CLEVELAND — Reigning American League most valuable player Jose Abreu was batting .188/.293/.313 and led the AL with 25 strikeouts going into the White Sox’ game Tuesday against the Indians.
But hitting coach Frank Menechino wasn’t concerned.
‘‘He knows he can have 15 walks right now,’’ Menechino said Sunday. ‘‘He’s expanding the zone, trying to get things done. And his timing is off. I saw this last year with him.’’
Menechino also saw Abreu working hard and said it only would be a matter of time before he saw something like what Abreu did Tuesday. He belted two home runs and added an RBI single in the Sox’ 8-5 victory.
The first homer was a 458-foot shot to left field against Indians right-hander Zach Plesac, his longest in the Statcast era (since 2015). It slammed into the bleachers at 115.6 mph, also tops on his list.
Abreu also drove in a run with a single against Plesac, then homered to left against left-hander Sam Hentges. It was his 18th career multihomer game, the third-most in Sox history behind Paul Konerko (29) and Frank Thomas (26).
Manager Tony La Russa gave Abreu his first assignment of the season at designated hitter and, in a surprise move, started Yermin Mercedes at first base.
Menechino had seen Abreu chasing pitches in RBI situations. He had been 3-for-21 with two RBI in his last six games.
‘‘He knows it,’’ Menechino said. ‘‘He gets upset with himself, but that’s part of getting back into the groove.’’
Eaton appeals suspension
Outfielder Adam Eaton was handed a one-game suspension and a fine from Major League Baseball for his aggressive actions and for inciting a benches-clearing incident Thursday against the Indians. Eaton was going to serve the suspension Tuesday but decided to appeal.
The Indians’ Jake Bauers and Cesar Hernandez also were fined.
Eaton shoved Indians shortstop Andres Gimenez after getting called out trying to stretch a single into a double. Eaton, who said Gimenez lifted his arm off the base, wasn’t ejected.
Burdi down, McRae up
After throwing three innings and 49 pitches in the Sox’ 11-4 loss Monday to the Red Sox, reliever Zack Burdi was returned to the Sox’ alternate site in Schaumburg and replaced on the roster by reliever Alex McRae.
Burdi allowed two runs and struck out three and helped save the bullpen after starter Lucas Giolito got only three outs.
Lynn replacement still TBA
The Sox’ starter Wednesday still was listed as TBA, and a bullpen game seemed possible. Right-hander Michael Kopech, who pitched three-plus innings in a spot start Sunday against the Red Sox, won’t pitch against the Indians.
The spot is open because right-hander Lance Lynn (strained right trapezius) is on the injured list. His MRI was clean, ‘‘and we fully expect that by the time the 10 days are up, he’ll take the ball one of the first two days of the [series against the Tigers in the middle of next week],’’ La Russa said.
La Russa, on what was learned from Giolito getting routed by the Red Sox:
‘‘There were some telltale things. . . . You’re seeing them live, and then you go back and reflect on them, watch video and have conversations. It’s not like we’re going to share secrets, but Lucas will be making adjustments the next time he faces them, which is not until September.’’