GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — It's beginning to feel real for Jose Abreu.
The Chicago White Sox's new slugger from Cuba met with the media Tuesday, two days before position players are expected to report. Abreu, eager for the season to begin, has already been hard at work at the Sox spring training complex.
"It feels like it's getting close," Abreu said through interpreter Lino Diaz. "I can't wait."
Abreu says he hasn't had the opportunity to do much with his newfound wealth after signing a six-year, $68 million deal with the White Sox in October. And he looks forward to asking more questions of countrymen Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig, who have enjoyed a lot of success in their short time in the U.S.
"I'm not competing with them," Abreu said. "They're a source of inspiration to me."
Abreu, 27, is the White Sox first baseman of the future. Paul Konerko, who has been with the franchise since 1999, came back for one more season and the veteran first baseman/DH will be providing guidance for Abreu.
"I'm thankful to have access to him," Abreu said of Konerko. "I have nothing but respect for his career and his success. I can learn a lot from him."
Abreu defected from the Cuban national team last year, went to the Dominican Republic and was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball. His wife is here with him, and he said is "thankful" that he is able to stay in touch with his family in Cuba.