Ahead of today’s series finally with the Minnesota Twins, White Sox manager Tony La Russa spoke to the media. Unfortunately, most of the focus was around the ongoing controversy associated with La Russa’s public disapproval of Yermin Mercedes’ ninth-inning home run against position player Willians Astudillo on Monday.
However, buried within the drama was a very important update with actual on-field ramifications.
La Russa provided an update on White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who has missed three consecutive games with ankle inflammation.
According to Scott Merkin of MLB.com, La Russa has “hope” that Abreu will be available for the upcoming weekend series against the Yankees. He added that the reigning MVP remains “day-to-day“.
Change of Tone?
The language used in this update is important. When Abreu’s injury was first announced, James Fegan of The Athletic reported that the team “expect[ed]” Abreu to play in New York.
The change in tone from the White Sox could indicate the injury is a bit more serious than initially thought. It could also simply mean the White Sox are playing it safe with their 34-year-old slugger. Either way, this situation is something White Sox fans should keep an intent eye on.
Abreu struggled mightily to start the 2021 season but has seemingly found his stride once again. Over his last ten games, Abreu is slashing .382/.463/.706. He has 11 RBIs on 13 hits over that stretch.
Maybe just as important, Abreu is a clear leader on a team that is currently marred in off-field controversy. His presence is palpable and something other players feed off.
Not to mention the fact that this team has already suffered multiple high-profile injuries that would sink most teams. The White Sox currently sit atop the AL Central with a three-game lead over Cleveland. In addition, they are number one in the latest MLB Power Rankings.
Even with their recent success, the White Sox can ill-afford to be without Abreu for an extended period of time. Let’s hope that La Russa and the Sox are just being cautious.