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White Sox’ Jose Abreu won’t settle for subpar performance

“When I feel I can’t produce, when I can’t do this anymore, I’ll walk away,” Abreu says.

Jose Abreu
AP

CLEVELAND — If the White Sox agree to re-sign him, first baseman Jose Abreu says they can count on him for typical Abreu-like production.

“The stats are going to be there,” Abreu said Monday. “If I stay healthy, with the grace of God, there is nothing that says I can’t.”

Abreu will turn 33 this offseason. He knows that’s getting near the age when player performances tend to decline.

“I know your body will reach a point where it won’t allow you to do the things you’ve always done,” he said.

But Abreu feels good and is learning to manage it with experience. He says he will play “as long as God allows me to,” but he’ll call it quits if he can’t be the same player he is now.

“For me, the money is nothing,” he said. “I won’t go on the field to be a joke for people if I can’t do my job. That’s never going to happen to me.

“Before somebody lets me go, I walk away. When I feel I can’t produce, when I can’t do this anymore, I’ll walk away.”

On the subject of walking in a different manner — bases on balls — Sox pitchers walked 10 in their 11-3 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field, extending their losing streak to a season-high seven games. They’ve allowed 58 runs during the skid — their second seven-game slide since the All-Star break — and aren’t getting the springboard finish to Year 3 of the rebuild they were hoping for.

“No, it’s not acceptable, not even for those guys who are out there,” said manager Rick Renteria, who was ejected in the fifth inning. “They don’t want to walk people. They’re not executing, falling behind one, two, three balls.”

The Sox (60-77), who couldn’t capitalize on eight walks from Indians pitchers, could do worse than having Abreu’s leadership present for young fellow Cubans Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert for Year 4, not to mention his bat, and he has been adamant about wanting to stay.

Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf signed him out of Cuba to a six-year, $68 million deal in 2014, and Abreu owned up to it by hitting 25 or more home runs in each of his first four seasons (reaching 30 or more three times) and driving in 100 or more runs each year. Two unusual non-baseball health issues limited him to 128 games last season, and he finished with 22 homers and 78 RBI.

This season, he’s doing the usual Abreu things, showing no sign of regression and batting .282/.325/.495 with 28 homers and 32 doubles. He collected his team-high 104th RBI in the third inning against right-hander Aaron Civale, staying on pace for a career-high 123.

“I’ve done a better job trying to keep my body healthy till the end of the season,’’ he said. “The last month is always tough, but I feel good.”

The last week has been tough on this team. Lefty Ross Detwiler walked six in 2‰ innings, setting the tone for this bad loss by walking three in the first inning before Franmil Reyes cleared the bases with a double. Jake Bauers hit a two-run pinch homer against Carson Fulmer, Jace Fry walked two and allowed a homer to Carlos Santana and Manny Banuelos gave up four runs in relief.

Banuelos took a batted ball off his foot and left the game.

“Embarrassing to be out there with six walks,” Detwiler said. “Terrible.”

Renteria, taking exception to a ruling on a foul tip with two strikes caught in the dirt by catcher Welington Castillo, demonstrated his frustration when he was ejected by umpire Mark Carlson.

Sitting on the bench, Renteria wouldn’t leave until Carlson walked to the dugout and directed him to the clubhouse, where he viewed the replay and realized the call was right.