Robin Ventura on Jose Abreu’s spot in lineup: He’s No. 3
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter March 22, 2014 10:04PM
Updated: April 24, 2014 10:15AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — When Jose Abreu gets back to playing again, which should be soon, look for him to be penciled into the No. 3 spot in the White Sox’ lineup.
“I’m leaning that way,’’ manager Robin Ventura said Saturday. “He’s proved over the course of spring training that he just has quality at-bats when he goes up there. He fits in the 3-hole more likely than anybody else we have.’’
It’s a significant tip of the cap to Abreu and confirmation from Ventura that, despite not having played in the major leagues, the Cuban free agent has looked the part of someone who will hit for power and average. It also says that Ventura isn’t worried about Abreu handling the pressure that comes with high expectations.
“I just feel he’s that good of a hitter to be able to do that,’’ Ventura said.
Abreu’s ouchy ankles, which shortened his game day Friday and caused Ventura to give him Saturday and Sunday off, aren’t a major concern. It’s something Abreu dealt with in Cuba, too.
“Nothing that concerns him going on the DL or anything like that, but to kind of flush it out and get him feeling a little better before we head out of here,’’ Ventura said.
Because he runs better than Abreu, some believe Avisail Garcia is a better option to bat third.
“I don’t see it that way,’’ Ventura said. “I just really see him as a professional type of hitter. You want people on base when he’s up there. Hitting him there, I hope he has a lot of opportunities with guys on base.’’
And always batting in the first inning.
“Yeah, I like seeing him bat all the time,’’ Ventura said.
Beckham still sidelined
Trainer Herm Schneider continues to work on Gordon Beckham (strained left oblique), who hasn’t participated in baseball activities in eight days and becomes a longer shot for Opening Day readiness with each passing day.
“He has to get through Herm before we think we can get him back on the field and he can do stuff,’’ Ventura said, adding Beckham might get on the field “in a couple of days.’’
Beckham has remained hopeful that he’ll be ready.
“You have to protect guys who want to go out there,’’ Ventura said.
“I think everybody finds being on the field for Opening Day important, but we have a long way to go. [We need to] make sure he’s completely healthy before we send him out there.’’
No closer to closer
Circumstances point to Nate Jones taking over the closer’s role from Addison Reed, but Ventura seemed sincere when he said he doesn’t know whom it will be.
“No. I really don’t,’’ he said. “I mean, we’ve had a lot of guys who have either showed up a little late [Ronald Belisario] or were hurt [Matt Lindstrom, Jones] but we still have a ways to go before we do that. We have guys who are capable of doing it, just to name one right now would be premature.’’