KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jacob May knows he must improve if he’s going to make it in the big leagues.
The White Sox sent their struggling young outfielder back to Triple-A Charlotte at the conclusion of Monday night’s 6-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Though he drove in his team’s only run with a two-out RBI single, May only managed two hits in 36 at-bats, including an 0-for-26 start to his career. The team will announce a corresponding move prior to Tuesday’s 7:15 p.m. contest.
“Just to learn from the experience,” May said. “I got a good taste of it and how to go about my business and how to compete up here. So I’ve just got to go down and get better.”
“It’s no joke. You’ve got to come up here every day and got to go to war in the box and on defense. It’s the best of the best and they’re here for a reason. You’ve got to stay sharp defensively and on your swing. You’ve just got to develop a good routine and stick to your system.”
May came out of nowhere to win the starting centerfield job this spring. Charlie Tilson injured himself early in camp and May took advantage of the extra chances and played so well that the White Sox traded veteran Peter Bourjos to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash or a player to be named later.
But May never found the same comfort once the regular season began. May’s struggles afforded Leury Garcia more opportunity and the veteran took advantage with his best month ever in may. White Sox manager Rick Renteria hopes May will benefit from more consistent playing time at Triple-A.
“He might have been a little overmatched,” Renteria said. “That’s just the bottom line. You want to make excuses for it. Might have been a little overmatched right now. He had a great spring, showed a lot of hard work, tenacity, even here going and working with the guys and trying to get himself back on track, trying to keep his confidence up. His energy has always been the same. It’s very consistent. He’s done everything for the work in the field and working with the guys in the cages and everything else we could have asked of him. He was doing everything he needed to do. Just things weren’t happening.”
May singled with two outs in the fourth inning to put the White Sox ahead 1-0. He took a positive from his performance and said he knows what he must do to be successful the next time he returns.
“I definitely have to get better,” May said. “Spring is one thing but when the lights turn on, these guys play for keeps and you’ve got to be able to compete. I’ve got to go down and get better.”
The White Sox made some adjustments to their 40-man roster ahead of Monday's deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft.
Rules stipulate that a player who signed when he was 18 or younger and has played five seasons of professional baseball is eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft if he is not on his team's 40-man roster. Because of that, the White Sox — like the rest of the teams in the league — made some moves Monday to protect certain players.
The White Sox announced Monday afternoon that they purchased the contracts of infielder Casey Gillaspie from Triple-A Charlotte, outfielder Eloy Jimenez from Double-A Birmingham, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and pitcher Ian Clarkin from Class-A Winston-Salem and outfielder Micker Adolfo from Class-A Kannapolis.
Simultaneously, pitchers Chris Beck and Tyler Danish were outrighted to Charlotte.
The most notable name on the list is of course Jimenez, the highly ranked outfielder acquired from the Cubs in July's trade that sent Jose Quintana to the North Side. Jimenez was a no-brainer to be protected after he slugged 19 homers and hit 22 doubles with 65 RBIs in his 89 games in the minors last season, splitting time between Birmingham and Winston-Salem in the White Sox system and Class-A Myrtle Beach in the Cubs' system. Jimenez is ranked as the White Sox No. 1 prospect by MLB.com.
Gillaspie was acquired in the trade that sent Dan Jennings to the Tampa Bay Rays. The brother of former White Sox infielder Conor Gillaspie, he hit 15 homers and 20 doubles in 125 games all at the Triple-A level. Gillaspie is ranked as the White Sox No. 11 prospect by MLB.com.
Basabe, the White Sox No. 17 prospect, was in last offseason's Chris Sale trade and hit .221 with five homers and 12 doubles at Winston-Salem. Adolfo, the White Sox No. 14 prospect, was signed as a free agent in 2013 and hit .264 with 16 homers and 28 doubles at Kannapolis. Clarkin, the White Sox No. 22 prospect, was acquired in the seven-player trade with the Yankees in July and posted a 2.60 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 86.2 innings of work at the Class-A level.
The 27-year-old Beck posted a very high 6.40 ERA in 64.2 innings out of the White Sox bullpen last season. Danish made just one appearance with the big league club last season, getting his first major league win in the second game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.
Only three more months till the White Sox are back in action.
The South Siders announced their spring training schedule Monday, with Cactus League play commencing Feb. 23 out in Arizona.
The White Sox have the unenviable task of opening the exhibition schedule against the defending National League champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers playing hosts to the Pale Hose in Glendale. The White Sox will be the visitors, though they share the Camelback Ranch facility with the Dodgers, so they'll still be in their home ballpark. Their first official home game comes two days later, in a Feb. 25 matchup against the Cincinnati Reds.
The White Sox will face off against the Cubs in three "Cactus Crosstown" games on Feb. 27 and March 10 in Mesa and on March 16 in Glendale.
And in a cool wrap to the preseason, the White Sox will square off against their own Triple-A affiliate March 26 in Charlotte. The game against the Knights should be a fun watch considering all the future White Sox expected to make their way to the big leagues over the next couple seasons. The Knights' roster could be loaded with highly ranked prospects depending on how things shake out.
Here's the full schedule: