White Sox

White Sox: Conor Gillaspie's bat starting to round into shape

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White Sox: Conor Gillaspie's bat starting to round into shape

Conor Gillaspie’s bat has started to produce the line drives the White Sox are used to from the third baseman.

Though Gillaspie homered in the second inning on Wednesday night against the Detroit Tigers, the first homer hit by the White Sox since April 22, manager Robin Ventura said it was a swing in Tuesday’s win that is more representative of the left-handed hitter’s game. Gillaspie tripled in two runs as the White Sox snapped a five-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Tigers. He also singled and has raised his average 46 points to .237 over the last five games.

“He hasn’t been swinging as good as we’ve seen him in the past,” Ventura said. “I think he was frustrated with that. He had some where he hit it to the wall and didn’t really get anything out of it. I think he’s made some adjustments. I think last night of him hitting the ball, it’s more on a line right now than it has been lately. So he’s not going to hit a ton of homers, but he’s a line drive guy. That ball he hit into the gap, it’s a little more indicative of who he is and what he can do.”

[MORE: Carlos Rodon ready to make first MLB start Saturday]

Gillaspie believes he has continued to do a better job of handling his struggles. He said after Tuesday’s game he has learned to do a better job of quickly moving on from his performance. Though he has run into some long outs recently and had a few hits taken away, Gillaspie is trying to avoid looking too deeply at the big picture.

“I haven’t done as well as I would have liked to do, but there’s been a couple times where some balls could have fallen and they haven’t and that’s the name of the game,” Gillaspie said. “The reality is, you take one game at a time and 100 percent is flushed down the drain after the game is over, good or bad. I’ve already flushed (Tuesday’s) game down the drain.”

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Gillaspie said he’d rather win and struggle than succeed and lose.

“That’s the ultimate goal getting up here, is to win for your team,” Gillaspie said. “The reality is, after two-years plus here, if you’re not winning it’s not fun regardless of how you’re doing. You can get all the hits you want, but when you’re not winning it’s a tough gig in here. Ultimately we have just got to keep winning, keep competing and putting together W’s.”

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.