CHICAGO -- The original White Sox lineup for Sunday's 6-2 victory over the Rays did not feature Jose Abreu for what would have been a fourth straight game due to a right elbow strain.
But Abreu's daily discussions with manager Rick Renteria since he was sidelined convinced the White Sox manager to bring him back as the designated hitter. And with Tyler Saladino scratched from the original lineup due to left wrist soreness, the change fit even more.
Abreu made his presence felt early in the series-deciding victory. After Tim Anderson put the White Sox on the board with an RBI single in the third inning, Abreu drove him in with a two-run home run, his 27th of the season, to left field. It came on the first pitch of the at-bat from Rays starter Matt Andriese and gave Abreu 82 RBIs overall.
"We needed his bat," Anderson said. "He's definitely a big power guy, and he showed it today."
"Obviously, he did a nice job," Renteria said. "He's still working through that, he's still recovering, but he's in good enough shape to be able to do what he needs to do."
Abreu played in 130 of the White Sox first 131 games, so sitting out was an unusual experience for him. It's a family affair, in part, as to why Abreu feels a need to be out there every day.
"My mom is not happy when I'm not playing," a smiling Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo. "It's difficult sometimes. You probably aren't 100 percent, but you have to keep grinding.
"I want to thank Ricky, because he had patience with me. I went there the last three days, and I was begging him and [saying] that I was fine to play. But he said no. He said no, that he had to take care of me.
"He was doing his job. I want to let you know and to let him, too, that he's a very special person for all of us and for me, of course. But right now, the most important thing is that I'm playing today."
Abreu described his elbow injury as a "pinch" or "like a needle there." He doesn't think it's anything major.
"That desire for him to want to play yesterday and the day before -- truly commendable," Renteria said. "But I think it wouldn't have been, on our part, very wise. Even today, we will continue to monitor him and see him and make sure he's OK."
Sunday's effort left Abreu with a .301 average and an .894 OPS in '17, not to mention his improved defense and baserunning.
The team comes first for Abreu, as the White Sox won for their 11th time in their last 17 games at home. The team, and making his mom, Daysi, happy.
"I'm going to call her right now," Abreu said before the game. "I just want to play and help this team win games."