- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO – If everybody in the Chicago White Sox organization wasn’t familiar with the name of minor league pitcher Bradley Salgado, they are now after Saturday’s simulated game at U.S. Cellular Field.
Salgado sent a chill down everybody’s spine when he hit Jose Abreu with a pitch above the left elbow during the second at-bat of the exercise designed to get Abreu at-bats in preparation for his return to the major league roster Monday.
Abreu has been out since May 18 with tendinitis in his left ankle and was going the simulated-game route instead of being sent out on a minor league rehab assignment at one of the lower-level affiliates. The appeal of the simulated game is that it allows the White Sox to control the setting, but nobody was expecting what ultimately happened.
Salgado is a 22-year-old right-hander who was originally selected as a shortstop in the 38th round of the 2010 first-year player draft. After batting .179 in three seasons as an infielder in the White Sox’s system, he was converted to a pitcher last year.
Salgado is one of four minor league pitchers on hand for simulated games Saturday and Sunday. Abreu alternated at-bats with Marcus Semien, while Paul Konerko came to the plate at the tail end of the session.
When Abreu was hit during his second at-bat, manager Robin Ventura was doing his daily pregame media session with reporters, pausing during an answer to a question when he saw what happened. Executive vice president Kenny Williams observed the moment from the top step of the dugout.
Abreu hopped out of the batting-practice cage and was doubled over in pain holding his arm. He was tended to by trainer Herm Schneider but returned to take his next turn in the cage, only this time with a pad on his left arm.
After he was finished throwing, Salgado came over to shake Abreu’s hand and Abreu game him a reassuring pat on the back. When the simulated game was over, Salgado again expressed remorse with another shake of Abreu’s hand.
In about nine to 10 at-bats, Abreu hit the ball hard at times and appeared to be running well on the bases. His best hit was a line drive to center field that hit the warning track and hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double.
A second simulated game session will take place Sunday, with the White Sox continuing to say that Abreu is on track to return Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Los Angeles against the Dodgers.