If you only looked at the numbers, you might not know that Jose Abreu has been battling a sore ankle this spring.
If you watched him move -- specifically when slowing down around the bag at first -- there's no mistaking that something was bothering him.
But Monday's game signaled an improvement in that area. The Mariners gave him a workout, and although one of the batted balls resulted in his first error of his White Sox career, it doesn't seem like the ankle was to blame. In fact, Abreu had the clearance to take five days off, but was back after two.
The concern is that the ankle issue will linger and will force Abreu into intermittent rests during the season. But manager Robin Ventura doesn’t seem worried, nor does Abreu, who taped his ankles while he played in Cuba. Abreu suspects the soreness stems from using arch supports and said he’s "feeling really good.’’
He's equally optimistic that he'll be able to handle his first blast of cold weather when the team heads to Chicago:
"I've never played in cold weather like that," Abreu said. "But if other people, all the Cubans, all the Latin players, other players can do it, I don't think it will be a problem for me.
"I haven't really asked Alexei [Ramirez] or Dayan [Viciedo], but some of the coaches have talked to me about it. I'm not going to give it too much mind. I'm just going to prepare psychologically and mentally for the cold, to actually enjoy it and do the best I can."
Christian Marrero Reading Room
It took three years, but ESPN finally found a replacement for Sox Machine on the Sweet Spot Network. It chose wisely, as The Catbird Seat is a new blog from the gang from Southside Showdown.
Scott Merkin writes a thorough story about Winston-Salem manager Tommy Thompson's battle with addiction, which led to one painful departure after the 2005 season. Perseverance on his part, and loyalty on the White Sox's part, brought him back.
Rick Hahn wanted to find the kind of long-term fit at catcher that he found for center field and third base, but when that failed to materialize, Cee Angi wonders if he should have settled for something less perfect.
Doug Padilla updates us on the non-Miller/Coors beers that can be found around U.S. Cellular Field this season.
- Max Scherzer and the confusing offseason of the Detroit Tigers - SBNation.com
- Alex Gonzalez trade leaves media and fans baffled - Bless You Boys
The Detroit Tigers traded Steve Lombardozzi (one of the players involved in the controversial Doug Fister trade) to the Orioles for Alex Gonzalez, who is 37 and was a spring-training NRI at Baltimore's camp. Nobody really knows what to make of the Tigers' strategy anymore, and Grant Brisbee's got lines.
If it was supposed to be about reinforcing an aging division-winner, there was no reason to trade a valuable rotation piece for a prospect and a closer. Even if you assume Dave Dombrowski is playing chess while the rest of us are playing checkers, you still get to point out that he's riding his knight around the room and making horsie sounds. It might be genius, but it sure looks like crazy from here.
Meanwhile, Fister threw three innings innings on Saturday after missing a couple weeks with elbow inflammation, and the reports were quite positive.
- Major League Baseball in Sydney: hairy giants, meaty thocks and Miller beer | Sport | theguardian.com
Just like 100 years ago, it's a lot of fun reading Australian accounts of baseball.