5/9/2014 10:00 A.M. ET
Abreu owes 'absolutely everything' to devoted mother
Cuban rookie has waited close to 10 months to see his parents since defecting
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- There is a specific part of Jose Abreu's finely tuned daily regimen that doesn't include taking flips or using every part of batting practice to get ready for the game.
This task, if you will, falls under the category of true love, even more love than Abreu shows toward the game where he excelled for the first month in the Major Leagues as part of the White Sox like very few other rookies who have come before him have excelled.
It's the simple and enjoyable act of calling his mother.
"Every day. I have to talk to her every day," said Abreu, through interpreter and White Sox director of public relations Lou Hernandez.
"Or else she'll get mad at me," Abreu added with a smile.
Abreu's mother, Daisy Correa, stands as the driving force behind his venture from Cuba to the United States and his six-year, $68 million deal agreed upon with the White Sox. It was his mother who even picked No. 79 when he asked her to select a uniform number that stood out.
Along with his father, Jose Abreu, Abreu's mother has left Cuba, but his parents have not yet arrived in the United States. It's a situation that Abreu hopes is resolved soon so his family can enjoy Chicago and his big league accomplishments, but it's a distance that seems to only make his love grow stronger -- if that's possible.
When Abreu recently shared American League Player of the Week honors with Seattle's Kyle Seager, one of the first things he said through interpreter and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz was how his mom would love this accomplishment. When Abreu hit an opposite-field walk-off grand slam against Tampa Bay closer Grant Balfour on April 25, it's almost as if his mom was there with him.
"I talked to her after the game and she told me she was celebrating," said Abreu, whose wife, Yusmary, is with him in Chicago. "And I asked, 'Why are you celebrating? You didn't hit that home run.' And she said, 'Yes, I'm the one who hit that home run.' She was laughing at me.
"You talk on the phone and hear her voice, [but] it's not enough. I haven't seen my mother in 10 months. The longest I ever spent away from my mother was one month. It's just too much. There's nothing we can really do but keep working at it, and one day we'll be together."
Being without his family admittedly has caused moments of sadness for the affable but low-key first baseman.
In regard to that walk-off grand slam, there was an ensuing moment where Abreu sat in the White Sox dugout and cried, because the person he loves the most wasn't there to celebrate.
"She isn't here with me yet," Abreu said. "I can guarantee if she was here at the game, she would have jumped on the field after that home run."
It was a good childhood for Abreu and his sister growing up in Cuba, where their parents gave everything they could to both of them. It was a loving home, according to Abreu, with his mother providing as much devotion and as much attention as she possibly could.
"We knew where we were from, and we know what was available to us," Abreu said. "My mother is everything to me. I owe my life, absolutely everything to my mother."
A smile crosses Abreu's face when asked if his mother was athletic. She supported his endeavors, but as a housewife devoted to her children, she didn't pay much attention to the world of sports.
As Mother's Day arrives, even without his mother present, Abreu readily admits that he is the quality person that already has become a White Sox fixture because of the influence of his mother and father.
"The best lesson that I learned from my mother and my father, something they instilled on us growing up, is always be the very best person you can be to everyone," Abreu said. "That shows the type of person you are to the world."