to stay in the game right after the collision happened in the first half of Friday's doubleheader. La Russa said Abreu wanted to get into the second game, too, though the White Sox thought better of that request and decided to rest their most important hitter and clubhouse leader.
That Abreu returned to the White Sox lineup Saturday was incredible considering just how ugly the collision looked. La Russa said that the audio element of the collision was just as unpleasant as the visual one.
"I don’t think I’ve ever heard that kind of collision on a baseball field ever," La Russa said. "The fact that they are both going to come out of it without anything serious is really a stroke of good fortune. It was scary. Looked scary, sounded scary."
But time and again, Abreu has shown that he will sacrifice his body for this team. Good thing he's a fast healer, too. The White Sox needed him, especially after the collision left the clubhouse shaken, as La Russa said Friday night.
"The club is already boosted," La Russa said. "He’s walking around, and he’s like the bull that wants to get into the ring. He’s already given them inspiration. ... (Whether he was in the lineup or not), we already got the Pito boost."