With Abreu in middle of lineup, White Sox offense stays healthy
Thanks to the surprisingly solid efforts from veteran bench players Billy Hamilton and Jake Lamb, and steady production from recent first-round draft picks Nick Madrigal (2018), Andrew Vaughn (2019) and Zack Collins (2016), the White Sox's offense has eased the sting of losing Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert to injuries.
"The guys we have right now have done a great job," Jose Abreu said through a translator Wednesday before the Sox were rained out at Cleveland. "The coaching staff has done a great job in helping them help us as a unit, as a whole team. We've done what we are supposed to do, do our job and do our best every day.
"Hopefully, we are going to sustain that until Eloy and Robert join us in the future. That's a good sign."
Jimenez (ruptured left pectoral tendon) and Robert (torn right hip flexor) aren't expected back before August, so the White Sox will have to continue making do until the two potent bats return.
Having Abreu in the middle of the lineup certainly helps that cause.
After leading the American League in RBI in each of the last two seasons, Abreu had the most RBI (46) in the majors leagues heading into Wednesday's play.
Injuries have been prevalent this season, and the Sox know they're fortunate Abreu didn't join Jimenez and Robert on the IL last month.
During Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Royals May 14, Abreu collided with Hunter Dozier and went down hard.
The AL's reigning MVP grudgingly sat out Game 2 with a sore left knee and facial lacerations, but he was back the next day and looked physically fit while hitting a home run.
The next day, Abreu scored the winning run in the ninth inning on a wild pitch from Kansas City's Wade Davis, but he injured his left ankle on the slide at home.
The White Sox flew to Minnesota after beating the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field. When they landed, Abreu admitted he couldn't walk and the intense pain landed him in a Minneapolis emergency room.
Fortunately, the injury wasn't serious and Abreu missed only three games.
He's been back doing damage ever since and was named Player of the Week for May 24 to 30 after batting .375 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 10 RBI.
The 34-year-old first baseman is like a machine when it comes to driving in runs. Abreu had a rare fail in Tuesday night's 6-5 loss at Cleveland, coming up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning and grounding out.
"My mindset in those at-bats is easy, just try to produce," Abreu said. "Since I was in Cuba, I learned if you're third, fourth or fifth in the batting order you have to produce, and you have to produce in those moments.
"I couldn't get it done, but those are the moments that I like because those are the moments that I'm ready for. I'm the MVP, and I know that those moments are going to get to me and I have to produce."
• The White Sox and Indians will make up Wednesday's rainout at Progressive Field in Cleveland Sept. 23 as part of a split doubleheader.
• Liam Hendriks was named American League Reliever of the Month for May.
The Sox's closer didn't allow an earned run over 11⅔ innings and was 8-for-8 in save opportunities.
• The Associated Press reported two White Sox minor-league pitchers, Sal Biasi at high Class A Winston-Salem and Marcus Evey at low A Kannapolis, were each hit with 10-game suspensions for using illegal substances to doctor baseballs.