A number of factors -- security concerns chiefly among them -- prevented Jose Abreu from sharing about his support system in the United States when the White Sox signed him in October.
His extreme reticence was understandable, and over the following months, he's been able to reveal a little bit more about his personality and personal life. For instance, we knew he was married, but information you'd take for granted took a little longer to come in.
Thanks to this terrific article and short feature video by MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, we also know that Abreu has a son. Sadly, he's still in Cuba.
"Happy? I don’t know if I’m happy right now, but I’m content with where I am," Abreu said in Spanish. "I’ll be happy when my family gets to the United States, when my son gets here, and we are all together. I’m definitely not satisfied just being here. I know this is the next chapter for all of us, and I’m going to keep working hard to make it a good one."
As with many Cuban players in the big leagues, the details of Abreu’s escape from his island remain mostly unknown and mysterious. He and his wife, Yusmary, are believed to have left Cuba in the middle of the night sometime last summer and made their way to Haiti to begin Abreu’s process of becoming eligible to sign with a Major League club. Abreu was courted by several teams, but he eventually signed a six-year, $68 million deal with the White Sox in October. He is expected to be the successor to Paul Konerko at first base.
"For me, I had just one thought: I wanted to provide my mom, sister, my kid, my dad with things I couldn’t provide them in Cuba," said Abreu, who is from Cienfuegos. "Especially, I thank mom for my life, so now it’s the time for me to work for her. So I keep on working every day, and I don’t get tired of it. Working every day, every hour, every minute is the best way for me to have God provide me with the things I can hope for and I deserve."
I highly recommend reading the article, as well as the 11-minute video below. It certainly fills out his persona a bit more, but it also supplies a reason why he focuses on baseball even when he's not supposed to.
And before we leave the topic of Abreu and the medium of video, the White Sox posted a view of Abreu's infield single from Daryl Boston's GoPro camera.
- Yankees can use surplus at catcher to upgrade infield - New York Post
- Hahn likes what he sees, wants to boost White Sox’ catching corps - Chicago Sun-Times
White Sox scouts were on hand in Tampa to take in the Yankees game against Florida State, leading the New York Post to speculate on interest from Chicago in one of New York's young catchers. Rick Hahn downplayed the rumor, saying scouts are everywhere doing homework this time of year.
Before Abreu, there was Jose Contreras and Orlando Hernandez. Both of them were able to get settled in Chicago with some help from Maria Xiques-Lepko, a hair stylist who died on Feb. 16 at the age of 56 due to complications from cancer.
Adam Eaton says he wishes he knew the reason behind a couple of reports from Arizona kicked him out the door, but by all accounts, it isn't a problem with the White Sox so far. Doug Padilla even mentions ... you-know-who:
For some, the situation has recalled Nick Swisher's short stint with the White Sox and how the outgoing outfielder started to wear out his welcome. Eaton admits he doesn't know what kind of teammate Swisher is, but he does know that Swisher has delivered a productive career and in that sense he appreciated the comparison.
Matt Davidson says that he's outworking his reputation as a poor defensive third baseman. The Diamondbacks drafted him as a pitcher, so defensive mechanics like diving were alien to him. At this point, he says, "I feel like if people really look at what I am now, just say if I got drafted now, I don’t think that label would necessarily be on me."
While he's never been to Chicago, but he's heard it's "awesome." He did get a look at the 1983-inspired uniforms, and he said those are also "awesome."