After some uncertainty, the White Sox are returning to the field. What’s still unclear is whether a veteran’s strong words had any impact on their recent victories.
Following Friday’s postponement, the White Sox will face the Cardinals on Saturday in a doubleheader with seven-inning games. Lucas Giolito will start the first matchup (12:10 p.m.) and the second will be a bullpen game against St. Louis, which is playing for the first time since July 29 due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
“It is very difficult to think about that,” Jose Abreu said Friday through a translator. “I don’t think that we are in a position to judge anybody. I think as a team, we are afraid, we have concerns. But, MLB and all the protocols that have been put into place, with St. Louis, they are giving them the green light. That’s good.
“I think that we just have to take care of ourselves and protect ourselves and do the best we can under these circumstances.”
For Abreu, that might mean wearing a gaiter scarf or something else like he has at times this year, though he wasn’t sure he’d do it because he said it’s difficult to play with a face mask.
“Definitely I will try to protect myself,” Abreu said. “We all have to.”
To compensate for the extra day off, the Sox worked out Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field. And Rick Renteria mentioned the Marlins’ strong start after their own coronavirus outbreak as a reason not to take the Cardinals for granted this weekend.
As for safety, Renteria said the team is not concerned.
“We’ve continued to kind of tighten up ourselves, as well,” Renteria said Friday. “At this point, I haven’t heard any concerns from anybody.”
On Monday, Dallas Keuchel voiced a different concern after a 5-1 loss at Detroit.
In pointed comments to the media that echoed what he told the Sox privately, Keuchel said some of his teammates were going through the motions. He said the Sox looked flat and saw “very subpar play from everybody.”
What followed were a pair of wins. But Abreu was not willing to link Keuchel’s words to the victories.
“I don’t think that the team responded the way that we did because of Dallas’ words,” Abreu said. “I think that we just did what we were supposed to do and we won those two games. We are trying to win every single game. We are trying to do what we are supposed to do. And if people think it differently, that’s fine.
“But I think we as players are just trying to do the job we know we can do and we are supposed to do.”
Pressed further, Abreu said he thought the Sox would play better anyway but did appreciate the conversation Keuchel had with the group.
“It’s not a secret that the first game in Detroit wasn’t one of our best games. That was a bad game for us,” Abreu said. “But it wasn’t because we didn’t want to do good. It just was one of those games where we couldn’t do better in that particular time. The next two days, we did perform and we did what we were supposed to do. Then that’s why I think there’s no reason for people to put the spotlight on what Dallas said because we won the last two games. I think we would do it either way.”
NOTE: No timeline has been set for the return of starters Carlos Rodon (left shoulder soreness) or Reynaldo Lopez (right shoulder soreness). Renteria said Lopez would throw two innings in a side session Friday.