4/11/2014 8:42 P.M. ET
Opposing pitchers can't figure out Abreu
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The book opposing pitchers are following to retire Jose Abreu needs to be rewritten.
Entering Friday's contest against the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field, the rookie first baseman topped the Major Leagues with 14 RBIs. He also had two multi-homer games in his last three played, a 1.108 OPS -- albeit in a small sample size -- and was on a ridiculous pace for 65 homers and 227 RBIs.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura has witnessed a little bit of everything employed in the attempt to shut down Chicago's marquee free-agent addition from Cuba.
"At first, everybody just thought they could throw him inside," said Ventura of Abreu. "He's been able to handle that, and now it's going to be the old pound him inside and soft away, the typical stuff that everybody says.
"He's been able to get at everything. If he's looking for it, he has a pretty good chance to hit it hard."
In a classic 12-pitch at-bat Tuesday in Colorado, Rockies reliever Chad Bettis came inside on seven pitches to Abreu before he hit a curveball for career homer No. 1. His second homer came off of a Wilton Lopez fastball.
The Indians' Danny Salazar worked Abreu away with the fastball and changeup Thursday night, before Abreu launched a hanging slider. Abreu connected on another slider from Josh Outman for his fourth home run of the season.
Through his first 40 at-bats, Abreu really hadn't noticed a true pattern as to how he was being pitched.
"I haven't," said Abreu through translator and White Sox director of public relations Lou Hernandez. "The way I've been pitched to is they try to get me out, trying any way to get me out. And I need to work around that. I need to work hard to adjust to any adjustments they've made."
Southpaw starters getting the job done for Sox
CHICAGO -- Six 2014 White Sox contests had been started by left-handers prior to Chris Sale's Friday trip to the mound against the Indians. All six of those efforts from Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks were quality starts.
The White Sox have always held to the line that they simply want quality hurlers in their rotation, regardless of whether they are left- or right-handed. But having this trio of talented southpaws stands as a bonus for the South Siders.
"I don't think it stops there," Danks said. "You know certainly Felipe [Paulino] and Erik [Johnson] haven't gotten off to starts they wanted to and we all thought they would, but we have no doubts they are going to be right there pulling their own weight.
"But that's in the job description, going out there and keeping us in the ballgame and getting us deep. Save the bullpen, and so far so good."
Danks describes Sale as "undescribable, in that he does everything in terms of command and stuff." Quintana is pinpoint and moves the ball, according to Danks, and the wily veteran joked that he himself is just "trying to get by."
"No, I would like to be as consistent as those guys," Danks said. "I feel like I'm going to be. I haven't been quite as sharp as I would like to be. I know it's there and we'll get it right."
With Sale (possibly under control through 2019) and Quintana (possibly under control through 2020) securely in the fold, the White Sox appear to have a solid starting one-two punch at the top of their rotation.
"Jose has been great, and he's going to anchor the staff with Chris for a long time," Danks said. "It's fun to watch those two work. They are different, but both get the job done.
"You got a real good feeling going into each game they start. We are going to be in the ballgame and the bullpen is not going to get worn out."
Rookie Nieto gets first 'real' hit
CHICAGO -- There was no wait for Adrian Nieto's second career hit Thursday night, when he singled to right field off Danny Salazar in the third inning of a 7-3 victory. The rookie's first hit started as a Mike Moustakas error on April 5 in Kansas City, but was overturned by MLB executive VP Joe Torre, giving Nieto his first hit -- a double.
He kept that baseball but did not get the baseball on Thursday night.
"I felt good not to have to wait if it was a hit or not," Nieto said. "It was a little odd. I talked to one of my summer ball coaches on the way over here today and he goes, 'Only that would happen to you.'
"It's the story of my life. Everything has been a challenge and has been different. But it is what it is and it's already in the books. It's cool."
Nieto has made both his starts with John Danks on the mound and caught Danks extensively during Spring Training. He thoroughly enjoys working with the energy and competitiveness coming from the veteran southpaw, but Nieto also hopes to give Tyler Flowers an occasional break with other pitchers.
"You know, with the bullpen, I feel more comfortable because on the days I'm not playing, I go down there and I catch them," Nieto said. "It's just like I said, it's repetition.
"The more I get in there and stuff like that, the more comfortable I start getting, and the more it becomes like it's a normal thing. Get in there little by little."
Ventura: 'Resilient' is early word for Sox
CHICAGO -- When asked for the early identity of his 2014 White Sox, manager Robin Ventura went with the word "resilient."
"If we get down, we can come back. We didn't necessarily have that last year," Ventura said. "Offensively, we feel pretty good about being able to claw back into the game and take the lead."
Ventura understands that the resiliency he speaks of has to show more than once or twice to cultivate that feeling among the team.
"You can sit there and try to fool yourself into being one thing, but if it doesn't happen ... I see that with us, as far as early on being able to come back once you're down," Ventura said. "And that's something that has to happen more than once and you have to believe it."
Third to first
• Alexei Ramirez hit his second homer Thursday night, a number he didn't reach until Aug. 9 last year against the Twins in his 113th game.
• Abreu stands as the first rookie in franchise history with two four-plus RBI efforts within his first eight Major League games.
• Daniel Webb picked up his first hold of the season against the Indians Thursday.