Arrival of son from Cuba sparks Abreu at plate

5-year-old Dariel joined his father in Chicago two weeks ago

Arrival of son from Cuba sparks Abreu at plate

CHICAGO -- Even before Jose Abreu's 5-year-old son, Dariel, joined him in the United States, he always asked for one thing from his father: a home run.

It was a point Dariel reinforced when he arrived from Cuba a couple of weeks ago. And in the first inning of Saturday's 6-2 victory over the A's, Abreu provided his son with this unique gift. He homered again during a 4-2 victory Sunday, marking the third time this season Abreu has homered in back-to-back games.

"Yesterday he was very happy. When we got home, he was telling me, 'Hey, you hit it,'" said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "I'm glad to give him that joy.  

"He always does that. He doesn't know too much about baseball because he's just 5 years old. He knows what a homer is."

Abreu describes his son as "kind of a shy kid" who likes to play in the house with his iPad and "watch comics." With his parents having already joined him in the United States, Abreu is thrilled to have his family together.

His teammates are just as happy for one of their low-key leaders.

"I couldn't even imagine putting myself in that scenario," said Chris Sale, father of one son and expecting a second with his wife, Brianne. "It makes it more impressive what he's done, knowing what he's gone through and kind of the ups and downs and what not. Seeing his son here, it makes me happy, just because I know what joy it is for me. I can only imagine what it is for him."

"If you are a father or a mother, you know that kind of feeling it means to have your child with you, especially after spending a lot of time without him," Abreu said. "It's something I can't describe. It's very, very emotional. We are trying to take advantage of every single minute we have together."

Abreu is hitting .366 to go with five homers, 11 RBIs and seven multi-hit efforts in August. He raised his average from .269 to .283 during August and ranks sixth in the American League with his August mark.

There's little doubt Abreu's All-Star-caliber game improved once he knew Dariel would join him.

"One-hundred percent," Abreu said. "You don't have to be concerned about anything else. You have your child here, all your family is here and you feel complete."

"We are all very happy for him. He's really happy," Sale said. "He's in a really good spot just to have his family here and be able to do this stuff with his son, it's great. I know his son loves it, too."

An interpreter wasn't needed Sunday when Abreu was asked if this is the happiest he's ever been.

"Yes," Abreu said with a smile.

"His hands have been working pretty good for a while," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "The other part, that can never be bad. Having his son here, just the way he personally feels about it, and we all know he has a little bit more pep in his step as he's walking around." 

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.