White Sox slugger Jose Abreu ‘feeling better,’ hoping to return this season

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Chicago White Sox’s Jose Abreu during a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Fla. | Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

White Sox slugger Jose Abreu texted Cubs starting pitcher Jose Quintana before Friday’s Crosstown Showdown series opener at Guaranteed Rate Field and wished his former teammate well.

“Good luck today,” Abreu wrote in Spanish. “I know you’re doing great.”

Abreu had nothing but good things to say about the left-hander, referring to him as a warrior, a great teammate and a class act.

Truth be told, though, Abreu probably would have loved to be able to issue his friend a challenge via text that went more like this: “May the best man win.”

Abreu had played in 20 of the last 21 Sox-Cubs games heading into this weekend. In nine games on the South Side, he hit .412 with three home runs, three doubles and seven runs scored.

Yet the 31-year-old first baseman’s prospects for playing against the Cubs again this season appeared dim after his trip earlier in the week to a Cleveland hospital, where he was treated for an infection in his right thigh that stemmed from an ingrown hair. He missed all three games of the series against the Indians.

“I’m still a little sore,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “I’m feeling better. What the doctors did in Cleveland was outstanding. They took care of the situation. It was good. I have a lot to be glad for. I thank them a lot. All the people here have been very, very good with me. I’m just getting the treatment, taking pills and [getting] the process going.”

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Abreu had been back in action for only a week after a three-week stint on the disabled list because of emergency surgery to repair a testicular torsion issue.

That’s two pretty strange, completely unpredictable twists during what already was a challenging season with the rebuilding Sox.

“It’s absolutely [strange],” he said. “In life, sometimes things happen that you don’t have control of. In those moments, you realize the people who really care about you. You appreciate that. I’m not happy with the way the last few weeks have been, but it is what it is. I’m just glad everything is going to be all right.”

Are the Sox thinking about shutting Abreu down for the season? That would be a bitter pill to swallow for a player who was on the field for 145 games as American League Rookie of the Year in 2014 and ramped it up to 154, 159 and 156 games, respectively, the next three seasons.

Abreu famously is the only major-leaguer other than Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols to have at least 25 homers and at least 100 RBI in each of his first four seasons. He won’t get there in 2018 — in only 128 games, he’s at 22 and 78 — but he’d like to add to his totals.

More than that, he’d just like to be back.

“I think everybody knows I like to play,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if I’m in pain or not. I like to play. I like to be on the field.

“I’m a little sore right now, but at this moment we just have to wait to see the doctors, wait and see what they say about can I play or not play. I would like to help this team, as I always want. But at this moment, I can’t play right now. We’ll see what the doctors say. Once we have that analysis, we’ll [go] from there.”

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