White Sox slugger Jose Abreu has tendinitis, no tear in left ankle
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter May 20, 2014 12:18AM
White Sox designated hitter Paul Konerko celebrates with Adam Dunn after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning Monday night. | Charlie Riedel/AP
Updated: June 23, 2014 2:48PM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jose Abreu and the White Sox received good news when a second MRI exam on the slugger’s left ankle Monday showed only inflammation and no underlying tear.
But it’s not a given that Abreu will be fine when his time on the disabled list is up. Baseball’s home-run leader, who made a huge splash with an almost seamless transition from Cuba to the major leagues in his first seven weeks despite dealing with ankle issues as early as spring training, has posterior tibial tendinitis in his left ankle.
That ankle will be in a boot for a few days, and he’ll be re-evaluated when the Sox return to Chicago for a homestand that begins Thursday.
“I would be cautiously optimistic,’’ said Dr. Selene Parekh, a specialist at the North Carolina Orthopaedic Clinic who specializes in treating foot and ankle injuries, particularly among athletes. “If he bounces back quickly, I would be optimistic. If he struggles to return in the timeline they think is needed, two weeks up to four weeks, then it may be a much bigger issue and then you have to be worried.’’
Parekh said Abreu’s condition is nothing to mess with, that it can become chronic “and over time, the tendon can tear and fall apart.’’
Abreu had been hobbling on his left foot for a couple of weeks. He hadn’t played first base since May 8, assuming designated-hitter duty since then, and never did get the consecutive days off manager Robin Ventura suggested he needed to help him get over it.
Now he will rest. And it’s a good thing, the experts say.
“Without rest, it can worsen, so the 15-day DL was a good choice in this case,’’ said Dr. Dale Brink, a podiatrist who specializes in sports medicine with the south suburban Performance Foot and Ankle Center. “If the condition worsens, the pain shifts from the inside of the ankle to the outside of the foot as the joints get jammed together laterally.
“If it’s not addressed now, it will worsen and could affect him long-term.’’
With Abreu out for at least two weeks, Paul Konerko becomes at least a short-term solution, and he seems up to the task. Konerko’s two-run homer against Royals left-hander Jason Vargas in the fifth inning gave the Sox a 7-6 lead, and that score held up to the crazy end thanks to five scoreless innings of relief from Zach Putnam (fifth, sixth innings), Ronald Belisario (seventh, eighth) and the trio of Matt Lindstrom, Scott Downs and Jake Petricka in the ninth.
The Royals routed Scott Carroll for five runs in the first, but the Sox used home runs by Alexei Ramirez (a three-run shot) and Dayan Viciedo (leading off the fourth) to climb back in it. Carroll, who could be the odd man out of the rotation when Chris Sale returns from the DL, lasted four innings, allowing six runs.
“We have to disinfect the clubhouse; we’re getting bit by the bug,’’ Sale said.
The latest was Lindstrom, who injured his left foot while dragging it on the turf as he fielded a sacrifice bunt by Alcides Escobar. Lindstrom pulled up and was charged with an error, putting two on with no outs. But Downs struck out Eric Hosmer before Petricka (first career save) made a spin move and caught pinch runner Jarrod Dyson heading toward third before getting Billy Butler on a game-ending groundout with the tying run on second.
“Our bullpen did a heck of a job,’’ Konerko said.
“It got hairy at the end, but we’ve lost a lot of games like that here. We kept battling, and it was nice to get a win.’’