Jose Abreu acknowledged on Wednesday that manager Robin Ventura’s message has been received.
The White Sox slugger seemed remorseful when he addressed the media about 12 hours after the coaching staff admonished him.
Abreu didn’t run to first base on a wild pitch after he struck out in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s victory over the San Francisco Giants. Bench coach Mark Parent immediately spoke with Abreu in the dugout and Ventura caught up with him afterward to let Abreu know the example he set for his teammates isn’t acceptable.
Abreu sounds as if he’s taking the message to heart.
“Obviously, I made a mistake,” Abreu said through the team’s manager of cultural development, Lino Diaz. “But the manager and the team have talked to me about it and I understand. I made a mistake and that’s something I’m going to fix.”
Ventura is confident that Abreu recognizes what he and the coaches wanted to convey. Though Abreu doesn’t see himself as a leader, Ventura knows that’s not the case. The team has gone as Abreu has this season and Ventura needs his cleanup hitter to be aware that all eyes are on him always - even when the frustration of a long season catches up with him.
“He understands,” Ventura said. “The position that he’s in, he’s more of a leader on the team, so he needs to be able to do that stuff. If he doesn’t do it, nobody else is going to do it. He understands that.
“He still has emotions and gets frustrated just like everybody else. That’s part of playing the game. That’s the part where the season is so long, that that stuff eventually, everybody goes through it.”
Abreu went 1-for-4 in Tuesday’s game and scored a run.
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He has fared well overall since returning from the disabled list on June 2 but has struggled at times. Despite an 0-for-13 stretch, Abreu has a .280/.339/.600 line with four homers and nine RBIs over the last couple weeks.
But no matter how he’s doing, Abreu knows he can’t act as he did.
“You have to hustle,” Abreu said. “You have to run. In that situation, you have to be able to show the team that even when things are bad, you have to run.
“I don’t really consider myself a leader right now of the team. But I have the last couple of times I made a couple of mistakes which is normal. I will make sure that it gets fixed.”