Abreu, Alexei set for goodwill tour of Cuba

Abreu, Alexei set for goodwill tour of Cuba

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez both will be part of Major League Baseball's and the Major League Baseball Players Association's historic goodwill tour in Cuba from Dec. 15-18.

The White Sox first baseman and top offensive force has not been back to Cuba since he left in 2013 and joined the White Sox for the '14 season. Abreu's young son, Dariel, still lives in Cuba.

Ramirez was not allowed back to Cuba for eight years per a country rule after he left to join the White Sox prior to the 2008 season. Ramirez already has returned to Cuba during this current offseason.

"I've been thinking about going back since the first moment, since the moment I left the island," said Ramirez, through interpreter and White Sox Spanish-language broadcaster Billy Russo near the end of this past season. "Yes, I want to spend some time with my family. I want to be there with the people that I love and with the people where I grew up."

This tour marks MLB's first visit to Cuba since the Baltimore Orioles played an exhibition game against the Cuban National Team in March 1999. Both Abreu and Ramirez will take part in the clinics and appearances as part of the itinerary.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.