White Sox

Todd Frazier already sees White Sox building character

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Todd Frazier already sees White Sox building character

OAKLAND, Calif. - Todd Frazier’s first White Sox homer appeared to be a big one and he appropriately observed the moment.

Just as he neared first base after crushing a three-run homer on Tuesday night, Frazier stared into the White Sox dugout and wildly pumped his right arm. The blast on an 0-2 curveball from Oakland pitcher Chris Bassitt put the White Sox ahead in a game they eventually won 5-4 on a Jimmy Rollins’ ninth-inning solo shot. Frazier said he enjoyed the moment, which snapped a 10-inning scoreless streak for the White Sox offense.

[RELATED - Jimmy Rollins' blast lifts White Sox past A's 5-4]

“You’re down, and you hit a three-run home run,” Frazier said. “There’s nothing better than that, to get us back in there, get our pitcher going and away we went. There are a lot of good wins right now. Even though it’s only two, it’s character-building wins, and nobody is really talking about that one run Austin Jackson got for us. That was a big run. And then Jimmy coming through. That’s what we do. We pick each other up. Bottom line is when something goes wrong, somebody’s there to pick you up. And so far, even though it’s a small sample size, it’s nice to see.”

Frazier’s moment had to be a boost for Jose Abreu. Abreu faced Bassitt with two on and one out and struck out on a curveball in the dirt. Bassitt quickly got ahead of Frazier with two strikes before the third baseman went down and got in front of the pitch, resulting in the 399-foot blast to left center.

The homer is exactly the reason the White Sox parted with three players - including ballyhooed pitching prospect Frankie Montas - to get Frazier in a three-team deal in December. The hope is Frazier will add punch to a team that hit only 136 homers last season while offering protection for Abreu.

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Frazier earlier picked up his first White Sox hit with a fourth-inning single.

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jose Abreu didn’t come to the White Sox to be a leader. But that’s what he is as he took his spot among the best in baseball at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.

Abreu is the face of the South Side baseball club and he’s had a stellar-enough first four and a half seasons in Major League Baseball to earn the distinction of a starter in the Midsummer Classic. But Abreu, unsurprisingly, doesn’t look at himself as one of the best in the game. He looks as himself as a hard-worker.

“I don’t believe that I’m the best,” Abreu said through a team translator on Monday. “I’m just a person who likes to work hard every day and try to do my best.”

That humility is nothing new to folks who follow the White Sox on a regular basis. And neither is talk of Abreu’s work ethic, the admiration of everyone involved with the team and a constant talking point from Rick Hahn, Rick Renteria and all Abreu’s teammates.

Abreu has become as important for his off-the-field roles as he has for his on-the-field production for this rebuilding White Sox team. He’s been described as a role model for all the young players in the organization, whether they’re on the big league roster right now or coming up through the system.

“None of them have told me that yet,” Abreu joked. “But I know that. It’s definitely a compliment, and I take it as something that makes you feel good, something that makes you keep moving forward and to keep trying to help the guys to improve and get better as a team. You feel like that is a big honor, that people think that way of you.”

As good as he feels to be held in such esteem, Abreu didn’t set out to be one of this team’s leaders when he came to the United States. And to be honest, he might not be in his current position if it weren’t for the team’s rebuilding effort. Abreu is one of the few veterans on this team.

“That was something that happened. I didn’t look for it,” Abreu said. “I was always trying to help people and trying to give advice to help people to improve. But I never tried to be a leader. If people say that because of what I do, that’s good, but that’s not something that I’m trying to force or something that I say, ‘I want to be a leader.’ No, that’s not who I am. I am just the kind of person who likes to help people, who likes to give advice.”

Abreu is seemingly the definition of what the White Sox want their next winning roster to be full of. And whether it’s the special relationship he has with fellow Cuban Yoan Moncada or the role-model status he holds in the eyes of his other teammates, both current and future, he’s helping the White Sox develop those kinds of players.

Oh, and he’s generally — though this season has seen an extended slump and atypical numbers — one of the most consistently productive hitters in the game.

Who wouldn’t want all that as the face of the franchise?

“It’s all a blessing. I can’t ask for anything else,” Abreu said. “I’m a true believer that if you work hard, good things are going to happen. That’s why I work hard every day, I try to do my best, I try to improve every day and just to be a better person. Not just a better player, but a better person.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: American League All-Stars rave about Jose Abreu

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: American League All-Stars rave about Jose Abreu

With Jose Abreu playing in the All-Star Game, we asked some of his American League teammates about the White Sox first baseman. Justin Verlander, Craig Kimbrel and Michael Brantley rave about Abreu, explaining why he’s such a great hitter and a tough out for pitchers. 

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: