White Sox

White Sox slugger Jose Abreu reunited with son: 'I'm very happy'

White Sox slugger Jose Abreu reunited with son: 'I'm very happy'

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.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

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.”

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.