Of Andrew Vaughn's 261 career games in the major leagues, he's played 191 of them in the outfield – an entirely new world, atmosphere, and field (literally) for the then-rookie player.
"Definitely tough learning in the big leagues," Vaughn said of the outfield on the White Sox Talk podcast. "Never played it before. Go out there and I was doing my best every day I could. I was trying to learn as much as I could, get as many reps as I could.
"I think that that extra work and all that running around, I was never used to it. I just never was. My body would get tired. I would lose a lot of weight, try to gain it back and just kind of fluctuate and be sore and had to try to get through it."
Playing the outfield was no walk in the park for Vaughn. Last season, he earned a -14 defensive runs saved (DFRS) value playing the outfield – making him statistically the third-worst outfielder in the majors. The DFRS sets a value of "0" at replacement level, meaning any average player in the minors could record a "0" DFRS in the majors.
He's a natural first baseman at heart, expressing on the podcast he's played in the infield his entire collegiate and amateur career. He mentioned, jokingly, a brief stint as a relief pitcher, when he recorded an 8.00 ERA in college.
Vaughn faced obstacles far past playing in an unnatural position, too. He breezed through the minor leagues but experienced the Covid-19 pandemic almost immediately upon arriving on the professional level. And before he could think twice, the White Sox called him up to the majors full-time in 2021.
"It's a grind. 162 games is long. And I also had never done that before," Vaughn said. "I went college for half a year in the minors, then COVID and barely played a game, and then went straight into a long season. It's definitely something you got to get used to."
RELATED: Vaughn talks continuing legacy of White Sox first basemen
Heading into the 2023 season, Vaughn can take a breath. He'll attain the full-time post at first base, succeeding the likes of Jose Abreu, who signed a three-year $50 million deal with the World Series champion Houston Astros during the offseason.
Vaughn ascertains, however, just because his responsibilities are moving to a lesser physical role at first base, his regiment won't change as it pertains to his preparation on defense.
"I still got to maintain everything. I still got to be ready," Vaughn said. "It's different, different routines, different physical activity. But it's where I played for three years in college and it's kind of home to me, I guess you could say. And I'm excited to look at that and get better every day."