Minor leg soreness keeps Abreu out of lineup

Minor leg soreness keeps Abreu out of lineup

CHICAGO -- If manager Robin Ventura had his way, Jose Abreu would never be out of the White Sox lineup.

After all, it's difficult to sit the top offensive force in an attack that has been inconsistent throughout the 2016 season. But the first baseman needed to nurse some bumps and bruises and take a break in Friday's series opener against the Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field. Chicago won, 3-2.

"Yeah, you're right," said Abreu of the needed day off through White Sox interpreter Billy Russo. "Also because we are playing too many long games, extra-inning games and sometimes your body needs to rest. That's the break I'm taking today."

"I understand that's part of the way it has to be right now," Ventura said. "There's a day when a guy gets hit like that or he pulls something or does something like that and he needs a day -- and today's that day." 

Abreu was hit by a Rick Porcello pitch in the third inning of Thursday's extra-innings loss to Boston. But Ventura indicated that while Abreu's left leg is really sore, he's also experiencing soreness in the back of his right leg.

"So he definitely needs [a day off] today," said Ventura, who didn't deem the soreness as serious. "He needs to be able to stay off it and not even DH."

"When you play too many games, long games, sometimes your legs are getting tired and your hamstring is getting tight and you need a break," Abreu said. "Today, I came early, I did all my treatments. So far, so good for now."

It's almost a relief for the White Sox that Abreu is sitting due to general soreness as opposed to needing a mental health day because of struggles at the plate. Abreu has reached base safely in all 20 June games, with a .333/.382/.615 slash line to go with five homers and 20 RBIs.

Having that hot streak makes it tougher for Abreu to sit, but he knows the break is a needed one that hopefully lasts one day.

"Either way, you always want to play," said Abreu, who was available to pinch-hit. "If you're in a good or bad moment, you always want to play, but sometimes you also have to realize that the best thing you can do is just to take a break thinking of the future.

"You don't want to push too hard and [then] something bad can happen. You have to understand that it's better sometimes to play it safe and take care of yourself than try to push so hard."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. 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.