CHICAGO — It’s safe to say that this will be one of the more unique series in the four-time All-Star and former American League MVP’s career.

For the first time in Jose Abreu’s time in Major League Baseball, he’ll be on the opposing team at Guaranteed Rate Field. The first baseman wasn’t shy about saying how unusual it was when stepping into the opposing dugout on Friday.

“It’s weird,” said Abreu through a translator when asked about his emotions about returning to Chicago with the Astros after nine years with the White Sox. “But it’s what I have to go through right now and, like I said, I’ve got a lot of respect for the White Sox organization, and just something I need to deal with right now.”

That could take a bit since Abreu was arguably the face of the franchise for the majority of his time with the club. He was an All-Star and American League Rookie of the Year in 2014 then added two more All-Star appearances in 2018 and 2019.

In the shortened 2020 campaign, he was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player, becoming just the fourth player to do so in White Sox history and the first since Frank Thomas in 1994.

Yet Abreu was lauded for his leadership just as much as his play, helping to guide a young team to the playoffs in 2020 and 2021.

“A lot of memories,” said Abreu on returning to Guaranteed Rate Field. “Very grateful for the opportunity that I had here and a lot of people that gave me the opportunity to be here.”

Many of those will get the chance to show their appreciation for Abreu over the weekend as the Astros play three contests against the White Sox at his former home. He’s already faced them in the opening series of the year in Houston, but it will be a little different in Chicago.

Abreu said that he has a lot of his family with him on his return to his former home, where he awaits the reception of the White Sox fans.

“I’m not sure,” said Abreu when asked about the fan reaction. “I think in my nine years here I tried to do my best to just respect every single person. I think that’s what I bring with me.”

It has been an adjustment for Abreu, who is currently hitting .218 with six doubles, no home runs, and eight RBI in 36 games. He’s facing a White Sox team that is also having trouble at the start of 2023 as they’ve posted a 13-26 record through 39 contests.

“It kinda stinks to see what they’re going through, but it’s part of the game. It’s a very tough game that we all play,” said Abreu on the White Sox. “I think I’ve been going through a lot more struggles than the White Sox have, and it’s part of the challenge to fight through them and move on.”

At least Abreu can try to do so in familiar territory over the next three days.