Abreu aiming to increase his leadership role
KANSAS CITY -- Jose Abreu doesn't need to call team meetings or make impassioned speeches in the middle of the White Sox clubhouse to be a leader.
The most dynamic offensive force in the South Siders' attack serves as the classic case of leading by example. But as Abreu's second season comes to a close, he has his sights set on taking that responsibility to possibly another level.
"That has been one of my goals every day, but because my personality is I'm kind of shy, I don't like to talk too much and of course also because of the language," said Abreu through interpreter and White Sox Spanish language broadcaster Billy Russo. "Probably I'm not completely satisfied about that mission, because I could do more.
"But it's a work in progress. Hopefully for next year, I can have a little more experience and try to create a bigger impact on the other guys."
In reality, Abreu's impact already holds great influence. Players simply need to look at the daily routine Abreu follows for success or even the way he goes about batting practice, with a distinct purpose to every swing, to understand what it takes to be an elite player.
Abreu's season goals even are set on a month by month basis, as opposed to saying he wants to hit 40 homers and drive in 120 runs at the start of a season. That smaller sample helps Abreu adjust as he goes.
"If you try to see the whole picture in the beginning, sometimes you can get frustrated," Abreu said. "I have to go week by week or month by month because I feel good in that way, in my work.
"It's a good way to evaluate in a short period of time how I'm performing and if I need to do something else, or if I'm going to have to change something. That's a very good strategy for me and has worked well for me in my career."
Abreu entered Friday's series opener against the Royals hitting .292 with 24 homers and 80 RBIs. He knows these statistics aren't quite as big as his American League Rookie of the Year Award campaign, and the White Sox are nowhere near meeting the lofty preseason expectations they set. Abreu also understands that he'll be at the forefront of a White Sox turnaround in 2016 in more ways than one.
"I'm trying to be a leader by example," Abreu said. "I'm trying to work hard every day so that the other guys can see me working hard. I am the first one here and I am the last one to leave the ballpark. That will help also to create a culture around the team and that they can see me as a leader. I'm not the kind of person that is going to proclaim, 'Hey, I am a leader.' I like to be a leader by example. That's the way I'm trying to do it."
"Just who he is as a person and how he handles himself, he's already a leader," manager Robin Ventura said. "If he's not already that guy, he's well on his way."