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Rays manager: Abreu changes White Sox's lineup

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Apr 29 2014 01:27:30 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 29 2014 01:27:30 AM CDT

CHICAGO -- The accolades keep rolling in for White Sox rookie first baseman Jose Abreu, who was selected the American League's Co-Player of the Week on Monday.

Abreu, who shared the honor with Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, hit .310 with five home runs in 29 at-bats last week. He drove in an AL-best 14 runs, scored eight runs and posted an .862 slugging percentage. Abreu, 27, also set major league rookie records for home runs (10) and RBIs (32) in the month of April.

He hit homers in back-to-back games April 22-23 in Detroit and drove in a career-high six runs Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays with his third multi-homer game.

One of those home runs was a game-ending grand slam in the ninth inning. In the series finale Monday, Abreu went 2-for-4 and drove in a run to tie Albert Belle for third-most RBIs in team history in a single month.

"They're a different ballclub with their guy in the middle (Abreu)," Rays manager Joe Maddon said before Monday's game, which Chicago won 7-3. "The guy at first base makes all the difference. One guy can make that kind of an impact on a team."

Asked if he could recall another player who made such a quick difference for a team, Maddon wasted no time listing some big names.

"You know, when Detroit acquires Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout surfaces in Anaheim," Maddon said. "There's always these prodigy kinds of players out there that when they show up, it's a combination of great work ethic and calm and ability to go out there and perform. That's what I see with (Abreu). I've heard about his work ethic. He's extremely calm. Coming where he came from and what he's probably seen before he got here ... 30,000 people is not going to bother him. Plus, he probably doesn't understand them anyway. So, it all works in his favor. Plus he's really talented. He's really talented."

Abreu is also determined to push his performance levels ever further.

"If anything my expectations, will get higher, get better from here," he said through an interpreter. "Baseball is a game where you have highs and lows, and that's the way it goes. If anything, I would expect the expectations to get better."

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