Jose Abreu, the consummate pro, presses forward with White Sox
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
Jose Abreu remains completely invested in yet another losing season — his fifth in a row — with the White Sox. It hasn’t altered Abreu’s hardworking approach to his job nor his desire to stay with the organization.
After the Sox were swept in a three-game series at home by the Yankees on Wednesday, Abreu stood up in his corner of the Sox’ clubhouse and reminded everyone to stay the course.
“What matters the most is we are moving forward in this process of teaching and developing the guys,” he said. “We are on the right path.”
His slump safely behind him, Abreu is back to being the hitter he has been since the Sox signed him to a six-year, $68 million contract before the 2014 season. Abreu has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games, batting .373 with seven home runs, six doubles and 15 RBI during that stretch.
An adjustment with his hands, keeping them freer and closer to his body, has helped.
“I feel completely different than how I was feeling probably for a month or month and a half,” he said. “I worked hard through a rough moment and had a lot of support from people around me, and that’s important. I learned a lot.
“I proved to myself that I’m able to overcome those situations, and now I’m just trying to enjoy this moment. At the same time, I’m trying to keep moving forward. I want to finish the season strong.’’
Abreu’s contract expires after 2019, and he’ll be 33 in 2020 and considerably older than the young players coming through the farm system — ranked third by MLB Pipeline and fourth by Baseball America — who are being counted on to lead the Sox to better days. Because of Abreu’s age, management would have to bank on more of the same production from a player in his mid-30s if it gives him an extension.
Manager Rick Renteria, for one, said Abreu is a player he would bank on.
“Only because I know the way he prepares and how he takes care of himself,’’ Renteria said. “He takes care of himself very, very well. He has a meticulous routine and understands when he’s going well, when he’s going badly. He knows what he needs to do to try to put himself on good footing.
“He’s also a guy that simply by example is able to do a lot for our players.’’
Not to mention produce in a lineup that doesn’t surround him with much protection.
“He’s doing what he’s doing in spite of that,’’ Renteria said.
Abreu’s leadership value has been noted and appreciated everywhere, including by Sox management as high up as chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. That doesn’t mean Abreu won’t be the subject of trade rumors this offseason as the Sox press forward with their rebuild.
In the meantime, Abreu (.269/.330/.487, 20 homers, 33 doubles, 67 RBI) will keep doing what he does, which is lead by example and with his bat as the 41-73 Sox play out their last 48 games. In Abreu’s first four seasons, the Sox were 73-89, 76-86, 78-84 and 67-95. This team is on pace to finish 58-104.
“It’s just a matter of keep grinding, keep learning and to keep moving forward, pushing the new guys to try to do their best,’’ Abreu said. “We have a lot of talent, and I think it’s going to be exciting to see this team play in the future.”future.”
White Sox’ all-time home-run leaderboard:
- Frank Thomas – 448
- Paul Konerko – 432
- Harold Baines – 221
- Carlton Fisk – 214
- Magglio Ordonez – 187
- Robin Ventura – 171
- Jermaine Dye – 164
- Bill Melton – 154
- Carlos Lee – 152
- Jose Abreu – 144