Despite tough going for White Sox, Abreu stays confident
Amid 5-8 start, slugger maintains offseason goal of making postseason
CHICAGO -- In an offseason interview with MLB.com, Jose Abreu talked about preparing for more than just the 162-game regular season. He had his sights firmly set on the postseason, with the exceptional moves made by general manager Rick Hahn serving as an extra driving force.
Abreu's optimism hasn't changed through 13 games, though the White Sox leader understands the team's overall approach to the game has to change due to a rough start.
"We have to be more a unit, like a team -- the players, the coaches, everybody. Because we need to start playing well … better," said Abreu through interpreter and White Sox Spanish-language broadcaster Billy Russo. "I'm not disappointed for the start of the season.
"I have every confidence in this team. We still have over 140 games left. We just have to keep working."
Abreu talked about perhaps needing a team meeting at some point to talk about how the team has been doing and what it needs to be executing. But the first baseman doesn't feel it's his role to call such a meeting.
"No, no. It isn't my responsibility. I don't feel that way right now," Abreu said. "Probably if there is a moment when I see that the team needs it and I can make the first step, I can probably do it, but not right now."
In each of the first two games of their series against Cleveland, the White Sox did little offensively through the first seven innings. They rallied for four in the ninth off closer Cody Allen to erase a 3-0 deficit Monday, and they brought the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning Tuesday. The trick in establishing the team's identity is getting the offense going before its final two turns at bat.
"We have to start the game with that mentality and that fierceness to try to create opportunities, not just wait until the ninth inning to see what happens," Abreu said, "But I think that we are OK. I hope so. I am very confident that we will be OK at the end of the season."
"You can let outside stresses and all those insecurities in there," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "So you're trying to relieve those and let them play, and [make them] understand you believe in who they are and what their track record is. That's where guys forget who they are and how good they are."