White Sox

White Sox: League switch leads LaRoche to watch more video

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White Sox: League switch leads LaRoche to watch more video

For the next six games, Adam LaRoche can re-enter his comfort zone.

The White Sox first baseman/designated hitter, who spent 1,472 of his 1,478 games between 2004-2014 in the National League, will see some familiar faces against Cincinnati and Milwaukee over the next five days. It’s a welcome break from the assembly line of unfamiliar pitchers he’s had to learn how to approach in his first true go-around in the American League.

Moving to the American League has forced LaRoche to watch more video than he did during his stops in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Arizona and Washington.

[MORE: White Sox ready to see what Carlos Rodon can do]

“I’ve never been a video guy in the past,” LaRoche said. “I’ve never been one to sit down and study pitchers for whatever reason, it hasn’t really worked for me. But I’ve spent a little more time here and just picking guys’ brains that have maybe faced them a few times, kind of see how they pitch them and what the ball’s doing.”

LaRoche said he’ll study video for a given pitcher’s movement and to get a general idea of what his strengths and weaknesses are — “And that’s about all you can do,” he said. Velocity is difficult to gauge on video, given a 90 mile-per-hour fastball can look like 95 or 85 depending on the release point and how well the pitcher hides the ball, LaRoche explained.

While watching video has become an important part of LaRoche’s preparation, he’s not going over the top with it.

“I caution young guys a lot of spending too much time in the video room because you can cloud your brain for sure,” LaRoche said. “There’s only one way of hit, to be successful hitting, and that’s with a totally free and clear mind. Which is way easier said than done, I can tell you that from experience. But I think there’s such thing as putting too much information in there, when you go up and have too many things going through your mind.”

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Entering Saturday, LaRoche had a .212.330/.341 slash line with three home runs over 100 plate appearances. He’s only played first base in three of his 25 games, though said earlier this year the transition to primarily serving as a designated hitter hasn’t been as difficult as learning the new league.

The video work helps, but ultimately LaRoche said the biggest key to figuring out unfamiliar pitchers is facing them. He’s not using it as an excuse for his sub-optimal early-season stat line, though.

“I can’t use the excuse that it’s new pitchers that I haven’t seen,” LaRoche said. “The dimensions and everything have stayed the same, they still gotta throw it over the plate.

“… But you can watch all the video you want, read the reports or talk to guys all you want. Nothing’s comparable and nothing really represents standing in the box and seeing it live. That’s when you get your best feel for it.”

Rick Hahn 'intrigued' by offseason talks White Sox are involved in

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USA TODAY

Rick Hahn 'intrigued' by offseason talks White Sox are involved in

The baseball offseason is moving at a quicker pace than recent years and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is among those happy to see that.

Hahn and the White Sox contributed to that quick start to the offseason by signing Yasmani Grandal on Nov. 21. He said he prefers that in an interview with Bruce Levine and Matt Spiegel on 670 The Score on Saturday.

Hahn also gave an update on the team’s offseason.

“We still have work to do, but at the same time we’re obviously quite pleased to have added Yasmani Grandal, much to no one’s surprise bringing back Jose Abreu and we’re intrigued by some of the talks we have going on right now,” Hahn said. “Obviously you can’t convert on everything a point that was publicly driven home this past week, but at the same time we know that regardless of whether we convert on one specific target or not, there are still a lot of reasons to be excited based on the guys we currently have, much less what we may add in the coming weeks.”

The comment about being unable to convert on everything is surely a reference to Zack Wheeler signing with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Hahn didn’t give any hints as to what the White Sox are working on, but he did say he prefers the speed of this offseason.

“We’d certainly prefer to do things sooner rather than later,” Hahn said. “That’s generally true regardless of the time of year.”

If Hahn wants to get things done quickly, it would make sense that the winter meetings could be a time of White Sox activity. Hahn wasn’t biting on that.

“There’s nothing magical about getting a deal done Tuesday at the winter meetings,” Hahn said. “It creates a little more buzz perhaps and fulfills some expectations within the fanbase and the media.

“A guy is not going to have any less impact on your team if you acquire him Dec. 20 vs. Dec. 12.”

Hahn also gave updates on various current players on the team:

  • Yasmani Grandal has been studying up on White Sox pitchers and how he can help the young pitchers develop.

 

“This guy’s No. 1 goal and No. 1 priority is to make the pitchers better," Hahn said. "He’s texting me two, three times a week still with stuff he had seen on our guys and conversations he’s had with our guys about how he thinks we’re going to be able to get them better in the coming months.”

  • Hahn was asked if the White Sox would add another middle infielder to provide cover until Nick Madrigal comes up. He didn't rule it out, but cited Leury Garcia and Danny Mendick as capable of helping out. Hahn has previously said he expects Madrigal to be up for most of the 2020 season.
  • Nothing new here, but Hahn said Michael Kopech will enter spring training "without restriction" and will have "some innings management" throughout the season. Kopech missed 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery late in the 2018 season.
  • Carlos Rodon's timeline to return from Tommy John surgery hasn't changed. Hahn said they will re-evaluate him in April to see where he is after spring training. He is still tentatively expected to return in late July or early August.

 

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Are the White Sox about to sign Marcell Ozuna or not?

Are the White Sox about to sign Marcell Ozuna or not?

Depending on which report you choose to believe, the White Sox could be on the verge of filling the void in their outfield with one of the bigger names on this winter’s free-agent market.

Dominican reporter Frank Castillo tweeted Saturday that the White Sox will sign Marcell Ozuna, planning to announce the free-agent deal Monday.

Well, that was followed up by a report from The Score’s Bruce Levine, who said the White Sox are not about to sign Ozuna.

So there’s that.

The White Sox were connected to Ozuna earlier this offseason, as well as more recently, with MLB.com’s Jon Morosi writing last week that the team had interest in Japanese import Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, but were waiting to hear on the decisions of Ozuna and fellow free agent Nicholas Castellanos first.

Ozuna turned heads with his fantastic 2017 season for the Miami Marlins, when he slashed .312/.376/.548 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs. Since being dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals, Ozuna hit .263/.327/.452 with 52 homers and 177 RBIs in two seasons.

The White Sox have a pressing need in right field, making it little surprise that they’ve been tied to numerous options, including Ozuna, Castellanos and Joc Pederson. Ozuna, though, exclusively played left field in St. Louis. Were the White Sox to add him, would they insist he play right field? They’ve expressed little to no interest in moving Eloy Jimenez out of left field.

It’s rumor season, and there should be plenty more of them with the Winter Meetings starting Monday in San Diego. The White Sox are expected to continue the aggressive approach they’ve displayed already this winter with the signing of Yasmani Grandal and their reported high bid to Zack Wheeler, who took less money to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies.

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