White Sox

White Sox purchase Jimmy Rollins' contract, name him Opening Day starter

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White Sox purchase Jimmy Rollins' contract, name him Opening Day starter

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While his first goal was to make the team, Jimmy Rollins also had his eye trained on the starting shortstop job, too.

The veteran nailed down both on Wednesday.

The White Sox purchased the contract of the non-roster invitee and manager Robin Ventura named Rollins the Opening Day shortstop for Monday’s game at the Oakland A’s. Rollins, who signed a minor-league deal with the team in February, will earn $2 million this season after he was put on the 25-man roster.

The White Sox also optioned Scott Carroll to Triple-A Charlotte and outrighted Jacob Turner to Charlotte.

[MORE: White Sox closer to finalized 25-man roster]

“To win the job is great,” Rollins said. “That’s just the beginning. Just go out there and be productive when I get my opportunities to play and when I’m getting my days off and rest, get ready for the next day.”

Rollins hit .354/.373/.604 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 48 at-bats this spring. The plan calls for Rollins to get the bulk of playing time with Tyler Saladino as his backup. But Ventura said Rollins, 37, would get his fair share of rest. Ventura said he likes how fresh Rollins has looked with an occasional day off.

“When he’s fresh he’s got some good range,” Ventura said. “He’s been making the plays he’s had to make.

“He swung the ball well down here from both sides of the plate. But you have to be fresh to do that and that’s part of the reason of having him and Sal together.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Rollins is open to the idea. He has an idea how he will use the occasional off day to recuperate. Rollins could also use the time to work in the cage. He’s pleased with the adjustments he made at the plate earlier this spring after he felt lost.

“I had a week there where I didn’t know what was going on,” Rollins said. “But I was able to make the adjustments and just having the confidence in myself to make the adjustments, especially after going through a lot of adjustments last year, I was able to do that and hopefully I can continue that for the rest of the season.”

The team has 29 players left in big league camp.

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.