HOUSTON -- Thursday's off-day for the White Sox allowed Jose Abreu time to fully rest his sore left ankle. The respite also gave manager Robin Ventura a chance to change his mind.
Ventura had intended to give Abreu Friday off, presenting the slugger with a two-day break. But Abreu did not want to sit, and with Abreu feeling better, Ventura chose to once again start him at designated hitter.
"That's the good news when we have an off-day," Ventura said. "You can change your mind. He felt he's getting better and he doesn't want to sit. And he's a pretty good hitter. That helps you make your decision."
"Being completely off worked out pretty good," Abreu said through interpreter and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "We did talk about maybe having a day off, but I don't really like to have many days off unless it's completely necessary. Then you get out of your rhythm and your routine."
Abreu entered Friday's action leading the Majors with 15 homers, 27 extra-base hits, 103 total bases and an 11.07 at-bats/homer ratio. He also ranked second with 41 RBIs and a .620 slugging percentage.
The White Sox have cut back some of Abreu's early pregame work to facilitate greater health for the left ankle. Although Abreu follows a strict daily routine that has helped produce this rookie success, he does not seem bothered by the change.
"You have to understand if something is bothering you physically, you have to take care of that and adjust your routine," Abreu said. "At the same time, you have to be mentally strong and tough to keep your confidence and go on. You are doing a little bit less than before."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.