HOUSTON – Jose Abreu was out of the lineup a second day Sunday but said his right index finger felt “much better” thanks to two days of treatment.
“I think with [Monday] off and one more day of treatment I will be ready to play in Texas,’’ the White Sox first baseman said Sunday.
The Sox are off Monday before concluding an 11-game, four-city road trip with three games against the Texas Rangers starting Tuesday.
Without Abreu the Sox scored six runs, an output they have topped only seven times all season, but they know the sooner he’s back the better.
“Lineup wise you get a guy batting third who does a lot of damage, you definitely have a different mindset,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “Guys know they need to step up, and you need to fill in. Not do more but make it effective when you’re in there.’’
Adam LaRoche played first base and homered and Conor Gillaspie was 2-for-4 with two RBI as the DH.
Abreu wasn’t available to pinch hit.
“You need that swelling to get out of there so you can get some movement in that finger,’’ Ventura said.
Abreu has played through sore ankles in feet in the past, but this is different.
“I don’t like to be on the bench, that’s for sure,’’ Abreu said through an interpreter. “I come here every day trying to help the team win and when you’re on the bench and see your teammates playing and you’re unable to help them, it’s frustrating.’’
The catching situation
Tyler Flowers was back behind the plate after going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts Friday and sitting out Saturday’s game. He drove in the first run with a two-out single to the shortstop side of second and finished 1-for-4.
“He’s just pulling off [the ball],’’ Ventura said. “A lot of it is making sure you stay through the middle and just trying to make contact. It’s stuff we’re working on. You have to find something to make him confident in what he’s doing when he goes up there.’’
Catcher Geovany Soto (.209, two homers, nine RBI) hasn’t supplied an abundance of offense, either, but he had the game-winning RBIs in the first game of the Astros series Friday. Flowers is considered the No. 1 but Ventura likes the way Soto handles the pitchers, too.
Flowers started his 30th game Sunday. Pitchers own a 4.52 ERA with Flowers catching, and he has thrown out 2-of-22 base stealers (9.1 percent). Soto, who has made eight starts catching Jeff Samardzija, has made 18 starts overall and has caught Sox pitchers to a 3.82 ERA while throwing out 16.7 percent of base stealers (2-of-12).
“At this point you’re trying to keep them all fresh and we’ll see where we go along where that goes,’’ he said. When [Flowers] is swinging it well he gives us a [home run] threat but right now it hasn’t been that way for him. Don’t know if either guy is super hot. If one guy gets a hit you consider him hot.’’
Walk this May
LaRoche led the AL in walks in May with 23. For a team that doesn’t walk much, that’s not a bad thing. But it’s not necessarily a good thing, either, LaRoche said.
“That might be a direct reflection of missing a lot of pitches I should be hitting,’’ LaRoche said. “You foul off enough pitches, and luckily go deep in some counts and draw some walks. I’m not against walking at all but I don’t like missing good pitches to hit, especially in hitters counts. Start squaring up the ball a little more.’’