With White Sox vice president Kenny Williams, general manager Rick Hahn and manager Robin Ventura watching from the top row of the dugout Wednesday, injured phenom Jose Abreu took live batting practice for the first time since going on the disabled list on May 18.
They were treated to an impressive show.
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Showing little or no discomfort from a sore left ankle, Abreu deposited several pitches from bench coach Mark Parent over the fence at U.S. Cellular Field, including a drive to left field that reached the concourse.
Abreu also moved well while fielding groundballs at first base, and it's looking like he'll be ready to come off the 15-day disabled list on time, Monday when the Sox open a three-game interleague series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
The White Sox have talked about Abreu going on a minor-league rehab assignment before being activated, but it sounds like that won't be necessary.
"We're going over that right now," Ventura said. "You're trying to see if you can get him the work here so he wouldn't have to go out. As of right now, there's not a plan for him to go out. He would stay here.
"I think (trainer) Herm (Schneider) wants him here just to watch him, and we'll figure out if we can get somebody here to simulate something to make him do it here instead of having to go play in a game."
Who's on first?
With Jose Abreu on the disabled list, Adam Dunn has been getting the bulk of playing time at first base, with Paul Konerko serving as the designated hitter.
Hampered by back stiffness throughout much of the 2013 season, Konerko was held out of the lineup Wednesday night and infielder Marcus Semien filled in at DH.
"You're seeing Paul playing, DHing and things like that, and his back stiffened up on him, and that's part of it," manager Robin Ventura said. "Just being able to go out there and do it. It would be one thing to do it every once in a while, but him DHing consistently since Jose has been on the shelf, it's been a different thing than we were all anticipating that role would be."
Scott Downs is the lone left-hander in the White Sox' bullpen, and the veteran has not fared well lately while allowing 3 runs on 4 hits over 1⅓ innings in his last three appearances.
"He's getting a lot of work, that's for sure," manager Robin Ventura said. "Downsie, he's game for it. That's part of the job. But we do have righties that do very well against lefties and that's part of the reason it still fits."
Heading into Wednesday, Zach Putnam (.200) and closer Ronal Belisario (.208) were faring the best against right-handed hitters.