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White Sox plan rest for sore-ankled Jose Abreu

Updated: June 17, 2014 2:14PM

OAKLAND, Calif. — With a day off Thursday, Jose Abreu likely will get a needed two-day rest for his sore left ankle, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. Abreu probably won’t play when the Sox open a three-game series Friday in Houston.

It will be tough to take him out, even against the struggling Astros. Abreu hit his major-league-leading 15th homer Wednesday, a three-run shot to left against Luke Gregerson that erased the Oakland Athletics’ one-run lead and helped the Sox avoid a three-game sweep.

‘‘He’s going to fight it, but it’s probably a good time to do that for him,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘Anytime you can get a guy two days . . . he’s still limping around. You look at it and wince, but he is getting better, as much as it might not look like it.’’

Abreu is the fourth player to hit 15-plus home runs in his first 42 career games, joining Wally Berger, Kevin Maas and Wally Joyner. Eleven of his 15 home runs have come in the last 24 games.

During his 10-year Cuban career with Cienfuegos, Abreu never played more than 89 games, so he’s facing an unprecedented endurance test. After Wednesday’s 4-2 win, he said Thursday will be enough.

Conditioning coach Allen Thomas said Abreu might deal with soreness the rest of his career because his natural gait puts stress on the inner parts of his legs. It may help that he is putting less weight on his lower legs; by Thomas’ design, he has lost 15 pounds since early April, much of it water weight. He was close to 270 during camp.

Abreu leads the majors in homers and with 26 extra-base hits and 103 total bases. He has started all but one game and played in all 42.

This and that

Chris Sale (flexor muscle strain) will start for visiting Class AAA Charlotte against the Durham Bulls on Thursday night. There’s a good chance that Sale, who said he is making good progress, will pitch for the Sox late next week — perhaps against the New York Yankees — if all goes well.

◆ Center fielder Adam Eaton was scheduled to start his rehab stint Wednesday in Durham. He should return to the Sox on Sunday in Houston.

◆ Right-hander Erik Johnson (2.84 ERA over 19 innings and three starts) will continue pitching at Charlotte, Ventura said, but may be getting closer to a return. Scott Carroll, who had his second rough start Tuesday after two good ones, will get another turn, Ventura said.


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