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After pursuit, Astros get first look at Abreu

HOUSTON -- The Astros made a hard push to sign White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, who entered Friday night's game leading the Major Leagues with 15 home runs, 27 extra-base hits and 103 total bases while ranking second with 41 RBIs.

It is widely believed the Astros finished second to the White Sox in the bidding, offering the Cuban a reported $50 million to $60 million. He wound up signing a six-year, $68 million deal with the White Sox, who appear to have struck gold.

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Abreu was asked Friday through interpreter Lino Diaz about his interest in Houston.

"You know what, there was a lot of teams that were interested," he said. "To be honest with you, a lot of those teams, I'm not aware of who they were, but I understand Houston was one of them that was interested in signing me. My agent [Barry Praver] was taking care of all that."

Astros manager Bo Porter jokingly sighed when he heard Friday that Abreu was in the lineup despite battling a left ankle injury.

"He could have took three days off," Porter said, joking. "No, it's real power, it's special power and we'll do everything we can to try to keep him at bay."

The Astros' lineup -- and probably their win-loss record -- would look much different had they been able to close the deal with Abreu.

"We made a run at him, and the White Sox ended up getting him," Porter said. "Bats like that don't come along every day."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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