White Sox

Jose Abreu in awe as MLB returns to Cuba for exhibition

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Jose Abreu in awe as MLB returns to Cuba for exhibition

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Abreu’s dad temporarily purchased a black and white television the last time a major league team played in Cuba.

They couldn’t afford to attend the 1999 contest between the Baltimore Orioles and the Cuban national team. But Abreu’s father wanted to be able to watch the game with his son, then 12 years old.

So it should come as no surprise that the slugger was awed on Tuesday to watch Cuba host the Tampa Bay Rays -- on color a television from the White Sox clubhouse. President Barack Obama attended the game at Estadio Latinoamericano as the United States and Cuba continue to improve diplomatic relations.

“I am in shock right now,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “If you slap my face, I can’t believe it. That’s something great. I think that we never thought that this could happen so soon. Yes, it’s a very special, I’m very happy because (Cuban Dayron Varona of the Rays) has the opportunity to play. I hope I have the same opportunity some day.”

[WATCH: Going Home: Jose Abreu's emotional return to Cuba]

The exhibition played is only the second between the countries since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. Abreu would have liked to have played but said he’s thrilled to have been part of Major League Baseball’s goodwill tour to Havana three months earlier. On that trip, Abreu had a chance to reunite with his son Dariel and see friends and family members he hadn’t seen since he left Cuba in 2013.

“The people in Cuba were expecting for this,” Abreu said. “They are huge baseball fans. They love baseball. This is a huge step for us, for people in Cuba and I want to thank again for President Obama for all of his kindness. He’s an outstanding man. For all the effort he has put into this, that’s huge for us.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Chris Bleck (ESPN 1000) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Ryan Pace’s offseason begins. Josh Sitton and Jerrell Freeman are gone, but what will he do with Kyle Fuller?

Plus, Rick Hahn joins Kap from Glendale, Ariz., to discuss the state of the White Sox rebuild, how tough it is to keep their best prospects in the minors and why Jose Abreu is so important for his young team?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

The White Sox three outfield prospects are creating a lot of buzz at spring training.

On this edition of the podcast, Micker Adolfo tells Chuck Garfien about a conversation they all had about one day becoming the starting outfield for the White Sox. Adolfo talks about his longtime friendship with Eloy Jimenez, his impressions of Luis Robert, Luis Basabe and the White Sox future.

But first, it's a conversation with MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez who has great insight on many of the White Sox players: Jimenez, Robert, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu. He tells an amazing story about why Jimenez decided to sign with the Cubs when he was a teenager, how much Abreu is revered in Cuba and much more.

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.