White Sox

White Sox: Tyler Saladino's defense at third improves with experience

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White Sox: Tyler Saladino's defense at third improves with experience

He felt pretty comfortable when the White Sox asked him to play third but Tyler Saladino still wanted more repetitions.

The White Sox rookie spent a considerable amount of time at third base in spring training, taking countless ground balls. But with only five career appearances at the hot corner, including two at Triple-A Charlotte, Saladino knew he didn’t have enough time at game speed to learn the intricacies -- that would only come with more experience.

Given his play so far, it’s scary to think how good of a defender Saladino could become. Even though he has only played 259 innings, Saladino already ranks fifth in the majors among third baseman with seven Defensive Runs Saved, according to fangraphs.com.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“It’s not like it was foreign, it just took a little bit of actual live reps, too,” Saladino said. “Having hitters in there, being in the game and getting a feel for the reaction time. At first it was kind of harder to read the swing from third, which you still really can’t, to try toanticipate a little bit and maybe see if whoever’s catching sets up inside. Just the little things that can help you and then you can kind of relax andjust play.”

Saladino showed what a relaxed version of himself is defensively capable of early in Saturday’s loss. In the second inning alone, Saladino turned in three stellar plays. He caught Anthony Rizzo’s foul pop out on the run:

 

Stopped Jorge Soler’s grounder well beyond the bag by tipping it to himself and throwing to first:

 

And then laid out to rob Chris Denorfia with a diving grab:

[MORE: Sox DFA Bonifacio as Shuck returns]

Though the Denorfia catch earned him SportsCenter’s top play of the day, Saladino said Soler’s grounder was the toughest of the bunch. Saladino is a shortstop by trade and knows how the left side is much more reactive than the right side. But he’s still feeling out third base and constantly checks with coach Joe McEwing on positioning, Etc.

“I’ve seen quite a few ground balls in my career but it doesn’t mean they’re all the same,” Saladino said. “When the game comes that’s why it’s important that you’re anticipating or you try to put yourself in the best position. I’m checking with Joe all game to make sure I’m in the right position, get yourself in the best position possible to have a chance to defend. As long as you do that then you stay focused and do your best to make the plays.”

The White Sox turned Comerica Park into a Home Run Derby in Saturday's win

The White Sox turned Comerica Park into a Home Run Derby in Saturday's win

Chicks dug the White Sox on Saturday.

The South Siders hit four home runs in their 8-3 dismantling of the Tigers at Comerica Park. Tim Anderson stayed red-hot with a pair of long balls, Jose Abreu went deep in addition to his pair of doubles, and Daniel Palka made some interesting history with his long ball (see below).

We'll let our stat guru Chris Kamka take it from here.

Since their 10-29 start the White Sox are a respectable 6-4. Days at the plate like Saturday sure help.

Charlie Tilson plays in Detroit for first time since getting injured in his MLB debut

Charlie Tilson plays in Detroit for first time since getting injured in his MLB debut

For over two years, Charlie Tilson was starting to look like his own version of "Moonlight" Graham, the player made famous in the movie "Field of Dreams" because he played in one major league game and never got to bat.

The White Sox traded for Tilson just before the trade deadline passed in 2016. Two days later he made his big league debut with the White Sox in Detroit. He got a single in his first at-bat, but left the game with an injury and missed the rest of the season. Tilson also missed all of the 2017 season and his MLB future was starting to come into question.

Back healthy, Tilson started this season in Triple-A Charlotte and hit .248 in 39 games when he got called up to replace Leury Garcia, who was placed on the disabled list. On Thursday, Tilson returned to a big league field for the first time in more than 20 months. He went 0-for-3 in a loss to Baltimore.

Friday marked a return to the site of Tilson's big league debut and the injury that made it such a brief stint. Tilson has now played three big league games, over the course of nearly 21 months, and two of them have been in Detroit.

Tilson went 1-for-4, meaning both his hits are in Comerica Park. The White Sox lost 5-4 after giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth.