Jose Abreu still isn't sure whether he'll participate in the Home Run Derby in two weeks, but the White Sox are confident whatever decision he makes won't be detrimental to the team.
That trust is fitting with the guy Abreu's been since the White Sox signed him to a six-year, $68 million contract last year. Because he's so ardently team-first, manager Robin Ventura said it's up to him to make the Home Run Derby call on his own.
"That’s a mature way to think about it for a guy who is going through his first time of everybody wanting him to do this, wanting him to do that," Ventura said. "That’s his first thought. It’s been that way since he got here. Since he arrived here, he’s always been talking about the team and just trying to win games and wants whatever is best.
"For him, even going in the home run contest, he could do it. If he feels like he could do it and still come back and have the same swing and feeling he has right now, he’ll probably do it."
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Abreu, who entered Monday tied for the major league lead with 25 home runs, was pitched by Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista over the weekend to join his team in the Home Run Derby. But even with only two weeks until the All-Star break, Abreu isn't thinking about anything but what's directly in front of him.
And, right now, that's the first game of a six-game homestand against the American League's wild card leaders in the Angels and Mariners.
"To be honest with you that’s not what I’m thinking about right now," Abreu said through team translator Lino Diaz. "I’m more concentrated on helping the team right now. I’m not really interested in the Home Run Derby. Things change. We might see, but right now that’s not something that’s in the top of my priorities."
Last week, Abreu said he'd prefer not to participate in the Home Run Derby after not really enjoying similar events in Cuba. Plus, he doesn't want to mess up his swing -- which goes back to that team-first attitude Ventura described.
Abreu could be a star in the Home Run Derby, but it's up to him to decide whether or not to be a part of it on July 13.
"Do I think he would win it? Probably," Ventura said. "Just watching him on a daily basis, he has as good a chance as anybody to win it. But do you want to do that at the cost of your swing and your production from here on out? That’s for him to decide. If he thinks he can do it and still keep his timing and all those things that make him a good hitter, then he can do it."