Baseball / Sports

White Sox's Jose Abreu isn't into nickname game

MINNEAPOLIS -- White Sox broadcaster Ken "Hawk" Harrelson has coined several memorable nicknames to players over the years, including "Big Hurt" for Frank Thomas, "One Dog" for Lance Johnson and "El Caballo" for Carlos Lee.

Harrelson's latest attempt is "El Canon" --Spanish for "The Cannon," -- for rookie slugger Jose Abreu.

Abreu was surprised before Friday's game that he had a new nickname.

"I've never heard of it," he said.

Does he like it?

"I don't really care," he said with a shrug.

Not much of an endorsement, but Abreu is used to these things by now. During spring training, Adam Eaton said Abreu's nickname was Yogi or Oso, Spanish for bear. It reportedly was because of a supposed resemblance to a certain cartoon bear.

Either way, that didn't stick.

"They call me everything," he said, laughing. "I don't know why."

So does Abreu have an actual nickname he prefers?

"The one I hear the most is 'Pito,'" he said, referring to the Spanish word for "whistle."

Several Latin newspaper accounts of Abreu's signing last October refer to the "Pito" nickname.

"I was a young kid, and my uncle called me that," he said. "He stayed with 'Pito.' Everybody (in Cuba) calls me 'Pito.'"

Then "Pito" it is. Sorry, Hawk.

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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