3/30/2014 4:31 P.M. ET
Abreu readies for first Major League season
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu is listed as a rookie where Major League Baseball is concerned.
But those who have watched the 6-foot-3, 255-pounder work during Spring Training know he doesn't carry himself like a first-year player.
"Just because it's his first year here, he's not young. He's polished," said White Sox captain Paul Konerko of the White Sox top offseason free agent acquisition, who makes his debut in Monday's Opening Day contest with the Twins. "He's got more. That's the one thing, he might be a rookie here, but he's not a rookie.
"He's a big kid, but he's got an approach. He's not just free swinging."
Konerko, who also praised Abreu's defense at first, admitted there are variables Abreu has to handle in the upcoming months such as colder weather, new pitchers and new stadiums. The 27-year-old, who played 10 years in Cuba and hit .453 over 66 games in 2011, knows the longer schedule stands as one of the bigger adjustments.
"That is something I'm not too familiar with -- 162 games is a new thing for me," said Abreu Sunday through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "We play 96 in Cuba, but that's why the support of my coaches, the support of my fellow teammates, especially the Cuban guys who have gone through it, it's going to be huge. But I'm open minded for everything, and we'll get through it."
Beckham, Keppinger officially start season on DL
CHICAGO -- The expected move of second baseman Gordon Beckham (strained left oblique) and infielder Jeff Keppinger (recovery from right shoulder surgery) to the disabled list to start the season became official Sunday, retroactive to March 21. Beckham last played on March 14, but White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Sunday that Beckham had played in a few Minor League games back in Glendale, Ariz. since camp broke.
He could come off the disabled list next weekend in Kansas City, with Beckham making progress in his recovery before the White Sox left for Birmingham, Ala. Keppinger's timetable is far less certain, with general manager Rick Hahn stating last week that he's basically starting his injury rehab program over again. The veteran was unable to throw the ball without pain during Spring Training, limited to just six Cactus League games at designated hitter.
Marcus Semien gets the Opening Day start at second base in place of Beckham, with Leury Garcia opening as the team's utility infielder and fifth outfielder.
Head groundskeeper has US Cellular ready to go
CHICAGO -- Thanks to one of the worst Chicago winters in recent memory, there was a little bit of doubt as to whether Roger Bossard could have U.S. Cellular Field in playing shape by Opening Day on Monday.
"We thought there would be an iceberg out in left field from the reports we got in Arizona," said a smiling White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the frozen field. "But Roger, even before he left, he knew he had his work cut out for him."
The lesson learned from U.S. Cellular looking ready to go is to never doubt the revered White Sox head groundskeeper.
"I'm impressed," Ventura said. "I knew he would pull this off. I've never seen a situation he hasn't been able to handle yet. But this one was probably pretty close."
• Right-handed reliever Mitchell Boggs and the White Sox agreed on a Minor League deal. The White Sox had hoped to keep the veteran after granting his unconditional release on March 23.
• Ventura was waiting until Monday to announce his left field starter and his closer. Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo are the options in left, while Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom and Daniel Webb are the top candidates to pitch the ninth.
• Just under 3,000 tickets were available as of Sunday for Monday's Opening Day contest with the Twins.
• Count Adam Dunn as one of the many on the White Sox who believes this team could be one of the 2014 surprise stories.
"There wouldn't be a purpose for us to be in this room right now if 25 guys plus coaches didn't believe we could be not just better but significantly better," Dunn said.