Chicago Sun-Times - - SOX BEAT - BY BRIAN SANDALOW | @bri­ansan­dalow

Af­ter some un­cer­tainty, the White Sox are re­turn­ing to game ac­tion Satur­day.

What’s still un­clear is whether vet­eran pitcher Dal­las Keuchel’s strong words had any in­flu­ence on their re­cent vic­to­ries.

The Sox will face the Car­di­nals in a dou­ble­header com­prised of seven-in­ning games af­ter their meet­ing Fri­day was post­poned. Lu­cas Gi­olito will start the first matchup, and the sec­ond will be a bullpen game against the Car­di­nals, who will be play­ing for the first time since July 29 be­cause of a coro­n­avirus out­break.

“It is very dif­fi­cult to think about that,” first base­man Jose Abreu said Fri­day through a trans­la­tor, re­fer­ring to the Car­di­nals’ re­turn af­ter seven play­ers and sev­eral other staff mem­bers tested pos­i­tive. “I don’t think we are in a po­si­tion to judge any­body. I think, as a team, we are afraid, we have con­cerns. But MLB and all the pro­to­cols that have been put into place — with St. Louis, they are giv­ing them the green light. That’s good . . . . I think we just have to take care of our­selves and pro­tect our­selves and do the best we can un­der these cir­cum­stances.”

For Abreu, that might mean wear­ing a gaiter scarf or some other cov­er­ing, though he wasn’t sure he’d do it be­cause he finds it dif­fi­cult to play with a face mask.

“Def­i­nitely I will try to pro­tect my­self,” Abreu said. “We all have to.”

To com­pen­sate for the ex­tra day off, the Sox worked out Fri­day at Guar­an­teed Rate Field. Man­ager Rick Ren­te­ria men­tioned the Mar­lins’ strong re­turn af­ter their own coro­n­avirus out­break as a rea­son not to take the Car­di­nals for granted this week­end.

As for safety, Ren­te­ria said the team isn’t con­cerned.

“We’ve con­tin­ued to kind of tighten up our­selves as well,” he said. “At this point, I haven’t heard any con­cerns from any­body.”

On Mon­day, Keuchel voiced a dif­fer­ent kind of con­cern af­ter a 5-1 loss in Detroit. In pointed com­ments to re­porters that echoed what he told the Sox pri­vately, Keuchel said some of his team­mates were go­ing through the mo­tions. He said the Sox looked flat and were get­ting “very sub­par play from ev­ery­body.”

What fol­lowed were a pair of wins over the Tigers on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day. But Abreu wasn’t will­ing to link Keuchel’s crit­i­cism to the vic­to­ries.

“I don’t think the team re­sponded the way we did be­cause of Dal­las’ words,” Abreu said. “I think we just did what we were sup­posed to do and we won those two games. We are try­ing to win ev­ery sin­gle game . . . . And if peo­ple think it dif­fer­ently, that’s fine. But I think we as play­ers are just try­ing to do the job we know we can do and we are sup­posed to do.”

Pressed fur­ther, Abreu said he did ap­pre­ci­ate the con­ver­sa­tion Keuchel had with the group.

“It’s not a se­cret that the first game in Detroit wasn’t one of our best games,” he said. “That was a bad game for us. But it wasn’t be­cause we didn’t want to do good. It just was one of those games where we couldn’t do bet­ter in that par­tic­u­lar time.

“The next two days, we did per­form, and we did what we were sup­posed to do. Then that’s why I think there’s no rea­son for peo­ple to put the spot­light on what Dal­las said, be­cause we won the last two games. I think we would do it ei­ther way.”

NOTE: No time­lines have been set for starters Car­los Rodon (sore left shoul­der) or Rey­naldo Lopez (sore right shoul­der) to re­turn. Rick Ren­te­ria said Lopez would throw two in­nings in a side ses­sion Fri­day. ✶


Jose Abreu may or may not play with a face cov­er­ing when the Sox host the Car­di­nals in their post-out­break re­turn Satur­day.


Sox pitcher Dal­las Keuchel didn’t mince words when he called out team­mates for lack­lus­ter ef­fort af­ter a loss Mon­day. They won their next two games, but Jose Abreu doesn’t think Keuchel was the cat­a­lyst.

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