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Abreu committed to White Sox, role in rebuild

First baseman 'grateful' to organization, embraces responsibility as mentor
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu didn't sign up for the losing when he first joined the White Sox via free agency on Oct. 29, 2013. He didn't plan on the current 9-27 record, standing as baseball's worst mark after Saturday's 8-4 loss to the Cubs.

But the White Sox first baseman thoroughly understands the organization's rebuild, and more importantly, he understands his key role in the rebuild and would like to be with the team when fortunes turn around.

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CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu didn't sign up for the losing when he first joined the White Sox via free agency on Oct. 29, 2013. He didn't plan on the current 9-27 record, standing as baseball's worst mark after Saturday's 8-4 loss to the Cubs.

But the White Sox first baseman thoroughly understands the organization's rebuild, and more importantly, he understands his key role in the rebuild and would like to be with the team when fortunes turn around.

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"Of course, there is not any doubt about it," said Abreu of his desire to stay in Chicago, through interpreter Billy Russo. "My mom and dad, they taught me to always be grateful, and I'm really grateful for this organization because of all the things they have done for me and the opportunities they gave me.

"I hope with God's will I can finish my career here. I hope I can stay here for as long as I can as a baseball player."

Video: SEA@CWS: Abreu powers Sox with big night at the dish

Abreu, 31, has produced four straight seasons with at least a .290 average, 25 home runs, 100 RBIs and an .820 OPS. He hasn't fully hit a groove offensively in 2018, but he entered Saturday's contest against the Cubs with a .280 average, seven home runs and 20 RBIs.

As has been discussed many times previously, Abreu's value to the White Sox goes well beyond the numbers. He's a mentor both on and off the field, responsibilities certainly not defined by numbers in this era of deep analytics. It's still a quality greatly appreciated by the White Sox.

"To take it a step further, he has been an encouraging and as positive of an influence on the development of some of these young guys," White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams said of Abreu. "He's like having an extra coach on hand. I cannot overstate the quality person that he is. I hope he really hears and understands how we feel about him."

"I know what I need to do, and I know what they need me to do to help this team to get moving forward in this process," Abreu said. "I embrace that role. It's not something difficult for me. It comes natural for me, and I'm really glad the team can see me like that person."

Video: MIN@CWS: Abreu opens the scoring with a 2-run homer

With the team having control of Abreu for this season and 2019, there's no rush on an extension decision for the first baseman. Abreu also understands the business side of the game, even emerging as a potential summer trade candidate.

"My focus is to come here every day and try to help the guys get better and try to help this team to win games," Abreu said. "But what is going to happen off the field, I don't know. I can't control that. The only thing I can control is just to play hard and give 100 percent of myself on the field.

"We all know that we have a lot of talent in this organization, and even in this team, but it's going to take time. We have to be patient."

No rehab assignment for Gonzalez

Miguel Gonzalez, on the disabled list with right rotator cuff inflammation, retroactive to April 19, will not be going on a Minor League rehab assignment in the immediate future. White Sox manager Rick Renteria said prior to Saturday's game that Gonzalez took a little bit of a step back Friday, while Gonzalez added he's getting there "slowly but surely."

"I'm going to play catch again on Tuesday and see how that feels," Gonzalez said. "Then we are going to make a move after that.

"It's getting there, it's getting close. We'll see what happens. It's a lot better now. I can actually play catch, and it's fine."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu