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Melky Cabrera eager to lead, ready to win with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Melky Cabrera’s second half helped him emerge as a clubhouse leader during his first year with the White Sox. When the left fielder, signed to a $42 million, three-year deal last offseason, got off to a rough start — he had 12 extra-base hits during his first three months — he found it tough to have much of a vocal presence.

Cabrera performed much better at the plate during the second half (.287/.326/.456 slash line), posting numbers more in line with his career. It allowed him to come out of his shell, show his personality and surface as a clubhouse leader. He finished with a .273 average, .314 on-base percentage and .394 slugging percentage. He hit 12 homers, 36 doubles and drove in 77 runs.

Cabrera said he had signed with the Sox to win. A 76-86 season was not what he had in mind.

“I have very high expectations for this team,” he said on the day of the Sox’ first full squad workout at spring training Tuesday.

Cabrera said he’s here to work on all phases of his game “and to help the other guys.””I’m here to win. I want to win and that’s our goal this year,” he said. “[The lineup is] going to be good with all the additions, Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie, and especially with the two catchers [Alex] Avila and [Dioner] Navarro. They are very good additions for us because they have experience and they know the league. We’re in a very good position right now.”

Cabrera played with Lawrie in 2013 and 2014 with the Toronto Blue Jays.“He’s a very good player but what I like most is his energy,” Cabrera said. “He’s very energetic and I’m very excited to play with him.”