James Shields might be the new guy in the White Sox clubhouse, but the starting pitcher already has some family history with the organization.
The team's newest acquisition is a first cousin of popular former White Sox outfielder Aaron Rowand, so he already feels a bit of a connection to his new team.
"They got a lot of tradition here in Chicago and in the White Sox organization. My cousin actually played in the 2005 World Series, Aaron Rowand, I'm sure you guys know him. So I got a lot of history myself in my own family here in the White Sox organization. So I'm excited to be apart of that," Shields told reporters on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old Shields credits his older cousin for helping him become the player that he is today. After toiling in the minor leagues for a few seasons early in his career, Rowand had Shields work out with him during the offseason in Las Vegas and the training had a huge impact on Shields' career.
"Aaron played a huge role. He drug me out to Las Vegas and we worked out together for about seven years," Shields said. "And he showed me how to become a big leaguer and how to work. There wasn't too many guys in the big leagues that worked harder than my cousin. One thing that he will do is he'll run into any wall and he's just a bulldog out there. He's a professional. He goes about his business the right way, he taught me a lot in my career and I owe a lot to him.
Rowand still maintains ties to the White Sox organization, as he was hired as the minor league outfield and baserunning instructor last November.
During the White Sox' 2005 World Series run, Rowand played a big part on that team as the everyday center fielder. Now, Shields is hoping to have a similar impact on a White Sox team that is trying to make the postseason for the first time since 2008.
"He loves it here. Chicago is one of his favorite cities, obviously he won a World Series here," Shields said of Rowand. "He said I'm gonna have a blast here and just enjoy the moment. And that's what he said. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the crowd, enjoy the fans and enjoy the city and everything will be good."
Shields will make his White Sox debut on Wednesday as he takes the mound against the Washington Nationals. You can catch that matchup on CSN with coverage beginning at 7 p.m.