Morneau still sidelined with neck discomfort

Morneau still sidelined with neck discomfort

KANSAS CITY -- White Sox designated hitter Justin Morneau missed his fourth straight game on Friday due to neck discomfort, having last played in the first game of the Indians series. Manager Robin Ventura mentioned that Morneau could pinch-hit, but he's not ready to play an entire game.

Morneau's 14th season is coming to a close, with the left-handed-hitting veteran having knocked out 13 doubles since joining the active roster on July 15. Morneau worked his way back from late-December surgery on his left elbow, but has to decide if he wants to come back for a 15th season and put in the same hard work even if it's not part of a rehab process.

"That's the biggest thing, especially for him," Ventura said. "He had to do it this year. He had to rehab to be able to get back and prepare to go through everything you're going to go through. It's not always easy.

"You're always weighing that between, you've played a long time and health-wise if you can even do it. That really becomes the biggest thing for him, the desire to do it and if you have the commitment to do it and to rehab and go through everything you have to go through because he goes through a lot to be able to get ready to play."

Ventura has no doubt that Morneau still could contribute in 2017.

"He can hit. He can still play. There's no question about that," Ventura said. "If he can physically withstand it, he's going to be valuable to somebody. It doesn't go away. He knows what he's in for if he's going to come back and do it because he knows what his body feels like."

Abreu's leadership
Jose Abreu's pregame meeting on Thursday with Shane Callaghan, an 11-year-old White Sox fan battling bone cancer, stands as yet another example of the first baseman's leadership qualities. He stands as a great representative of the organization, both on and off the field.

"I know he would like to do more, but he'll get there," Ventura said. "When guys play and you see what he does and how he goes about it, that's always the most important thing.

"A lot of guys pay lip service but if you are not bringing it to the park every day it doesn't matter. He does that. He doesn't have to necessarily have to say things in English for people to understand him."

Abreu told Callaghan that he would try to hit a home run for him and then connected for his 24th long ball in the 2-1 victory.

Happy anniversary, Mr. Thome
On Sept. 16, 2007, Jim Thome hit a walk-off homer against Angels reliever Dustin Moseley to give the White Sox a 9-7 victory. That blast was Thome's 28th of the season and just happened to be his 500th overall. Thome went on to hit 612 homers over his 22-year-career.

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.