Jose Abreu wants to become more of a leader and knows he must cross the language barrier to do so.
While he isn’t sure what steps he’ll take to improve his English, the White Sox slugger identified it as a top priority of the offseason. Many around the White Sox already consider Abreu to be a leader by example as his tireless work ethic is a model they’d like for all players to emulate. But Abreu -- who also has plans to get married on Nov. 28 -- would like to add his voice into the clubhouse equation and thinks it only could benefit the team.
“I want to be a leader and I know that for that, I have to learn the language,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “And that’s my focus for this offseason, it’s one of the things that I have on my list. I know if I can learn a little bit more of the language I can express myself in a better way with my teammates and my coaches. It’s going to help our relationship. It is good, but I think it could be much better. That’s the way I think I can express my leadership. I’m not just to be a leader as an example. I’ll try to say something.”
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From the moment he joined the White Sox, Abreu has stated he’d like to improve his English. While he has picked up some phrases, he still hasn’t grasped it the way he’d like. Asked how he intends to accomplish his goal, Abreu said it’s a work in progress but reiterated its importance.
“I don’t know how, I just know that I have to do something,” Abreu said.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura approves of Abreu’s message. He loves the example Abreu sets for other players and believes he leads in that fashion. But he always has noted how grasping English would be the final step for Abreu to become a full-fledged leader.
“It’s a good thing to hear because we know he operates,” Ventura said. “We know how he comes every day and how he prepares and how he plays the game. Any time a guy like thatwants to step up and lead up, we’re happy to hear that.”
Abreu also sounds as if he’d concede to play more games as the team’s designated hitter in the future if it benefits the team. This season, Abreu has appeared in 111 games at first base. He thanked Adam LaRoche for his help on the defensive side and reiterated his preference to play first base before he spoke about a possible arrangement in 2016.
“Looking forward to next season we have to do whatever we have to do to help this team to win,” Abreu said. “It doesn’t matter if there is something that, in the moment, we don’t like it. If you want to win, you have to do whatever the team needs you to do to win games.”