The White Sox had got a good look at Jose Abreu on Tuesday and they like what they have so far.
The Cuban slugger is one of many young White Sox hitters at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. this week to take part in the team’s mini-hitter camp.
For most of the White Sox staff it’s the first chance to see Abreu -- who signed a six-year, $68-million deal on Oct. 29 -- swing a bat without first clicking a mouse.
Abreu and his teammates took several rounds of batting practice on Tuesday, the first action of a three-day camp.
Matt Davidson, Adam Eaton, Josh Phegley, Marcus Semien, Courtney Hawkins, Jared Mitchell, Trayce Thompson and Keenyn Walker are also participants.
“That’s a strong man right here,” hitting coach Todd Steverson said of Abreu. “That’s a big man. He has a nice smooth, compact approach. He didn’t try to do too much with the ball and the ball was flying off his bat. I think he has a nice bright future coming up with him.”
Hahn has stressed patience with Abreu.
The White Sox have recent experience with Cuban players making a transition to the majors. They know, through Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo, it can take time to acclimate to everyday life, let alone the baseball and there may be some growing pains.
But even Hahn couldn’t contain his enthusiasm after he watched Abreu’s first action in a White Sox uniform.
“We try to keep in mind that it’s Jan. 14 and we still have a ways to go,” Hahn said. “But just watching Jose go through his work, you saw that professionalism as well as the plus-plus power on display today in only his first couple of rounds of BP. He’s a very serious hitter. He’s one who goes up there with a plan and has a great deal of ability and it’s going to be fun to see how this plays out over the next couple of years.”
Abreu, who has been in Miami since he came to the U.S. in October, said he has worked out but didn’t begin to hit until last week.
The right-handed first baseman will head back to Miami after camp ends on Thursday but intends to return to Glendale on Feb. 3, 17 days before position players are required to report to spring training.
“I wouldn’t say I’m anxious but I want to start,” Abreu said. “I want to get it going. That’s why I’m going to come back in on Feb. 3 and get it going here.”