ANAHEIM, Calif. — Asked about passing Robin Ventura on the White Sox’ all-time home-run list, Jose Abreu raised an eyebrow and murmured in surprise.
The two home runs Abreu hit Thursday against the Angels were a feat, but this was far bigger to Abreu. Told that the only names ahead of him on the Sox’ homer list are Magglio Ordonez, Carlton Fisk, Harold Baines, Paul Konerko and Frank Thomas, his wonder only grew.
“It is a huge honor for me to be named with those names in the list,” he said through an interpreter. “I didn’t know about passing Robin. I had a chance to play for him, and he was an outstanding manager, a great person, and knowing that it is even more special.”
Abreu, with 25 home runs and 89 RBI entering Friday, is closing in on his fifth 25-100 season with the Sox in six years. Fourth in the American League in RBI, he was just four behind the Angels’ Mike Trout before the teams played Friday night. Trout was second in the AL behind the Red Sox’s Rafael Devers (94).
Abreu is currently on one of his better runs of the season. He hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games entering Friday and was .377 with four home runs and 15 RBI in that stretch. Over those 15 games, his batting average went from .263 to .278.
“It’s just the work that I have been putting in every day,” he said. “I have been keeping confident in myself, and at the end of the day, if you keep believing in yourself and you keep working, you’re going to see the results.”
Left-hander Aaron Bummer has started only one game as a professional (at Class AA Birmingham in 2017), and he wouldn’t have it any other way. For Bummer, pitching out of the bullpen is where it’s at.
“I know what I do best, and starting isn’t something I would do best,” said Bummer, who entered Friday with a 1.70 ERA over 40 appearances, including a 1.29 over his last 17. “To maximize my abilities is to stay in the bullpen.”
Bummer is manager Rick Renteria’s go-to guy in high-leverage situations leading to closer Alex Colome.
“I like the idea of being able to flip the switch, being ready to go every single day and bringing something to the team every single day,” Bummer said. “I’m a huge fan. I love what I’m doing. Every reliever loves that idea of going in with the game on the line.”
MONCADA BACK IN ACTION
Yoan Moncada started his rehab assignment at Class AAA Charlotte and went 1-for-5 hitting out of the No. 2 spot in the order in a 5-4 loss to Columbus. Moncada, who’s coming back from a strained right hamstring, eased into the assignment by serving as the designated hitter.
Asked if Moncada could be ready to return to the Sox for the upcoming series at Minnesota starting Monday, Renteria didn’t rule it out.
“I’m not going sugarcoat it — there is a chance,” Renteria said. “But we’ll see how he goes during the next few days, and hopefully it is all positive.”
First baseman AJ Reed was outrighted to Charlotte. The Sox’ 40-man roster is at 39.