Jose Abreu was in visible pain after being hit in the left knee by a JT Chargois pitch during today’s 3-2 White Sox loss to the Mariners, but the reigning AL MVP appears to have avoided a worst-case scenario. The Sox announced that Abreu had suffered a bruised knee, and that x-rays were negative.
Abreu had to be removed for a pinch-runner after his HBP in the sixth inning of the first game of the doubleheader, and obviously wasn’t in Chicago’s lineup for Game 2. Andrew Vaughn replaced Abreu at first base and Yasmani Grandal played first in the second game, and these two are likely to see the bulk of first-base duties while Abreu is recovering, or if a stint on the 10-day injured list is ultimately required.
As MLB.com’s Scott Merkin notes, Abreu has had to deal with several minor injuries this season, which could explain his dropoff in production from his big 2020 campaign. Abreu’s 111 wRC+ is still above average, but is hitting a comparatively modest .244/.323/.435 with 12 home runs over an even 300 plate appearances. It’s fair to wonder (as White Sox manager Tony La Russa recently did) whether or not these accumulated knocks were taking their toll on Abreu, since he entered today’s action with only a .523 OPS and one homer over his last 98 PA. It could be that the Sox decide a 10-day IL stint is warranted even if the knee bruise isn’t overly serious, just to give Abreu some time to recharge for the second half of the season.
If Abreu does have to miss time, it would represent yet another significant loss to Chicago’s starting lineup. The team’s entire projected starting outfield (Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Adam Eaton) are on the injured list, as well as backups Adam Engel and Billy Hamilton. As well, second baseman Nick Madrigal’s season is already over after undergoing hamstring surgery. After the loss in the first half of today’s doubleheader, the White Sox have dropped seven of their last eight games, reducing their lead in the AL Central to two games over the Indians.