By Toni Ginnetti — For the Sun-Times
Adam Eaton’s move from center field to right has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise frustrating season for the White Sox.
He leads all major league outfielders with 17 assists and also leads the majors with 22 defensive runs saved.
If he continued on his current pace, Eaton would record the most outfield assists for a Sox outfielder since 1924 when Bibb Falk had 26.
He entered the season with a career total of 25 assists.
Eaton’s sometimes-unbridled play in center was a concern at times, but he has become fluid in right while still be aggressive.
“I think he just gets better jumps,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “There’s something about being able to use your arms, strength and things like that. I don’t know if it’s the fearlessness of going into a corner [rather than] going back on a wall or going over the stands. He just seems to have a little big more of that in right field where he can get to a ball, stop and be able to turn around [and have] better throws to home angle-wise.’’
SON SHINES BRIGHT
Jose Abreu is frank in admitting his recent rebound from a slumping stretch has much to do with the arrival of his son Dariel, 5, from Cuba 10 days ago.
“One hundred percent,’’ he said Sunday before homering in his second consecutive game. “You don’t have to be concerned about anything else because your child is here, your family is here and you feel complete.’’
Abreu had been separated from his son and family since he left Cuba in 2013. They were reunited for the first time early this year when Abreu was part of MLB’s good will tour to Cuba.
But this is the first time his child has been with him and seen him play professionally.
“He has more pep in his step. You can see it,’’ Ventura said. “I know he’s feeling better as a person.’’
Dariel doesn’t know the game well yet, but asks his dad to hit home runs.
“He was very happy when I did [Saturday],’’ Abreu said. “I was glad to give him that joy.’’
Abreu didn’t hit a home run from June 25 to Aug. 3 and then went without his next one for ten games until Saturday.
He homered again leading the fourth on Sunday. He has 16 this season after hitting 30 last season and 36 in his first season with the Sox.
Abreu said his son has been content to be home and play with his IPad when not attending a game.
“What it means to have your son with you after not having him is something I can’t describe,’’ he added.
Brett Lawrie, who has been out since July 22 with a strained left hamstring, had a setback in his rehab and will undergo another evaluation Monday.
He played only four innings of a rehab game Saturday with Class AA Birmingham, going 0-for-2.
“He’s going to have to play a full game to be able to get back here,’’ Ventura said. “All our [rehabbing] guys will have to. You’re going to have to be able to get through it a few times to feel like you can come back here and get off the DL.’’
Avisail Garcia (sprained right knee) had a better debut, going 1-for-4 as the designated hitter Saturday for Class AAA Charlotte.