Renteria says Minaya is White Sox’ ‘little diamond in the rough’

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Juan Minaya delivers against the Texas Rangers during the ninth inning Friday in Arlington, Texas. (AP)

This is what happens when the general manager empties out your bullpen: Juan Minaya becomes the closer.

And wouldn’t you know it, it’s so far, so good with the 26-year-old Dominican right-hander who converted on all three of his save opportunities going into the Sox’ game Tuesday against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“It’s a good opportunity I’ve never had before, so I’m going to work hard and take advantage,’’ said Minaya, who has a 4.50 ERA in 27 relief appearances.

Minaya, who saved eight games for the Astros’ Class A Quad Cities team in 2013, wants to approach the ninth like the seventh or eighth and just make good pitches, but there’s no getting around “that it’s not the same.’’

“It’s a little bit of pressure, but we’re fine with it,’’ he said. “I like it.’’

Minaya hasn’t been perfect. He gave up a two-run homer to the Rangers’ Rougned Odor on Sunday in Texas, protecting a 3-0 lead, but still came away with the save.

Manager Rick Renteria called Minaya, a September 2016 waiver claim from the Astros, a detailed, hard worker.

“So far, he’s been kind of our little diamond in the rough,’’ Renteria said.

Since the All-Star break, general manager Rick Hahn has traded closer David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak, Tyler Clippard and Dan Jennings from the bullpen. Nate Jones and Zach Putnam are out for the season with elbow injuries.

Davidson out on assignment

Matt Davidson, who hasn’t played since the Jays’ Marcus Stroman hit him on the right wrist with a pitch Aug. 1, took infield practice and packed his bags to join Class AAA Charlotte for a rehab assignment.

Davidson will need more than a couple of days, Renteria said.

“Make sure that he’s feeling completely sound before he returns,’’ Renteria said.

Davidson was batting .238 with a team-high 22 homers and 51 RBI when he went on the disabled list seven days after getting hit.

Nick’s quick six

When Nicky Delmonico homered in Game 2 of the doubleheader Monday against the Twins, he got to six homers in 19 games, faster than any Sox player in club history.

Jose Abreu (21) is next on that list, followed by Zeke Bonura (22) from the 1950s and Magglio Ordonez (32). Delmonico reached base in 18 of his first 19 games, including a franchise-record 13 in a row to start his career.

Four 25s and counting for Abreu

Abreu is the first Sox player and 10th major-leaguer to begin his career with four seasons of at least 25 home runs. Abreu entered Tuesday needing 23 RBI to begin his career with four seasons of at least 25 homers and 100 RBI — he would join Joe DiMaggio (1936-41) and Albert Pujols (2001-10).

Abreu is on pace for career highs in doubles, extra-base hits and runs.

Fulmer, the day after

Renteria on Carson Fulmer’s 1„-inning start Monday in which he gave up two three-run homers: “It will impact him with an awareness. He’ll recognize there are certain things you have to do to be effective at the major-league level. He knows he has the skill.’’

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.



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