Abreu, Sale, lack of Sox-Cubs 'buzz'
Jose Abreu, Jose Abreu, Jose Abreu.
The White Sox' new first baseman seems to be in the headlines every day, and Monday is no different.
Before the Sox took the field against the Cubs at chilly Wrigley Field tonight, Abreu was back in the record books.
Abreu is the first player in American League history - and second overall - to be named Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month in his first month in the major leagues.
Last year, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig claimed double honors in June.
Abreu batted .270 with 10 home runs, 32 RBI and 20 runs scored in 29 April games.
"I thank the Lord to be able to achieve this, and it's obviously something that makes me happy," he said through a translator. "And I'm thanking my teammates as well. It's a great thing. I'm very humbled to get that honor."
*Chris Sale (flexor muscle strain) threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session Monday, and the White Sox' ace starter is feeling good.
"I'm not going to sit here and lie to you, I feel much better than when we started this process," Sale said. "I threw a 40-pitch bullpen today, got after it pretty good. There's nothing there today that made me think there should be any stepbacks or any setbacks."
Sale is going to need a few more bullpens and a rehab start or two, and Sox general manager Rick Hahn said there are not going to be daily updates on his progress.
“We'll leave it at the fact that today was a good day and he continues to progress,” Hahn said. “He's in the phase of rebuilding and building up his arm strength. At some point in the coming couple weeks, there will be a rehab assignment and we'll go from there.”
Hahn and Sale are both miffed by the constant speculation of a more serious injury.
“It's weird because I think, quite frankly, that we have been extraordinarily transparent about all these injuries and what has transpired, but still there has been daily speculation about where he's at and what it means,” Hahn said. “Not just with Chris, but with some of the other injured guys. Frankly, it's make me at least personally preferring to go to an NHL style and just tell you it's an upper body injury and see you in the morning skate.”
*This White Sox-Cubs series has seemingly been losing buzz for years, and playing this early in the season isn’t helping matters.
“I hope we get to the point where these games matter 11 times a year instead of just four,” GM Rick Hahn said. “I think it's nice for the fans; it's always a little heightened level of intensity over your normal regular season game. But the two we played last week with Detroit, the three we've got coming up with K.C. are more relevant to our year than these four games are against the Cubs.
“But like I said, I think it would be a wonderful thing for city, I don't know if my stomach could handle it, but it would be a wonderful thing for this city and baseball in this town if these games could matter 11 times a year instead of just four.”
Here are tonight’s lineups, including Adam Dunn playing left field for the Sox:
De Aza – 8
Beckham – 4
Abreu – 3
Dunn – 7
Viciedo – 9
Ramirez – 6
Flowers – 2
Semien – 5
Quintana – 1
Bonifacio – 8
Lake – 7
Rizzo – 3
Castro – 6
Castillo – 2
Schierholtz – 9
Olt – 5
Barney – 4
Samardzija – 1