Power outage? Abreu hasn't homered in last 17 games

The temperature hovered in the low 50s Thursday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field, and Oakland left-hander Scott Kazmir has been one of the best starting pitchers in the American League this season.

Given the weather conditions and mound opponent, you can't blame Jose Abreu for not hitting a home run.

But it is somewhat shocking the White Sox' rookie slugger hasn't cleared the fences since Aug. 22. And after hitting 29 home runs in the first half of the season, Abreu only has 4 since the all-star break.

Abreu said he often went through home run droughts when he was playing in his native Cuba. He's now in a lengthy one in the major leagues.

“I don't know,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said when asked why Abreu's power has disappeared. “I think becoming a better hitter of just learning how to stay inside it, there can be a point where he combines both of them and that becomes a possibility, too. Now you're just taking the fact that he's giving you a good at-bat, he's raising his average, I'll take my chances with him still being able to have the power.”

Fatigue and health are two logical reasons Abreu is still stuck on 33 home runs for the season.

In Cuba, he never had more than 312 at-bats in a season. This year, Abreu has 505 at-bats with the White Sox.

Abreu has also been hobbled by a sore left ankle for much of the season, but the first baseman continues to play.

“I don't see him backing off,” Ventura said. “Most guys, when they're tired they don't want to do anything. He hasn't been doing that. He still comes and works out and does his running. Part of being a long season, you're going to go through little spurts where you don't swing it that well. He's had spurts like that but what he's hitting, he's made a big comeback average-wise, not necessarily with the power.

“He hit a double the other night. You're seeing those things there. It's just he's probably running up against pretty good pitchers and sometimes that catches up with you.”

Abreu has also been stuck on 99 RBI since Aug. 31.

Remembering 9/11:

White Sox manager Robin Ventura will never forget the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

Ventura was playing for the New York Mets that year, and he still remembers how getting back to playing baseball helped heal the nation.

“You didn't realize how important it was to get back and play, not necessarily for yourself but for everybody else,” Ventura said. “You went through a period of time where you didn't know if it was OK to smile or laugh or do anything like that. To be able to go back and play and have people come to the game, that was their outlet.”

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