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Jose Abreu looking to roar into second half

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu looked very uncomfortable as the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals played through a thunderstorm Saturday.

Abreu, who was playing Saturday’s game with a gold chain necklace around his neck, said that a friend of his was once killed by a lightning strike on a beach in Cuba while wearing a gold necklace.

At each strike of lightning and each roar of thunder, whenever he was out in the field, Abreu would put his hands near his head. In left field, Melky Cabrera raised his arms after each lightning strike, apparently his way of asking when the game was going to be delayed.

Abreu eventually removed his gold necklace.

The game went on, though, after head groundskeeper Roger Bossard advised umpire crew chief Jerry Meals that the heavy rain would be short-lived and that dry weather would approach quickly. That was exactly the scenario that unfolded.

“If some of the lightning was hitting the ground close to me, I was going to run to the Kansas City dugout,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “My grandma once told me that when it thunders with lightning you want to be inside.”

Abreu would prefer that the thunder only come from his bat. His power numbers are significantly down from a year ago, when he burst on the scene with a monster first half. Abreu faded significantly down the stretch, though, as he looked tired while playing a 162-game schedule for the first time.

After hitting 29 home runs with 73 RBIs and a .630 slugging percentage at the break last season, he had 14 home runs with 46 RBIs and a .492 slugging percentage at the break this season. He said he is finally feeling good physically and plans to increase his run-producing potential. He has started the second half just 1-for-11, though.

“I have probably tried to equally distribute all my energy because I know now how long the season is now,” Abreu said. “In the first half, I just tried to be a little more conservative with my energy but for this second half, I’m just trying to throw out my energy on the field every day.”

He said the four-day All-Star break helped him with lingering leg and finger issues. He claims he is completely healthy now and is ready to tackle the issues of making adjustments in his sophomore season.

“I probably, sometimes, I haven’t done the adjustment that I have to do to get better results,” Abreu admitted. “That happens during a long season. Sometimes you are struggling. Sometimes you are good. The things you have to try to find is the rhythm and the consistency in this whole season, and probably the results this year aren’t as good as last year. But it’s because of me. It’s not the pitchers or whatever. It’s because of me.”