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'Tired' Jose Abreu gets DH duties

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu was back in the starting lineup for the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, but as the designated hitter.

And manager Robin Ventura said it might be that way for both games of the day-night twinbill against the Detroit Tigers.

Abreu appeared to have some leg discomfort, perhaps in the upper hamstring area early in Friday’s game and was removed in the ninth inning with the Tigers well in control of an eventual 7-1 victory.

Asked about Abreu’s leg issues Saturday morning, Ventura was vague about it.

“I think he’s just tired,” Ventura said. “You get to a point in the season where you’re playing so many games. It’s his first time through it, so I think he’s reacting to it for the first time. Just talking to him, he understands it. He still wants to play.”

Abreu admitted Friday that the mounting losses have been disappointing, but that he remains focused on being productive through the end of the season.

The 27-year-old appears to have the American League rookie of the year locked up, as he entered Saturday leading baseball in slugging percentage (.603) and is in a three-way tie for second in home runs with 33, one behind Nelson Cruz of the Baltimore Orioles.

“He’s still competitive and wants to be out there and play against the best players,” Ventura said. “We’re just DHing him and trying to give him little breaks when you can. Like last night, you take him out late and give him a little breather, and even today, he might DH both games.”