8/3/2014 12:17 A.M. ET
Routine biggest part of Abreu's rookie success
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The word routine constantly has been provided as an explanation for Jose Abreu's immense first-year success with the White Sox. It's a strange description because there is nothing routine concerning Abreu's on-field excellence.
But the routine being talked about in this instance centers on how Abreu, whose 21-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-3 (two walks) showing in Saturday night's 8-6 loss to the Twins, prepares for a game. As Abreu, who has hit safely in 39 of his last 41 games, explained through interpreter and White Sox director of public relations Lou Hernandez on Saturday, that important routine is all encompassing.
"Everything in general. Everything from when I wake up in my apartment to when I get here to my routine after a game," Abreu said. "All those things are important.
"There are several routines I have. Understanding going into this season that it was going to be a long season, we've had some great moments and some not so great moments. The important thing is understanding that you have to keep to your routines and mentally stay focused for a long season."
White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson brought up an example of Abreu's routine and how he has been able to adjust it throughout the course of the longest season of his professional baseball career. Abreu used to hit in the first group during batting practice but came to Steverson somewhere around mid-June and asked if he could hit in the third group.
Abreu's reasoning was that he wanted to take his swings closer to the game. Staying steady with this routine has helped Abreu combat the unknown of many opposing pitchers, as well as the peaks and valleys of his rookie campaign.
"His whole world is wrapped up in a solid, good thought process," Steverson said. "He comes out, he walks the field, I've watched him walk the field before he comes in. Sometimes I'll come in, I'll walk down to the cage and he's already hitting off a tee, which is great -- whatever your mind needs to get prepared to go to competition, I'm all in.
"You look at where he came from in Cuba, and they don't play every day, but they practice a lot. You can get a pretty good regimen or develop a very good routine where you don't particularly play 100 some odd games every year down there. I'm pretty sure that's where the work ethic came from on the get-go, and as a hitting guy, you're happy the guy's got one, a good one that makes him be where he needs to be."
Eaton back to basics with broken finger
CHICAGO -- The broken middle finger that Adam Eaton sustained on his right hand before the All-Star break in Boston actually has helped the leadoff man's offensive game.
Eaton has focused on punching the ball and getting on base, leaving the power swings and extra-base hits for Jose Abreu, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and others.
"You use your top hand, my bottom hand hasn't been functioning that well," said Eaton, who entered Saturday hitting .421 over his last 18 games. "But I'm just putting the bat on the ball and running like crazy. That's all you can do."
Learning his role as a leadoff hitter also has made a difference in Eaton's approach. He admits to not having that much experience doing the job until he reached Double-A competition in 2011.
"Everyone wants to be the guy that hits 40 doubles in a year and wants to hit 10-plus homers," Eaton said. "But sometimes the best thing a leadoff hitter can do is keep the line moving and let the guys behind you drive you in.
"You are going to learn with the more games you play. That's the fact of baseball. Every day you take something away from the field and I definitely believe the finger kind of helped the process."
Eaton went 4-for-5 with three doubles and a run scored during Saturday night's 8-6 loss to the Twins.
Lindstrom, Garcia get back in action at Triple-A
CHICAGO -- Matt Lindstrom and Avisail Garcia had successful starts to their Minor League injury rehab stints Friday night with Triple-A Charlotte.
Lindstrom, the veteran right-handed reliever, worked one inning during the suspended Knights' contest from the night before. He allowed one run on one hit with one walk, throwing eight of his 16 pitches for strikes.
"I felt pretty good. I was a little apprehensive with the mound being a little bit wet, but everything felt as close to normal as I think it's going to feel," Lindstrom told reporters in Charlotte after his effort. "I've put a lot of hard work in to try to get back to this point. I made most of my pitches. I was a little disappointed in some of my breaking stuff.
"But I think that had a little to do with the rain. Overall, it was a good test."
Surgery to repair a tendon sheath in Lindstrom's left ankle has left him out of action since suffering the injury on May 19. He will pitch every other day for the Knights and could join the White Sox on their next road trip to Seattle and San Francisco, beginning Thursday.
Garcia, who finished 2-for-4 with two singles in Friday's regularly-scheduled game and had three more singles in Saturday's victory, is working his way back from a torn labrum and avulsion fracture in his left shoulder suffered on April 9 in Colorado while diving for a fly ball. Garcia started as a designated hitter and will work his way into the Knights' outfield, as he continues this unexpected comeback.
"It's tough when you've been out that long to just get it back," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Garcia's extended rehab. "Even though you're out here doing stuff all the time and you're around it, once you're in the game, it's a lot different than just taking batting practice."
Third to first
• Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire had an even better idea to neutralize Abreu as opposed to simply pitching around him.
"Well, we're thinking about trying to slip in a few more defenders in the outfield," Gardenhire said.
• Ventura had no interest in watching a replay of the broken leg sustained by Indiana Pacers star Paul George on Friday night, and it had nothing to do with Ventura's gruesome right ankle compound fracture sustained sliding into home during Spring Training, '97.
"I don't like watching car wrecks or anything else. It's just not something I want to see," Ventura said. "I don't need to watch any of that. You feel sorry for him. It's a freak accident, but I don't want to see it. I've had enough."
• Javy Guerra's victory Friday night marked his first Major League win since May 20, 2012 as part of the Dodgers and against the Cardinals.
• The southpaw starting trio of John Danks, Jose Quintana and Chris Sale have combined to go 25-14 with a 3.25 ERA and 343 strikeouts in 384 2/3 innings over 61 combined starts (44 quality) in 2014. Quintana is 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA in his last eight starts, and Sale is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in his last five.
• Jim Thome announced Saturday that he had signed an honorary one-day contract with Cleveland and officially would retire with the Indians. A Thome statue at Progressive Field was unveiled prior to Saturday night's Indians contest.
The popular Thome last played for the Orioles in 2012, but suited up for the White Sox from 2006-09 and hit 134 of his 612 homers for the South Siders before being traded to the Dodgers in '09. His mammoth solo blast in the 1-0 playoff victory over the Twins to capture the 2008 AL Central title on Sept. 30, known as The Blackout Game, is one of the more famous clouts in franchise history.
Thome currently serves as a special assistant to general manager Rick Hahn.