Abreu, Alonso OK with sharing DH duties for Chicago White Sox

 
 
Updated 3/13/2019 8:37 PM
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  • FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017 file photo, Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) is congratulated in the dugout after scoring a run against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning of a baseball game in Detroit. White Sox slugger Jose Abreu will miss Chicago's three-game series against the Cleveland Indians because of an infection in his right thigh. Manager Rick Renteria says Abreu had the infection "cleaned up" at a hospital in Cleveland. He says the team will provide an update on Abreu on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018

    FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017 file photo, Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) is congratulated in the dugout after scoring a run against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning of a baseball game in Detroit. White Sox slugger Jose Abreu will miss Chicago's three-game series against the Cleveland Indians because of an infection in his right thigh. Manager Rick Renteria says Abreu had the infection "cleaned up" at a hospital in Cleveland. He says the team will provide an update on Abreu on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018

Daniel Palka is perfectly suited to be a designated hitter.

With a thunderous left-handed bat, Palka came from out of nowhere last season and had 27 home runs. That was the third-highest total for a rookie in White Sox history, and Palka also had 67 RBI, which ranked third among American League rookies.

Palka tied for the major-league lead with 6 homers in the ninth inning, so he also checked the clutch box.

Defensively, Palka was a liability as a corner outfielder, especially in right.

That leaves DH as the obvious option, but Palka is going to have to try to improve his defensive play due to the presence of Jose Abreu and newcomer Yonder Alonso.

Abreu has been the Sox's regular first baseman the past five seasons, but he will share the spot with Alonso this year.

When Abreu is playing first, Alonso is the likely DH. When Alonso is playing first, Abreu is the likely DH.

"We're countrymen," Abreu said through a translator. "We're from Cuba, we share that heritage. I've known him a long time and we're on the same page, just here trying to help this team in whatever capacity they ask of us."

In nine seasons (Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians), Alonso has played 879 games, and 847 of them have been at first base. He only has been designated hitter in seven games (three starts).

"If (Abreu) had his preference he'd play 162 games per year, all of them at first base," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn. "Ultimately, as he's gotten older and he's seen the 7½-month or longer grind as part of being a big-leaguer, he knows there's benefit to being off his feet and pacing himself so he can be strong and continue to be the powerful offensive force that he is at the big-league level."

Palka might be the Sox's starter in right or left field when the season starts in two weeks at Kansas City, and he also figures to be a factor off the bench.

Leury Garcia is manager Rick Renteria's most versatile player who's not a regular starter. Last year with the White Sox, Garcia played 40 games in left field, 26 in center and 16 in right. He also played seven games at second base, five at shortstop and one at third base.

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