White Sox 1B Jose Abreu wants to improve English, leadership role

ByDoug Padilla ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

CHICAGO -- Over the past two seasons, Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu has done most of his talking with his bat. He's now ready to take it to a new level.

The team's leader in home runs and RBIs -- both this year and last -- wants to extend his leadership abilities even further and will make an attempt to learn English this winter.

"That's my goal. I want to be a leader and I know that for that, I have to learn the language," Abreu said through an interpreter Tuesday. "And that's my focus for this offseason. It's one of the things that I have on my list. I know if I can learn a little bit more of the language, I can express myself in a better way with my teammates and my coaches. It's going to help our relationship."

It should be a busy offseason for Abreu, who also plans to get married in late November.

It is not the first time Abreu has said he wants to improve his grasp of the English language. After an impressive rookie season last year -- when he hit 36 home runs with 107 RBIs and led the American League with a .581 slugging percentage -- Abreu said he intended to learn English. However, his growth with the language was limited.

"I think thatAlexei [Ramirez], Melky [Cabrera], [Adam] LaRoche, [Gordon] Beckham, they all have the voice to be leaders. And during this season, they have been doing[those] things because they also have the experience," Abreu said. "But I think each one of us has to be a leader. It's not just one person. I think that all of us, we have to work together and be a leader every day."

Manager Robin Ventura has said Abreu's leadership skills are evident in his work ethic, even with his limited grasp of English. But he applauds Abreu's desire to learn more.

"It's a good thing to hear because we know how he operates," Ventura said. "We know how he comes in every day and how he prepares and how he plays the game. Any time a guy like that wants to step up and lead, we're happy to hear that."

Abreu, who has 29 home runs and 98 RBIs with five games remaining, is attempting to join Albert Pujols (2001-02) as the only players in major league history with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in each of their first two major league seasons.