White Sox

Todd Frazier: 'Everybody is taking accountability'

toddfrazier-slide-0229.png

Todd Frazier: 'Everybody is taking accountability'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox feel as if they’ve put in the right type of work so far and now they’re eager to show it.

Monday’s intrasquad marked the first opportunity for the White Sox to see how much progress they have made. Todd Frazier, whose squad lost 5-4 to Team Abreu, believes the White Sox are on the right track for success. Frazier singled in two at-bats and left with his team in the lead. Team Abreu won on a walkoff three-run homer by outfielder Daniel Fields in the bottom of the fifth inning.

“I love the tone,” Frazier said. “Everybody has a role, everybody is taking accountability for themselves and it starts right now from Day 1. With the intrasquads we’ve got today — you can see it, it’s focus. It’s focus time. The ability to understand it’s not offseason anymore. It’s time to go. I see that a lot with these guys.”

Monday was the first time the White Sox have competed in seven days together. They square off in another intrasquad game on Tuesday and begin their exhibition season on Thursday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

[MORE: Carson Fulmer strikes out two in White Sox intrasquad game]

Brett Lawrie said its how — not how hard — the White Sox have worked that has him encouraged. The second baseman went 1-for-2 with a sac fly and an RBI in the loss for Team Frazier.

“It’s all about the quality,” Lawrie said. “If we go out there, and we just do the quantity, quantity, quantity, we’re not getting any work in. We’re just picking the ball, putting it down, picking it up, putting it down. We’re not getting ourselves into a good position. But you give me 10 groundballs, and I’m going to do all of those 10 at the top of the game, with good form, and I’m not going to be tired at the end of it. I’m going to get more out of that than doing 50 groundballs and being so tired at the end with bad form. So it’s definitely about the quality over the quantity and refining that.”

Carson Fulmer struck out two in two innings pitched for Team Frazier. He allowed a run and four hits, including an RBI double to Jose Abreu, who finished 1-for-2. Tyler Danish allowed an unearned run and a hit in two innings for Team Abreu. Daniel Webb struck out two in a scoreless inning pitched, too.

[SHOP: Get your White Sox gear here]

White Sox manager Robin Ventura also is pleased with the commitment his team has shown in its first full week together. The White Sox hope this is a strong foundation from which to build as they look for the first winning season since 2012.

“It’s been great,” Ventura said. “You look around at the infielders and outfielders, we’re seeing guys who’ve played a while and have a little history of doing the right things and playing the game the right way. A lot of it, even going into practice is very much the same thing. It’s been impressive.”

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.

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

0218-jose-abreu.jpg
USA TODAY

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sunday marked the first surprise of White Sox spring training, courtesy of first baseman Jose Abreu.

“This year, I’m going to try to steal more bases,” Abreu said through a translator.

This might have sounded like a joke, but Abreu was completely serious.

On paper, he’s not exactly Rickey Henderson. In 614 career games, Abreu has only six stolen bases. However, the slimmed-down first baseman does have some sneaky speed. His six triples last season ranked third in the American League. So there are some wheels to work with.

“I like the challenge. I think that’s a good challenge for me. I’m ready for it,” Abreu said.

How many steals are we talking about? A reporter asked sarcastically if a 30-30 season is in the offing? Abreu didn’t exactly shoot down the possibility.

“Who knows? When you fill your mind with positive things, maybe you can accomplish them,” Abreu said. “The mind of a human being works in a lot of different ways. If you fill your mind with good things, good things are going to happen.”

The morning began with Abreu walking to the hitting cages with his Cuban compadres Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, who the White Sox signed last summer. He held his first workout on Sunday. At the White Sox hitters camp last month, Moncada took Robert under his wing, showing him the ropes, even telling Ricky Renteria, “I got him.”

But Sunday, Abreu was in charge, holding court with the three of them in the cage. Abreu watched closely as Robert hit off a tee, giving him pointers about his swing.

“I just like to help people,” Abreu said. “When I started to play at 16 in Cuba, I had a lot people who hounded me to get better. At the same point, I want to give back things that I’ve learned and pass that along to other people. That’s what I’m doing. I’m not expecting anything else. I’m just glad to help them and get them better.”

What kind of advice has he passed along to Robert?

“Since I came to this country, I learned quickly three keys to be a success: Be disciplined, work hard and always be on time. If you apply those three keys, I think you’re going to be good. Those are the three keys I’m trying to teach the new kids, the young guys,” Abreu said.

Abreu lost about 10 pounds during the offseason. He said he hopes to learn more English in 2018. He also arrived at spring training sporting a scruffy beard which he grew while he was in Cuba so he “could be incongnito.”

Abreu likes his new look. Moncada thinks he should shave it off.

“If the organization doesn’t say anything, I’m just going to keep it,” Abreu said.

Well, so much for that.

Moments after Abreu spoke with the media, Renteria told reporters that Abreu will have to “clean it up a bit.”

The two will find a compromise. Come to think of it, maybe Abreu and the White Sox should do the same about a contract extension in the near future.

Yes, he’ll be 33 when his contract expires in two years, but there have been no signs of a decline with his performance. Instead, Abreu is only getting better both offensively and defensively.

Heck, now he wants to steal bases, too.

After Renteria, Abreu is the leader of this team. He commands ultimate respect inside the clubhouse. He’s become another coach to Moncada, Robert and others. He’s a huge brick in the present and too big of an influence and cornerstone to not have around in the future.

“I hope to play my entire career in the majors with the White Sox,” Abreu said Sunday. “But I can’t control that.”

At some point, a decision will have to be made whether to keep Abreu or trade him. In the meantime, ask yourself this question: What will bring more value to the White Sox, getting a high-end prospect or two in return not knowing if they’ll ever succeed in the majors? Or keeping your best player, the heart and soul of your team, allowing him to show your future stars the way while they’re developing in the major leagues?

Seems like an easy decision to me.