Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has seen his production significantly increase this month. It also has resulted in him using his legs more often because of how frequently he has been on base.
Abreu had a night off Friday to rest his sore legs but the White Sox hope the first baseman will be in the lineup Saturday for the second game of the three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Manager Robin Ventura said the soreness began when Abreu felt some tightness during the end of Thursday's loss in Boston. Ventura said Abreu has soreness in the back of his right leg but then said the left leg was the one that really sore and it is likely related to him having a .382 on-base percentage this month.
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"He's a big guy," Ventura said. "That's part of the some of the stuff we've done the last couple of years is to get him a day here and there and in this one, he just needs it. He's been on base quite a bit and as sore as his leg feels, it also looks not to good, either."
Abreu began this month with a .237 average, and if he plays, the slugger will be looking to continue a hot streak that has seen him reach base in his last 20 games.
During this stretch, he Abreu is batting .333 with five home runs and 20 RBIs and it includes 10 multi-hit games. He also is batting .439 with two home runs and eight RBIs in his last 11 home games.
Even with his hot bat getting a breather, Abreu understood why Ventura rested him.
"If you're in a good or bad moment you always want to play but sometimes you also have to realize that the best thing you can do is just to take a break thinking of the future," Abreu said through an interpreter. "Because you don't want to push too hard and (then) something bad can happen. You have to understand that it's better sometimes to play it safe and take care of you then try to push so hard."
With Abreu watching from the dugout, the White Sox won for the fourth time in five games following last weekend's sweep in Cleveland.
Chicago's 3-2 win featured a home run by Melky Cabrera and two hits from Todd Frazier, who had been in a 3-for-37 skid. The win was secured when David Robertson struck out Edwin Encarnacion with the bases loaded.
"That felt good," Frazier said. "Squaring balls up. That's what I've been trying to do. Few and far between (this season). Seems the only ones I've been squaring up go over the wall, which is fine, but you've got to get those ones in between as you go through the year."
Toronto lost six straight games to the White Sox and four of its last five overall.
Kevin Pillar drove in both runs Friday, but Encarnacion went 0-for-5.
Despite his hitless night, Encarnarcion is batting .341 (15-for-44) in his last 12 games for an offense that has mustered 17 runs since Jose Bautista landed on the disabled list with turf toe.
"Obviously, Jose is a perennial all-star and is a big part of this team," Pillar said. "We miss having him, but we've been able to get by without him for some short periods of time, through is struggles this year, and we've been able to pick him up. The guy was good today. We faced some good pitchers in Baltimore. There's going to be an adjustment period. He's a guy we look forward to big hits (from) and big at bats and this ability to get on base. Other guys just have to step up."
Toronto will look to have productive at-bats against Chicago right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who has made 14 starts against them. Gonzalez is 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA in those starts and the first 13 came with the Baltimore Orioles before he allowed five runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings at Toronto on April 25.
R.A. Dickey will start for Toronto. Dickey is 4-8 with 4.08 ERA and all of those wins have been on the road where he is 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts. Dickey has dropped consecutive starts but also has pitched in 10 games where the Blue Jays have scored three runs or less, including last Saturday's 4-2 loss in Baltimore when he allowed two earned runs and seven hits in six innings.