Renteria: Abreu in 'a really good place'

Renteria: Abreu in 'a really good place'

BALTIMORE -- Not much gets past Rick Renteria. The White Sox manager has dedicated his life to baseball, first as a player and then as a coach. But on Saturday, Renteria missed something.

"I blinked," he said of Jose Abreu's eighth-inning homer in Chicago's 6-5 loss the Orioles." And it was gone."

Abreu's fifth homer of the year, which pulled the White Sox to within one run, left his bat at an exit velocity of 111.9 mph and at a launch angle of 16 degrees. After a 2016 campaign in which Abreu's offensive production increased as the season wore on, Renteria said his first baseman is in the "zone."

"It's him now feeling in sync, in tune with his swing," Renteria said. "Obviously, he has the skill set to put the bat on the baseball. ... Right now he seems to be in a really good place."

That place is a snug spot in the middle of the White Sox lineup that ranks among one of the least effective in the Major Leagues. After Sunday's series finale in Baltimore, a 4-0 loss, Chicago was ranked 17th in batting average (.238), tied for 23rd in runs (121) and 25th in total bases (378).

It's tough to place much of that blame on Abreu, who's hit safely in 12 of his past 16 games, including 10 multihit games. He's hit all of his homers during that span and driven in 11 runs, too. On Sunday, he went 0-for-3 with a walk.

As the White Sox search for more offensive production, the team can point to Abreu as an example of what's working.

Worth noting

Tim Anderson was not in the lineup for Sunday's contest, as Renteria said Anderson was taking some time off to deal with the death of somebody close to him. It's unclear how much time the shortstop will miss. Anderson is slashing .209/.235/.287.

Joshua Needelman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Baltimore who covered the White Sox on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.