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Abreu aims to be running man for White Sox

Veteran slugger also hopes to finish his career with club
MLB.com @JesseSanchezMLB

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Abreu wants the green light. A few of them, actually.

He needs permission to steal more bases in 2018, he wants to keep his new beard, and in the long term, he's also open to finishing his career with the White Sox.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Abreu wants the green light. A few of them, actually.

He needs permission to steal more bases in 2018, he wants to keep his new beard, and in the long term, he's also open to finishing his career with the White Sox.

"I'm really happy to have an opportunity to make my mom's dream come true to see me play in the Major Leagues," Abreu said on Sunday. "I hope to play my whole career in the Majors with the White Sox, but I can't control that."

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Last season, the 30-year-old first baseman hit .304 with 33 home runs, 43 doubles, 102 RBIs, 95 runs scored and a .906 OPS. He is the third player in Major League history to begin his career with four or more consecutive seasons of 25-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs, joining Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio (1936-41) and Albert Pujols (2001-10).

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While the numbers don't tell the entire story of Abreu's career, they do give some insight into how he has grown from being a legend in Cuba into one of the most recognizable figures in the game worldwide.

"Since I came to this country, I learned three keys to be a success," he said. "First, you need discipline, [and also] work hard and be always on time. If you apply those three keys, I think you're going to be good. Those are the three keys I try to teach the new kids and the young guys."

Here are a few other statistics to consider: Abreu showed up at camp 15 pounds lighter and is focused on being a better defender. He's serious about become a basestealer, even though he has stolen only six bases in his career.

"I really believe I can do it and I like the challenge," Abreu said. "I like to challenge myself and I think that's a good challenge for me, and I'm ready for it."

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Off the field, Abreu has come to realize the terms associated with the business of baseball. Last month, Abreu agreed to terms on a one-year contract for $13 million. In November, he opted out of the six-year, $68 million deal he signed prior to the 2014 season, with three years and $34 million left on the contract.

Because the White Sox are in the second year of a rebuild, Abreu's name has been mentioned in trade rumors.

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"Everyone knows that things happen with every club in Major League Baseball and you always have to make an adjustment when those things happen," manager Rick Renteria said. "But that being said, with [Abreu], we're certainly very happy that he's still a White Sox, and we hope to see him as a White Sox as we move forward. He brings a lot to the table and we're going to continue to take advantage of it."

As for the beard, Renteria said the first baseman needs to "clean it up." He struggled to keep a straight face when he was asked about Abreu stealing bases.

"They're all going to continue to improve their baserunning skills and if that happens to be one of the outcomes, him being able to take a base, that would be awesome," Renteria said. "But I'm actually more concerned about him making sure he gets himself ready to swing the bat and catch the ball at first."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu