Abreu delivers on HR promise for special fan

White Sox slugger met with 11-year-old cancer patient before series finale

Abreu delivers on HR promise for special fan

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu pretty much called his shot where a fourth-inning home run was concerned during a 2-1 White Sox victory over the Indians on Thursday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.

That prediction actually came a few hours before Abreu connected on a 2-2 pitch from Mike Clevinger for his 24th home run and 95th RBI of the season. It also illustrated why the affable slugger holds such great importance to the organization beyond his ability to hit the baseball.

Abreu met with Shane Callaghan and his family before the series finale against the American League Central leaders. Callaghan, 11, is undergoing treatment for bone cancer in his left leg, and while he was treated this summer at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, Callaghan passed the time by watching baseball on television.

Callaghan's favorite positions are catcher and first base in a game he loves to play whenever possible, and the young man is a big fan of the White Sox. He asked for an autographed baseball from Abreu, which he received along with an autographed jersey, but he also had the chance to meet him in person.

"Those are very emotional moments," said Abreu, who is the White Sox nominee for the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award, through interpreter Billy Russo. "Those are the moments that you feel touched for the people.

"I promised him I will try to hit a homer, and I did. It was very emotional for me too, because if I couldn't hit the homer, I will feel bad because I couldn't accomplish what I promised. But these are the things that I feel proud of, because those are the moments that you make people feel happy."

With a .373 average, 13 home runs, 39 RBIs and 26 runs scored over his past 41 games, Abreu has been making a great deal of people happy of late. He had no homers and eight RBIs during August, but he now has a chance to reach 30 homers and 100 RBIs for a third straight season to start his Major League career.

"He's getting close," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He started out a bit slow, but when you look at the end of the year, he's probably going to have numbers that are as impressive as anybody in the league. If he can get a few more homers and everything else, it's historic stuff he's chasing."

One point Abreu reiterated with a laugh is that that the promise made to Callaghan was to try to hit a home run, not a guarantee of going deep. He came to the batting cage after connecting, getting some work in between at-bats as the designated hitter, and realized he did it, feeling relieved to come through for this special fan.

"That's something that God put in your path, and I feel blessed," Abreu said. "That's something that you can do to make an impact or to make something good for kids. That's the way that I feel, like I have the opportunity to do something good for them."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. 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.