White Sox

Jimmy Rollins on White Sox resiliency: 'Only thing that matters is now'

Jimmy Rollins on White Sox resiliency: 'Only thing that matters is now'

NEW YORK -- When it comes to those two losses against the Texas Rangers, Jimmy Rollins is blunt.

“We should of swept,” he said.

But what’s more important to the team’s long-term success than any individual game is that they don’t let any one contest get them down, Rollins said Saturday.

The White Sox bounced back from any potential disappointment yet again on Friday, rolling the Yankees 7-1 behind Chris Sale and a two-run homer by Rollins. Through 36 games, that attitude has been prevalent as the White Sox have proven to be a team with a short-term memory. And while the mindset may be new to the White Sox clubhouse, it’s hardly original for guys like Rollins, Alex Avila, Dioner Navarro and Austin Jackson.

“That’s the way it’s supposed to be,” Rollins said. “It’s nothing to me, it’s nothing to guys that have had success because that’s what good teams do. For guys that may not have had success, it may be refreshing like, ‘Ok, this is what it’s like to be around guys who know how to win, around a team that wants to win, the only objective is winning.’ You lose, but you don’t dwell on it because ‘that wasn’t us, that game got away.’ ”

Part of the front office’s aim this offseason was to upgrade the White Sox roster and fill in a number of holes. Another aspect was focused on acquiring players with strong leadership skills. The White Sox have added several players with winning backgrounds to a team largely inexperienced in the postseason. Through 22 percent of the season, manager Robin Ventura sees a difference in how his team bounces back.

“They don’t hold on to it,” Ventura said. “Every day they come in, they just find a way to focus on that day.

“I don’t know if it’s similar to a dog when you leave and come back, it’s just excited to see you. Every day is a fun new day for them and they feel like they’re going to go out and win.”

Rollins agrees.

He’s a big believer that day’s game is the only thing that matters. Forget the past. The team can review what went wrong in a loss or two and adjust.

But they’re just as focused at moving on.

Losses happen. Rollins expects at least 50 in a season no matter what. He added the two in Texas where pitchers didn’t execute and the defense couldn’t make a play to that “50 pile.”

“Some games you’re going to go out there and other teams are going to come out hot and it’s like ‘We never got started,’ ” Rollins said. “And a game like Texas, we aided them in that one. Never are we going out feeling a team is better than we are and we’ll lose games. Sometimes a team is going to play better ball than you that day. But we all look at ourselves and ‘we must have done something wrong that was the reason we didn’t win.’ So put that behind, we’ll make that adjustment and fix it tomorrow.

“The only thing that matters is now.”

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

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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

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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.