Although the sixth inning overshadowed his earlier contributions, Monday showed why it's good to have Jose Abreu back into our lives.
His return to the field was preceded by a neat MLB Network feature showing Abreu watch his parents watch him.
And when game action replaced taped footage, he gave his parents another highlight for the reel, taking Clayton Kershaw deep for a two-run homer, his 16th of the year.
Abreu led baseball in home runs when he hit the DL. He has since been passed by Nelson Cruz, Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Stanton, but he climbed back into a third-place tie with the Miami masher. Here's what the American League leaderboard looks like now:
- Cruz, 20 in 232 PA (11.6 PA per HR)
- Encarnacion, 19 in 251 PA (13.2 PA)
- Abreu, 16 in 193 PA (12.1 PA)
Encarnacion belted an incredible 16 homers in May, and Cruz was right behind him (13). You'd think there'd be a cooling-off period that would allow Abreu to climb back in the mix -- provided Abreu's ankle holds up, at least. So far, so good.
Because they're playing the Dodgers, it finally gave Abreu and his former Cienfuegos teammate Yasiel Puig an opportunity to rekindle a friendship that seemed to have gone cold. USA Today extracted a sense of the relationship in April:
Even though the Dodgers and White Sox share a spring training ballpark in Arizona and their camps sit across from each other, the former pals met only once all spring, before an exhibition game.
Without going into details, Abreu hints at a falling out.
"He hasn't communicated again with me and I'm not going to try either. I don't have his phone number,'' Abreu said. "I don't know, people in this system are strange. If you don't have time to talk, you don't have time to call me, then I don't either. I don't want to bother anybody. We were friends there (in Cuba). I don't understand.''
And though he sounds upset about the distancing, Abreu has bigger concerns.
But he told reporters that they were planning on having dinner together after the game, so maybe they're back on track.
Before the game, Abreu spent some time with another Cienfuegos player, Erisbel Arruebarrena. The shortstop had been recently promoted by the Dodgers from Triple-A. Combined, the Dodgers and White Sox are suiting up six Cuban-born players.