MINNEAPOLIS – Jose Abreu leads by example with the best of them. He performs at a high level, works at his craft, plays to win and is highly respected by teammates.
But the Cuban slugger, in his second season in the majors, isn’t quite ready to be a vocal leader because his English is very limited.
“Since this [team struggle] started I have wanted to say something to the guys to motivate them but sometimes I don’t know how they would take it,’’ Abreu said through an interpreter Tuesday. “I don’t speak English. Sometimes you feel like you have to say something to motivate the guys to change the momentum.
“Sometimes I feel a little shy to express my feelings about what I think.’’
The Sox had lost nine of 11 games through Monday and are desperate to put together a long winning streak. Now seems like a time for a voice to rally the troops.
“I want to say many things,’’ Abreu said. “But I know where my position is [a leader by example] on the team and I always try to respect my teammates. But yes, there are many things we are doing in the wrong way. But I don’t want to say anything because I don’t know how they would take it. To me the team is first.’’
About one third of the Sox roster speak Spanish or Spanish and English. Abreu is hopeful his English will come around.
“Sometimes I feel I can help an individual with advice, try to change something that probably is being done the wrong way,’’ he said. “It’s a work in progress.’’
Run him out there
Manager Robin Ventura was asked if he considered giving Alexei Ramirez, who has struggled at the plate and in the field, a day off after his bad throw cost the Sox a double play in a four-run inning.
Ramirez, an iron man during his career, has missed one game this season.
“There are times when you do give him that day, and I don’t think this is that time,’’ said Ventura, noting that Ramirez has often bounced back with a good game during his career.
Besides, the roster is full of 2015 under-performers.
“We have a lot of those,’’ Ventura said. “I’m not going to sit here and put it on him. He wants to play better. We want him to play better. But there’s a lot of other guys that need to do the same thing. There’s plenty to go around.’’
Ventura, who has made only minor changes in the lineup, said he considered moving Abreu up to second but doesn’t want to take away a first-inning RBI situation from his best hitter.
This and that
Right-hander Carson Fulmer, drafted eighth by the Sox on June 8, pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts in his last collegiate start Monday, lifting Vanderbilt to a 5-1 victory over Virginia in the first game of the College World Series championship series. Fulmer will be eligible to sign after the CWS. He went 14-2 with a 1.83 ERA and 167 strikeouts over 127 2/3 innings.
*Matt Albers (finger surgery) pitched a simulated game and will start a AAA rehab stint Wednesday.