White Sox

Adam Eaton vents frustration to White Sox coaches

adam-eaton-sox-insider-0613.png

Adam Eaton vents frustration to White Sox coaches

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Surprised he wasn’t in Saturday’s White Sox lineup, Adam Eaton had closed-door meeting with coaches Mark Parent and Daryl Boston.

Best described as a spirited, 10-minute discussion, Eaton, who went 2-for-5 with two runs scored in Friday’s loss, expressed his frustration at sitting out for the second time in three games.

With Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer currently pitching at an All-World level, Parent said he liked how J.B. Shuck matches up better. Parent, who is filling in for manager Robin Ventura this weekend, suggested Eaton would return to the lineup on Sunday and also said the discussion -- one he didn’t seem to mind -- surrounded the center fielder’s defensive positioning.

“Yeah, he was surprised,” Parent said. “He feels like he should be playing every day, great. So does everybody else or they wouldn’t be here. He’s a big guy that we count on. We need him. He had a good game at the plate (Friday).

[SHOP: Buy an Adam Eaton jersey]

“I don’t care -- I told coaches I wasn’t happy. But you want to know the guy wants to be in there.”

Parent had a similar discussion with Jose Abreu about being the designated hitter on Saturday in order to get Adam LaRoche in the field and perhaps back on track at the plate. One aspect Eaton might not have been alarmed by was another discussion with Boston about positioning. The White Sox believe Eaton’s strength is going back on the ball. They have previously advised him to play a shallower center field. In Friday’s loss, Eaton, who also had a spectacular tumbling grab, appeared to misread an RBI base hit to shallow center.

[ALSO: White Sox players enjoying Blackhawks run, too]

“These are our guys,” Parent said. “You’ve got to keep encouraging, keep trying to play better and talk to them about it. D-Bo having a discussion with Eaton today … We’ve had that discussion numerous times. Well, let’s have another one, so we have another one.”

Archer’s start played perhaps just as big a role. The Rays right-hander has struck out 38 batters and walked none in his past three starts. Though Eaton still hasn’t hit a stride similar to 2014, he has improved over the past five weeks, raising his on-base percentage from .241 to .290. Eaton has a .316 OBP since May 5, a number the White Sox would like to see improve even more -- just like the rest of the team’s offense.

“We don’t want him to have a setback against a guy that’s on fire,” Parent said. “I’m sure my discussions with Adam aren’t over for the day. But that’s great, you want a guy that wants to play.”

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

0219_alec_hansen.jpg
AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

0218-dylan-covey.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.