White Sox-Dodgers Preview
Fortunately for the Chicago White Sox, their slugging first baseman is ready to return.
Abreu will be activated from the disabled list before the White Sox open a three-game road set against Puig and the slumping Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.
It didn't take long for Abreu to make his presence felt in Chicago, belting 10 homers to go with 32 RBIs through the end of April to set big-league rookie records in both categories. Abreu was leading the majors with 15 long balls on May 17 before hitting the shelf with inflammation in his left ankle.
"I'm anxious to get started," he told MLB's official website through an interpreter. "There's really no limitations."
Abreu will be thrown into the fire against two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw (3-2, 3.57 ERA). The left-hander is 6-3 with a 2.67 ERA in 17 interleague starts, including a 0.75 ERA in his last three.
"Coming back against Clayton Kershaw is probably not ideal in terms of shaking off that rust," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said of Abreu. "But after talking it over with him and (manager) Robin (Ventura) and the coaches, it makes most sense to get going (Monday).
"Again, there's going to be a little rust, but it has only been a couple of weeks and he should be able to shake it off pretty quick."
Now Abreu goes against Puig in the majors for the first time. Puig, batting .426 with nine extra-base hits over the last 13 games, ranks second in the majors with a .347 average. He's reached base in 33 straight, the longest active streak in the majors.
"He plays hard, he goes 100 percent every time," Abreu said. "That's part of the spectacle, that's what people come to see."
Fans also come to see Kershaw, who has split his last two outings but pitched well in both. He gave up three runs and struck out nine over seven innings in Wednesday's 3-2 loss to Cincinnati.
Kershaw is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two matchups against Chicago and has had major trouble with Adam Dunn, who has gone 8 for 13 against him with four homers and two doubles. Dunn, though, is homerless in his last eight games while batting .120.
Despite his struggles, the White Sox (29-29) have won four of six. Paul Konerko and Tyler Flowers homered and Chris Sale threw a two-hitter as Chicago defeated San Diego 4-1 in just over two hours Sunday.
"You couldn't draw it up any better for a getaway day," Konerko said. "Easy, quick win. That was good."
The White Sox now turn to Jose Quintana (3-4, 3.61), who has given up three runs or fewer in seven straight starts. He allowed two over six innings to beat Cleveland in a 6-2 victory last Monday.
Quintana received a combined 15 runs of support in his previous eight starts while going 1-4.
"It's great to give Q some run support," third baseman Conor Gillaspie said. "He's a guy that goes out there every time, he's a fighter, he's a bulldog out there."
Quintana threw eight scoreless innings in a 2-1, 10-inning loss at Dodger Stadium on June 17, 2012, in his lone appearance in the series. The left-hander is 3-2 with a 2.29 ERA in nine career starts against the NL, receiving less than three runs of support in all but one.
The Dodgers (30-28) have dropped four of five after falling 5-3 to Pittsburgh on Sunday. Justin Turner went 2 for 3 with a homer and two RBIs and Puig added two more hits, but the rest of the team was 2 for 26.
Turner is batting .379 with three homers, seven RBIs and 10 runs over a nine-game stretch.
Los Angeles is 6-12 against Chicago in the regular season.