PITTSBURGH -- Conor Gillaspie would love to play more often but he continues to make it clear that winning is his priority.
So while his playing time has been severely reduced, the White Sox third baseman said Monday afternoon he has his club’s best interest in mind versus his. Including Monday’s game at Pittsburgh, Gillaspie has started only four of 13 games this month as the White Sox have favored Gordon Beckham’s glove instead.
“I feel fine,” Gillaspie said. “I haven’t gotten as many at-bats as I did last year so it’s kind of hard, I feel. I’m definitely not in a groove, that’s for sure. But the bottom line is we need to win games. I’ve played a lot more the last two years and we weren’t winning games. Truthfully, it wasn’t that much fun. Whatever we need to do to win games, I’m all in. Whatever that entails, let’s get after it and hopefully we can start winning some games.”
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
Gillaspie is carrying a .256/.293/.400 slash line with three homers and 14 RBIs this season in 133 plate appearances. Beckham is hitting just .233/.298/.353 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 131 plate appearances. But Beckham’s glove is far more valuable to a team that has produced awful defense for 61 games.
The White Sox are 29th in the majors in Defensive Runs Saved at minus-43. They’re within two of last-place Philadelphia (minus-45) and nearly double the New York Yankees, who are 28th at minus-22. The Kansas City Royals are first overall with 42 Defensive Runs Saved.
Beckham is worth 2 Defensive Runs Saved in 271 2/3 innings at third this season while Gillaspie is minus-4 in 268.
For the time being, that has the White Sox giving considerably more time Beckham and Gillaspie adjusting to a new role. On Saturday, he hit a pinch-hit homer, the third of his career. On Sunday, he struck out on three pitches.
“Just have to change a little bit,” Gillaspie said. “You have to be ready the first pitch. Yesterday I wasn’t quite ready the first pitch and three pitches you are out. You really have to be ready to hit. When you are playing or starting, you have some time to not take an at-bat off but you can see a pitch or two. Sometimes that helps you. When you are pinch-hitting, you have to be ready.”
Gillaspie has done his best to be prepared for whatever the White Sox ask. If he’s disappointed, Gillaspie, who started 120 games last season, hasn’t shown it.
“Whatever they need,” Gillaspie said. “I stand true to that. I told you guys no matter what happens, that’s always going to be. The No. 1 goal here is to win and whatever gives us the best chance, if that means sitting games, then I’m all right with it. So, you just try to always stay positive and keep working hard.”