White Sox Begin Spring Training
After a disappointing 2015 season, the good guys in black return to the diamond for spring training in Glendale, AZ. This season the White Sox are predicted to win 81 games & potentially make the playoffs. The Sox made some offseason moves they’re hoping will make the difference needed to live up to their expectations. Some notable newcomers to the team include all star third baseman Todd Frazier, second baseman Brett Lawrie, pitcher Mat Latos, and a pair of catchers in Dioner Navarro & Alex Avila. The Sox have needed a solid player at third base since Joe Crede left town, and Frazier fills that void perfectly both on the field and at the plate.
In addition to the new acquisitions, Adam LaRoche & Avisail Garcia are looking to rebound from their disappointing numbers last year. Garcia will be trying out a slightly adjusted batting stance to see if he can improve his statistics that fell short of last season’s expectations. Adam LaRoche also had some high expectations in 2015 after signing a $25 million contract over 2 years to move from first base to designated hitter. The change caught LaRoche off guard & he didn’t adjust as quickly as he would’ve liked to. When he was asked about the position change, he said, “What I didn’t realize is when you’re used to playing first base, in a weird way it almost feels like you’re not a part of the team, like you’re not in the grind.” He was looking for ways to stay involved with the game since he felt some disconnect last year which contributed to his poor stats. LaRoche was also dealing with a sore knee that gradually got worse as the season went on, but now has healed. The designated hitter gives credit to taking up CrossFit during the offseason which has gotten him into better shape. He began taking ground balls in the batting cage to keep himself loose during defensive innings which helps him feel like he’s part of the game.
The Sox recently picked up veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins on a minor league deal which will benefit the team’s #1 prospect Tim Anderson at shortstop as well as potential starter Tyler Saladino. Rollins has won the National League MVP back in 2007 while playing in Philadelphia & led the team to the postseason from 2007-2011 & won a championship in 2008. He also is a 3-time all star & has earned 4 Golden Gloves in his 16 year career. With all of the experience Rollins has, the team is hoping he can be a mentor to the younger players & give them guidance about playing in the big leagues as well as the postseason. At 37 years old & 16 seasons in the big leagues, Rollins spoke about how long he wants to continue playing in the majors, he said, “Until basically they take the uniform and tell me to go coach somewhere.”
After the first full squad practice of Spring Training, first baseman Jose Abreu already likes the feel of the new roster & thinks they have the potential to be a special team. “From the first day that I came here and met Rick Renteria and Frazier. Today, everybody was happy and laughing and making jokes. That’s the kind of atmosphere that we need here. We need to feel the chemistry and be like a family.” Having good chemistry as a team is paramount, from the locker room to being on the field, to road trips. Being able to have fun & get along with your teammates on & off the field can make the difference between a good season & bad season. Even this early into Spring Training, this year’s Sox squad is already starting off on the right foot. Tickets for Spring Training & regular season games can be purchased here.