One by one, White Sox players and coaches stopped by the batting cage to greet Melky Cabrera.
Infielder Yolmer Sanchez, ever the class clown, drew a fast laugh from his former teammate. Right fielder Avisail Garcia came in for a big bear hug. Manager Rick Renteria grinned as he made the trek from the Sox’ dugout.
‘‘Since I’ve known him here on this club and what he’s brought to the club, it’s always going to be a little different watching him on somebody else’s team,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘But when the game starts, he’s the adversary.’’
Cabrera returned to the South Side for the first time since the Sox dealt him to the Royals on July 30 for minor-league pitchers A.J. Puckett and Andre Davis. He started in right and batted fourth.
The return prompted fond feelings for Cabrera, who tipped his helmet to the crowd when he got a standing ovation before his at-bat in the first inning. Between innings, the Sox played a video tribute to him on the scoreboard.
‘‘I’m just thankful for their support,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. ‘‘I came here every day to play hard, to do my best for the team. I think that’s part of why they are supporting me and part of why I am one of their favorites.’’
Cabrera has shined since joining the Royals. Through Friday, he is hitting .319 with four doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI in 12 games with them.
His old teammates on the Sox are happy for his success.
‘‘Literally got along with everybody,’’ reliever Chris Beck said. ‘‘It didn’t matter. You just walked in the locker room? You’ve been here all year? He treated you the same. He wasn’t the most vocal leader, but he led the right way.’’
Take a break
Garcia was held out of the starting lineup three nights after returning from the disabled list because of a strained ligament in his right thumb.
Renteria said Garcia mentioned that his legs felt tired during the Sox’ extra-inning victory Thursday against the Astros.
‘‘He had gone 11 or 12 days without actually playing, and I inserted him [three] days in a row, and his legs started fatiguing a little bit,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘Instead of putting him in harm’s way, we decided to give him a day off.’’
Leury Garcia started in Avisail Garcia’s place. He batted sixth and played right.
This and that
Left-hander David Holmberg was sent to Class AAA Charlotte to clear a spot on the 25-man roster for right-hander Reynaldo Lopez. Holmberg is 2-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 33 appearances (six starts) with the Sox.
• The Sox acquired minor-league right-hander Ryan Burr from the Diamondbacks for international-signing bonus-pool money. Burr was 2-2 with a 1.89 ERA in 39 appearances for Class A Kane County and Class A Visalia. He has 75 strikeouts in 57 innings.
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