Abreu has lofty goals for his defense

Abreu has lofty goals for his defense

OAKLAND -- There's a goal in mind for Jose Abreu when it comes to his defense at first base.

"I want to be perfect," said Abreu through White Sox Spanish communications manager Billy Russo. "I know that nobody is going to be perfect, but I want to have that mind-set."

Abreu certainly isn't relying on a mind-set to find success in the field, coming off of a 2015 season in which he was bothered by the 11 errors he committed. During the past six weeks in Arizona, the 29-year-old placed special focus on becoming an asset with his glove, as well as with the bat he wields in the middle of the White Sox order.

That Spring Training work came under the guidance of bench coach Rick Renteria and third-base coach Joe McEwing.

"We just worked on normal drills, but working with Super Joe and Renteria, they noticed that I have been doing something wrong with some ground balls to my right hand," the right-handed-throwing Abreu said. "Then they let me know and then we worked together to fix it. It was just with my upper body, with my arms movement."

There were a couple of solid plays turned in from Abreu during Monday's 4-3 victory over the A's to go with his double as part of four-run third. His most important effort was a sliding stop of Stephen Vogt's grounder down the first-base line to open the seventh against Chris Sale, turning a potential double into the first out.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura believes Abreu has improved his footwork.

"He had a lot of glove action, and I think that's just the way he learned to catch a ground ball," Ventura said. "It's just gotten better. He's slowed down a little bit. You don't have to be quite as fast as he was trying to be before. The calmer he gets, the better he is. It's easier to catch, easier to pick the balls.

"Everybody has their own limits and things like that, but even for him, turning two, he tries to make it all happen himself. Really, just get it smoothly enough where you can get it and give the guy a good feed at second base and let him worry about returning it.

"Sometimes he tries to go too fast, or he tries to make it all happen himself, so it's an easier throw for that guy. Especially now with the new rules [regarding] sliding into second, you don't really have to hurry as much as maybe you did before."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.