Keeping Jose Abreu out of the lineup for three days was an easy decision for White Sox manager Rick Renteria, who wanted to protect his All-Star first baseman from aggravating a strained right elbow.
Putting him back in the lineup Sunday was an easy decision, as well — not because of Abreu’s persistent pleas, but because he showed in workouts he was ready.
“That desire [to play] is commendable, but it wouldn’t have been wise on our part,” Renteria said of keeping Abreu out until Sunday.
Renteria used Abreu as the DH to ease stress on the elbow.
Having him in the lineup again was stress relief for the team.
“We need his bat,” Tim Anderson said. “We feed off him.”
Renteria has watched Abreu firsthand only since last season, but he sees a player performing at his best.
“He’s turned himself into a good first baseman, as well as hitting,” Renteria said. “His overall game seems to be shining.”
Abreu is on pace to set career highs in extra-base hits, total bases and hits. His 36 doubles already are a career high.
He leads the team with 27 home runs and 82 RBI while hitting .301. He hit a two-out, two-run homer in the third inning.
“I just want to help this team win games,” he said. “It’s difficult for me to be on the bench. I’m here to play and to help this team.
“I appreciate Ricky. He said no [to playing] because he has to take care of me. He was doing his job. He’s a very special person.”
Abreu had another reason for pushing to return to play.
“My mom isn’t happy when I’m not playing,” he said.
The expanded roster will give some young starting pitchers a chance this month.
“Multiple guys could get some starts,” Renteria said.
Carson Fulmer, who was credited with the victory Saturday in relief, is among them. So is David Holmberg, who’s expected to get the call Tuesday against the Indians.
The Sox have a rotation spot open after trading Miguel Gonzalez to the Rangers last week.
Infielder Tyler Saladino was scratched from the lineup after bruising his left hand on a slide Saturday. It isn’t considered serious.
Top prospects Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech will visit Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The Sox are planning sessions with the media for both.
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