CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu's impending return could not be better timed for the Chicago White Sox.
Abreu is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Monday, the first day he is eligible to return after missing time due to posterior tibia tendonitis in his left ankle. It would be silly to assume Abreu will pick up where he left off before his ankle became more than a nuisance.
Abreu, who named the American League player and rookie of the month for April, was hitting .260 with 15 home runs and 42 RBIs when he landed on the DL. The Cuban slugger gets a nice welcome back to the lineup gift too. He will get to face Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on Monday.
"I think the rehab has gone really well," Abreu said through a translator. "I don't think there's any now. It's just playing now. But I don't think it will be a challenge with the way it's felt."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Abreu is at a good place mentally, though he obviously wasn't pleased about being stuck on the DL. Since Abreu didn't go on a rehab assignment so the White Sox could keep a close eye on his ankle, his timing at the plate may not be there right away, Ventura said.
"I think any time you miss a couple of weeks, you accumulate a little bit of rust and this certainly isn't going to be any exception," general manager Rick Hahn said. "Coming back against Clayton Kershaw is probably not ideal in terms of shaking off that rust. But after talking it over with him and Robin and the coaches, it makes most sense to get going (Monday)."
Although Abreu and Ventura both said there isn't any pressure on the 27-year-old rookie to jumpstart the White Sox's offense with his return, there is no doubt Abreu returning to the heart of the lineup will bolster an offense that is averaging two runs during its last six games.