Abreu already shown utmost respect

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
1:22
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The 2014 baseball season isn't even a week old -- not counting the Dodgers' and Diamondbacks' trek to Australia -- yet Jose Abreu's inclusion atop one American League statistical category is interesting.

[+] EnlargeJose Abreu
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJose Abreu apparently has already earned the respect of Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who chose to intentionally walk him twice.
Heading into play Thursday, Abreu was tied with the Seattle Mariners' Robinson Cano with two intentional walks.

Scoff if you'd like, but one AL manager has already afforded Abreu the respect given to seasoned veterans. Remember, Abreu is a rookie, who has never played outside of his native Cuba before joining the White Sox, and has never hit a home run in a major league or minor league regular-season game.

Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire decided to give Abreu both of his free passes in Wednesday's 11-inning game. His thinking was that he would rather face the strikeout-prone Adam Dunn with the game on the line than a rookie. And if that seems like a no-brainer, consider that both of those intentional walks came after Dunn had already hit a home run in Wednesday's game.

"Well, it's a lot of respect for having one game in the big leagues to be intentionally walked twice, but in that situation you can see why," manager Robin Ventura said. "They saw him the first day and they were impressed enough to take the bat out of his hands."

That first day was Opening Day when Abreu hit four line drives, one for a double to right field, one for an RBI single to left and two others that went for loud outs to center. He had a single to center field earlier in Wednesday's game.

Asked if he needed just one day to realize what Abreu was capable of doing, just like Gardenhire seemed to, Ventura danced around the question. He has been careful to not put lofty expectations on his new slugger and he wasn't about to start doing it now.

"You slow play it a little bit," Ventura said. "Don't put too much pressure on him. We know he's good, he knows he's good and again you let him show everybody. You just let his bat talk for him."

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
10 2.12 158 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAC. Gillaspie .306
HRJ. Abreu 32
RBIJ. Abreu 90
RJ. Abreu 66
OPSJ. Abreu .955
ERAC. Sale 2.12
SOC. Sale 158