(CBS) — The long season has taken its toll on White Sox Rookie of the Year candidate Jose Abreu.
The 27-year-old Cuban defector was removed from Friday night’s game after limping his way toward a seventh inning double. Although the star first baseman had a perfect night at the plate (3-3 with a walk), his poor performance in the field allowed the Tigers to put up a crooked number early against a team that is now playing their worst baseball of the season. The White Sox have won only seven games in August.
Abreu, until last evening, has been one of the good stories, adding to his batting average and RBI totals despite a major collapse by his team. Manager Robin Ventura would not confirm that Abreu had injured himself Friday.
“I think he is just tired,” said the Sox skipper. “You are getting to a point in the season where you have played so many games. This is his first time through it. I think he is reacting to it for the first time.”
Ventura said the slugging first baseman will most likely DH in both games of the scheduled double header against Detroit on Saturday. He was in the lineup for the first game a DH.
“He still wants to play,” Ventura said. “He is still competitive. He wants to be out there and play against the best players so we will DH him when we can.”
Ventura took exception to a question about Abreu appearing to coming up lame on Friday.
“He is just sore,” said the manager. “I think that is the biggest thing going on. His leg was attached, he was not dragging it. He is sore.”
Abreu is in that unknown area of never having played more than 97 games in Cuba. That is the entire schedule for the Cuban league season. Gearing up for almost 70 more games has been a challenge for international players like Abreu who are in their first season of major league baseball.
“You just learn how to deal with it,” said Ventura. “You just keep going, this is just that point of the season and his first time through it. We are still looking at twenty plus games left in the season. You have to figure out a way to get through it.”
Abreu signed a $68 million contract last November. He has had a sensational season, leading baseball in RBI, (97) while being on top of American League in slugging (604) and OPS (979). ‘The Cuban Comet’ is tied for second in the league with 33 home runs.