KANSAS CITY -- Jose Abreu wore a look of exhaustion and elation as he walked through the visiting clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
He’d spent much of the previous 36 hours in transit, first from Chicago to Miami and then to Kansas City. He’d also barely slept at all on Monday night.
And yet, none of that matters.
Abreu spent all of Monday at home in Miami and in the pool with his 5-year-old son, Dariel, who arrived Sunday for a month-long visit from Cuba. It’s the first time since December Abreu has seen his son, whose face and birthdate are tattooed on his left arm, and also marks the first time his only child has ever been to the United States.
“I’m very happy,” Abreu said through team interpreter, Billy Russo. “I’m very happy to have my son with me here. I want to thank everybody who was involved in that process to help me and to help him to be with me right now. It was a long process, but finally we did it and we are together again.”
While Abreu has lived in the United States since late 2013, Dariel has continued to stay with his mother in Cuba. Though foreign relations have recently improved between the United States and Cuba, Abreu still isn’t allowed to freely travel back and forth between the two countries.
He was able to return to the island nation in December as part of a Major League Baseball goodwill tour at which time he reunited with his son. Until Sunday, Abreu hadn’t been able to bring his son to visit despite attempts for the past 2 1/2 seasons.
Now, however, the two can visit more often as Dariel received a travel visa that doesn’t expire for five years.
“Yesterday was a very special moment when I saw him and we were reunited at my house,” Abreu said. “It was a very special moment for me and for him too. I’m very, very happy right now.
“I couldn’t say anything. I just started crying. I couldn’t say anything to him in that moment.”
Abreu credited his agents for their role in arranging the trip. Though it was in the planning stages for some time, Abreu didn’t believe it would happen until he learned Dariel had arrived in Miami on Sunday. Manager Robin Ventura said Abreu’s excitement over seeing his son has been noticeable.
“You can tell he’s got a little bounce in his step,” Ventura said. “He has been dreaming for this a long time. You can just tell it has picked his spirits up as of late knowing this was going to happen. He’s happy.”
While Abreu rejoined the White Sox on Tuesday, Dariel stayed in Miami with his grandparents. Abreu said his mother, Daisys, is “the happiest person in the world.”
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The club travels to Miami and opens a three-game series against the Marlins on Friday night. Abreu plans to bring Dariel to the stadium with him, where he’ll see his father play live for the first time ever -- though Abreu insists that isn’t a big deal to Dariel.
“He wants to see me play, but he’s more excited to be with me,” Abreu said.
That included a family sleepover on Monday night. Abreu said he, his wife, Dariel and their two dogs all slept in bed on Monday, which meant no sleep for the slugger. But none of that matters right now.
“I couldn’t believe it until yesterday when I finally saw him,” Abreu said. “That was a very special moment. I’m very thankful to all the people who were involved in this.”