Abreu readies for first Major League season

Abreu readies for first Major League season

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu is listed as a rookie where Major League Baseball is concerned.

But those who have watched the 6-foot-3, 255-pounder work during Spring Training know he doesn't carry himself like a first-year player.

"Just because it's his first year here, he's not young. He's polished," said White Sox captain Paul Konerko of the White Sox top offseason free agent acquisition, who makes his debut in Monday's Opening Day contest with the Twins. "He's got more. That's the one thing, he might be a rookie here, but he's not a rookie.

"He's a big kid, but he's got an approach. He's not just free swinging."

Konerko, who also praised Abreu's defense at first, admitted there are variables Abreu has to handle in the upcoming months such as colder weather, new pitchers and new stadiums. The 27-year-old, who played 10 years in Cuba and hit .453 over 66 games in 2011, knows the longer schedule stands as one of the bigger adjustments.

"That is something I'm not too familiar with -- 162 games is a new thing for me," said Abreu Sunday through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "We play 96 in Cuba, but that's why the support of my coaches, the support of my fellow teammates, especially the Cuban guys who have gone through it, it's going to be huge. But I'm open minded for everything, and we'll get through it."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.