White Sox

Jose Abreu explains why he is in 'a great position' despite All-Star absence

Jose Abreu explains why he is in 'a great position' despite All-Star absence

OAKLAND, Calif. — He may not be an All-Star, but Jose Abreu is unquestionably in a better place than he was one year ago.

The White Sox slugger said on Saturday morning one reason he’s rebounded this season is he’s focused too much on the present to spend time worrying about the past. A year removed from the worst stretch of his pro career, Abreu has rediscovered the form that made him the runaway winner for the 2014 American League Rookie of the Year award. He belted his 16th home run of the season on Tuesday as the White Sox fell to the Oakland A’s 7-6. Abreu, who finished 1-for-5 with three RBIs, is on pace to drive in 100 runs for a fourth straight season.

“I don’t like to turn back the page, I like to turn the page forward,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “It was a tough situation for me last year. I’m glad I’ve overcome all those situations. I’m in a great position right now. I’m playing more like I know I can play. I’m doing my best. I’m glad for all the people who supported to me in that tough moment. I’m just glad to be at this point and doing my best.”

Abreu has contended since March he’s in a “much better place” this season.

The first baseman endured his share of trying times last year, especially off the field. He learned of the arrest of his trainer and close friend Julio Estrada last April for Estrada’s involvement in the smuggling case that helped bring Abreu to the United States in late 2013. Abreu also was informed he would have to testify in the case, though he’d be granted immunity for his participation. Beyond that, Abreu wondered if he’d ever be reunited with his young son, Dariel, who he’d only seen once since escaping Cuba.

Abreu headed into the 2016 All-Star break with 11 home runs and a .756 OPS. At that point he was only two weeks into a 32-game homerless stretch that ended on Aug. 4.

But Abreu has since been reunited with his son, who visits again next week, and testified in the trial in March.

Those developments have freed Abreu up and his play would suggest it to be the case. Through Saturday, Abreu is hitting .292/.340/.515 with 16 homers and 58 RBIs in 82 games. He didn’t drive in his 58th run of 2016 until his 107th game.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Changeup played big role in Carlos Rodon's 'confidence' inspiring start]

The White Sox have benefitted from Abreu’s improved play. Saturday was the 40th time in which the White Sox have scored five or more runs this season. Last season, the White Sox scored five or more runs only 67 times.

“It’s a big impact,” manager Rick Renteria said. “All of our guys have started to pick it up. (Todd Frazier), (Abreu), (Avisail Garcia) has been consistent all season. We’ve had output from guys nobody expected that we hoped would give us some, (Yolmer Sanchez) and (Matt) Davidson. All through the lineup everybody doing their thing and giving us moments. They continue to grind and play. Abreu’s consistency has been impactful. They just feed on each other.”

They root each other on, too.

Abreu has shown only love for Garcia, who two days ago was named the team’s lone All-Star representative. Abreu has championed Garcia’s accomplishment, stepping into his interview on Monday afternoon to inform reporters that Garcia was “happy, happy, happy” to be headed to Miami for next week’s exhibition.

Even though his numbers have been All-Star worthy as well, Abreu is content to be in a good spot. After all, he’ll also be in Miami, hanging out with his son and the rest of his family, including wife, Yusmary, who is due in October.

“(The All-Star Game) is not a disappointment,” Abreu said. “I’m realistic and I know there are a lot of players that have better stats than me. I’m glad for them to go. I did my best and I’m just working hard to help my team win games. I’ve had the experience. I experienced it three years ago. No regrets for me.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

In Part 2 of "Ask Us Anything" we answer the following questions: Who will be the biggest free agent the White Sox sign this off-season? What are the chances they trade Avi Garcia before the deadline? What's your assessment so far of Luis Robert?  Who's on your all-time busted prospect list? Is Omar Vizquel the next White Sox manager? Would the 1994 White Sox have won the World Series if there wasn't a strike?  What's the long term plan at third base? These questions and many more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

If you missed Part 1 of 'Ask Us Anything', you can listen to the full episode here 

Listen to the full Part 2 of 'Ask Us Anything' at this link or in the embedded player below: 

 

White Sox catching prospect mentioned in some elite company

White Sox catching prospect mentioned in some elite company

White Sox catching prospect Zack Collins is being talked about in some elite company after a recent accomplishment.

Collins participated in the Southern League Home Run Derby in Double-A earlier this evening for the Birmingham Barons, and he secured his first career home run derby win.

Now, this is cool, thanks to NBC Sports Chicago’s stats guru Chris Kamka: Dating way back to 1895, Babe Ruth was born on Feb. 6, 1895. Collins was born on the same day as Ruth, but 100 years later.

It’s still way too early to make any sort of comparisons, but it’s a fun way to connect the two.

Collins so far this season is hitting .267 with 9 HR, 33 RBI’s and 59 BB in 62 games. Those walks lead the Southern League. The next highest is 39.

Collins is hitting much better than he did when he was with Single-A Winston-Salem last season. Collins hit a mere .233 in 101 games.

Think about this too. Rick Hahn mentioned several White Sox prospects will get promotions in the coming days. Could this mean Collins will get his opportunity? We’ll just have to wait and see.