MINNEAPOLIS – Broadcaster Ken Harrelson celebrates his 75th birthday Sunday and despite a recent setback caused by a minor heart issue, he says he’s eager to continue on his same schedule calling TV games for the White Sox next season.
“I feel good,’’ Harrelson said. “I just wish we had one a couple more ballgames.”
Harrelson laughed when he said that, but Sox losses are no laughing matter to him, even in his 32nd season with the franchise. Harrelson takes every Sox game as seriously as he did when he played the game.
Ask “How are you, Hawk?” before any Sox game and you’ll get the same answer every time: “I’ll let you know in about three hours.”
As for his health, Harrelson says he’s well after he was treated for atrial fibrillation, a type of heart arrhythmia, last month. He feels good enough to have two golf days planned Monday and Tuesday before seeing his doctor Wednesday. After the season, doctors will perform a catheter ablation in an attempt to cure the irregular heartbeat.
Harrelson cut back on his schedule this season, working road games and only a handful of games from U.S. Cellular Field.
“As far as my schedule goes, I loved the season as far as it went,’’ he said. “And I’m going to do the same thing next, just the road games. And hopefully Steve [Stone] and I will have more fun [with more wins] next year.’’
Abreu chasing Frank
Jose Abreu needed to reach base Saturday to extend his on-base streak to 30 games. The last Sox to do that was Hall of Famer Framer Frank Thomas, who ran off a streak of 35 games in 1997.
Abreu downplayed the notion his resurgence was directly tied to having his 5-year-old son come over for a while from Cuba, even though the timing may have suggested as much. He says his exceptional August performance stems from an adjustment at the plate.
“His presence was huge for me from my offensive standpoint,’”’ he said through translator Billy Russo. “But I don’t want people to think because I wasn’t with him I wasn’t performing well. It’s not his fault. That’s not why I couldn’t perform my best. It’s baseball.’’
That said, “having [Dariel] here was important for me. It was a little extra motivation.’’
Abreu, on the parallel between his poor first half and the team’s: “I don’t think that there is pressure; I think there is motivation. When the people have bad thoughts about you, that’s good because that means you are held in high consideration by them [because of high expectations]. But I don’t think I feel pressure because of that.’’
This and that
Tyler Saladino, who played second base Friday with Carlos Sanchez playing shortstop, was out of the lineup Saturday with a slightly jammed right shoulder. Tim Anderson (bruised right calf) returned to the lineup at shortstop after missing one and a half games.
*Adam Eaton and Brian Dozier both homered leading off the first, the fourth time both leadoff men homered in a major league game this season.
*Likely starters for the home series against the Tigers next week: Chris Sale Monday, Miguel Gonzalez Tuesday, Jose Quintana Wednesday.