Sore ankle lands Jose Abreu at DH

Written By BY SETH GRUEN Staff Reporter Posted: 05/09/2014, 10:52pm

These days, a sort of half-hearted injury might be considered good news for the Sox, even if it is to the team’s consensus best player and early favorite to win the American League Rookie of the Year award.

A day after first baseman Jose Abreu limped around U.S. Cellular Field in apparent pain, the future of the franchise says he’s fine.

Well, sort of.

Abreu is experiencing soreness in his left ankle, though it’s not in the same spot that gave him problems during spring training. Friday against the Diamondbacks, he was in the lineup as the designated hitter after being pulled in the ninth inning of Thursday’s 12-5 loss to the Cubs.

“[The injury] didn’t come out of the game,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “It was just one of those things. The game probably got out of hand and we wanted to give an at-bat to somebody else. I’m all for it.”

It can’t be all good news, though.

The right-handed hitting Abreu said that if the injury were in his right ankle, it would be easier to deal with. But because he said when he hits, he puts more weight on his left ankle — the front foot in his batting stance — the “soreness” has been noticeable.

This won’t be something to exclusively monitor in the short term.

Manager Robin Ventura said that Abreu has hit several balls off his ankle and isn’t comfortable wearing a protective brace, though he wore one Friday. It sounds as if this could become an issue that pops up every so often.

But as far as worsening his condition, which wasn’t the result of a single incident, Ventura said limiting Abreu to hitting Friday night was enough to help alleviate the soreness. Ventura doesn’t expect Abreu to spend extended time in the DH spot.

“He thinks he can play through it anyway, but at least we’re getting him off his feet for a period of time of just playing defense, moving around,” Ventura said.

“It’s not like he’s going to do something to rupture anything. It’s just sore. You’re trying to alleviate it and calm it down to where it just doesn’t continue for a long time.”

On Friday night, in a 9-3 victory against the Diamondbacks, Abreu went 3-for-4, scored twice and drove in two runs. He hit his major-league-leading 13th home run, a solo shot in the seventh.

As far as the team’s injuries go, Abreu’s ankle is among the most benign. A litany of injuries to hitters has challenged Ventura with scrapping together a lineup.

Before the season, a manager assumes he’ll have to maneuver the health of his pitching staff. Hitters are expected to be relied upon —making Abreu’s status a huge relief for Ventura.

“Player-wise you don’t necessarily think that way,” Ventura said. “You would imagine most everybody would get through a season, but every once in a while there are situations where it just happens and every other day something happens to somebody.”

NOTE: Robin Ventura joked that injured relief pitcher Nate Jones was walking around like he had back surgery. But for Jones, who reported no pain in the hip that was bothering him, the discectomy he had on Monday went as well as he could have hoped.

Jones underwent the procedure to alleviate a pinched nerve that was giving him hip pain. He said he could resume baseball activity as soon as a month from now and expects to pitch again this season.


Twitter: @SethGruen

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