CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu exited an April 25 contest in Toronto with a .176 average after going hitless in three at-bats.
Flash forward to Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, and Abreu's average had jumped to .252 following a 4-1 White Sox victory over the Red Sox. That monumental climb resulted from five straight multi-hit efforts -- with a triple, double and three RBIs Tuesday -- not to mention six multi-hit performances over his seven-game hitting streak. He has 10 RBIs in his last 10 games.
But even amid a first-month offensive funk, Abreu had a reason for not being too upset.
"We had a very good month," Abreu said through interpreter and White Sox Spanish-language broadcaster Billy Russo. "Offensively probably wasn't my best month, but I was happy because of the team, and the team is what matters for me."
"It's just his time," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Abreu. "Even in batting practice, it sounds better. A lot is made of the slow start, and it could be the cold, I don't know. But it sure looks better and it sounds better. You knew it was going to come."
One key trait that separates elite hitters such as Abreu, aside from an immense amount of raw talent, is sticking with a set routine regardless of the results. Abreu certainly wasn't about to change things because of a frustratingly unproductive April.
Instead, Abreu continued his study of opposing pitchers and found an individual flaw in the process.
"I realized that I was swinging at too many pitches outside the strike zone," Abreu said. "Now, I have recognition of the strike zone and about the pitches where I have to swing. That's the thing I've been doing. That's the adjustment I've been doing in my at-bats."
About two or three weeks into this lack of production, Abreu was asked about not making the solid contact to which White Sox fans had grown accustomed. The sound, as Ventura pointed out postgame Tuesday, wasn't there.
Although Abreu didn't recall one of hundreds of conversations from the past month when reminded Tuesday, he smiled at the time as if he knew better days were ahead. And those days weren't exactly all that bad for Abreu while playing for a first-place team.
"I'm just trying to be the best player that I can be every day," Abreu said. "This is a very tough sport, and I know that. I don't like to be comfortable because I know that probably the next game is going to be tough. That's why I work hard every day to try to perform the best I can."
"That's a good sign for us," Ventura said. "Jose is starting to swing the bat."