White Sox slugger Jose Abreu fighting early-season slump

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Jose Abreu. (AP)

DETROIT — The White Sox offense has been the least of the team’s concerns, ranking in the middle of the pack in most categories among major league teams and homering in 15 of their first 17 games. Oddly enough, Silver Slugger first baseman Jose Abreu has not been a part of it.

Abreu went 0-for-5 in the White Sox’ 9-7 loss to the Tigers Thursday, dropping his average to .174.

“Just chasing pitches,’’ manager Rick Renteria said of the No. 3 hitter in his lineup. “Chasing balls out of the zone, not typical for him, breaking balls below the hitting zone. Trying to get him to change his eye level.’’

Abreu is 6-for-49 over his last 13 games and hasn’t homered in his last 11. He has three homers and three doubles this season and has missed out on opportunities to drive in runs — the Sox’ No. 1 and No. 2 hitters are batting .300/.333/.425 and .338/.386/.662, respectively.

In the Sox’ 5-4 loss to the Royals in 10 innings Wednesday, Abreu swung and missed badly on a 3-0 breaking pitch in the dirt, which says a lot about where he’s at right now.

“Trying to do too much probably,” Renteria. “Sees everybody chipping away and doing some things and trying to do what other guys are doing.”

Renteria has seen Abreu go through slumps before and doesn’t seem overly concerned.

“Pito just has to stay Pito, he’ll come out of it,” he said. “Get pitches up in the zone more he can manage, and do what he does.”

The Tigers would seem to be just what Abreu needs. He was a career .336/.399/.579 hitter with 23 doubles, 17 home runs and 57 RBI in 84 career games going into the four-game series which resumes Friday night.

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