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Jose Abreu doesn’t think the big leagues are so hard

Mar 20, 2014, 11:49 AM EST

jose abreu getty Getty Images

White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu is hitting .308 with an .838 OPS this spring, including a home run yesterday, and the Cuban rookie had an amusing quote when asked by Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com how he’s adjusting to the big leagues:

The baseball is not exactly what I thought it would be. I’ve never played at this level and I expected it to be really, really difficult. I knew it wasn’t going to be impossible, but the coaches and teammates here have really helped me and made it easier. I feel like I can handle it.

Abreu went on to expand upon that quote, saying some interesting stuff about velocity and adjustments, but I still think “I expected it to be really, really difficult” is pretty funny. Of course, it helps that Abreu is considered one of the best hitters to come out of Cuba, getting $68 million to sign with the White Sox, and most projection systems have him making a big impact right away, potentially adding 30-homer power to the lineup.

  1. pinkfloydprism - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    Off guys who will be pumping gas next week.

    • sportsfan18 - Mar 20, 2014 at 7:02 PM

      you mean PITCHING for AAA and AA teams next week…

      • pinkfloydprism - Mar 20, 2014 at 7:07 PM

        It was a reference to the movie Major League

  2. jm91rs - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    I’m really excited about the Cuban talent coming around. I wish the system worked in a way that they could still play for the Cuban National Team so we could really see how great they are as a team during the WBC.

    • anxovies - Mar 20, 2014 at 6:40 PM

      All they have to do is stop being commies, let us build casinos and below-minimum-wage factories on their shores and wave and smile when the cruise ships sail in.

  3. chacochicken - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    He is a bit older than Puig so should I refer to him as hardworking domesticated draft horse? At the same time his comment run contrary to Werth’s earlier statements about how difficult hitting MLB pitching is. Am I dumb enough to take all of these statements as the literal truth?
    This string of articles makes me want to have a cuban sandwich for lunch.

    • bfunk1978 - Mar 20, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      Put it together and Abreu is superhuman. If hitting the ball is the hardest thing in the galaxy and if Abreu doesn’t find it all that hard, then he must be one of the most talented individuals around.

      Which, actually, that seems to be why the White Sox gave him a big contract. Go Sox.

  4. spudchukar - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Just wait.

  5. tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    He might want to hold off on his assessment of MLB pitching until he is no longer facing minor-league pitching and major leaguers who are working on things like new pitches, mechanical adjustments, etc. It’s not like nobody’s ever hit .300 in March only to turn into a pumpkin when the games count.

    • stex52 - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:31 PM

      I don’t think Gleeman gave us a very accurate rendition of what he actually said. The context I get is that he was somewhat afraid he couldn’t cut it and now he realizes that – with his coaches helping him – he can. Big difference.

  6. kruegere - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    Famous last words.

  7. cur'68 - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Jayson Werth wants a word with him…

  8. hotdogfinger - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    he’s got a beautiful swing

  9. Kevin Gillman - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    I’m not bothered by that statement, and the reason is simple. We can’t imagine what it was like for him living in Cuba. Going through some of the horror he went through, and to think he escaped, came to the United States and is living a dream. He will go through his struggles, but at the end of the day, baseball is a game, it’s not life.

    • forsch31 - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      Agreed. Again, I think this is a case where people are fixated on part of a quote rather than the whole thing. I think it’s pretty clear that he’s talking about *playing* at the major league level, not *performing* at it. In the context of the story–which introduces the quote by noting his adjustment “from learning a new language to understanding the nuances of the sport”–it makes even more sense.

      • Kevin Gillman - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        Yeah, and I never took what he said seriously, eithout even reading the article, I was thinking he’s talking about baseball, compared to his life. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to live like he did, before he came to the states, or even escaping. I am blessed in that regard. He’s going to be exciting to watch, and I am an Indians fan, he’ll probably hit 10 Hrs off us…LOL

    • Reflex - Mar 21, 2014 at 8:46 PM

      Um, while Cuba is certainly politically repressive, I’m pretty certain day to day life is not a ‘horror’. Its more like Mexico with better health care and a way better life expectancy. I can’t even find any evidence that his defection was particularly rough.

      • Kevin Gillman - Mar 21, 2014 at 8:54 PM

        Okay, I am wrong then, but wait a second, you don’t really know. So….

      • Reflex - Mar 21, 2014 at 8:57 PM

        There are lots of articles on the internet about life in Cuba. Unless you are a political activist, which Abreu was not, then its not a bad life at all. A poorer life, but much of the world is poorer than the United States without people considering it to be living in a ‘horror’ situation.

  10. tedwmoore - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Calm down, everyone. The space between, “I thought this would be really, really difficult”, and “I feel like I am playing a video game”, is not insignificant. He says that he does not think it is impossible, that his coaches and teammates have made it easier, and that he feels he can handle it. No where does he say, “I am a man among boys” or “the MVP should be renamed the Jose Abreu Award”. He never even says that he finds it easy, just manageable. Goodness.

  11. notsofast10 - Mar 20, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Walk, Walk, Walk……Flip the Chain……Slow Run!

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