Tyler Saladino among infield options for White Sox

Tyler Saladino is a sort of “tweener” when it comes to the White Sox clubhouse this spring.With 161 games over two seasons under his belt, the 27-year-old infielder is not yet a clubhouse veteran, so he still looks to the example of players such as Todd...

Tyler Saladino among infield options for White Sox

Tyler Saladino is a sort of “tweener” when it comes to the White Sox clubhouse this spring.With 161 games over two seasons under his belt, the 27-year-old infielder is not yet a clubhouse veteran, so he still looks to the example of players such as Todd...

26 Şubat 2017 Pazar 13:03
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Tyler Saladino among infield options for White Sox

Tyler Saladino is a sort of “tweener” when it comes to the White Sox clubhouse this spring.

With 161 games over two seasons under his belt, the 27-year-old infielder is not yet a clubhouse veteran, so he still looks to the example of players such as Todd Frazier, Geovany Soto and Melky Cabrera. But he also has enough experience he feels like he can help some of the younger players upon which the Sox are staking their rebuild.

Saladino likes the dual roles, and he said he goes home feeling excited every day thinking about continuing to develop with the Sox as they try to mold the young group into a contender.  

“Personally, I just want to compete and be a tough out at the plate, a hard-nosed guy on the field who can hold it down on defense,” Saladino said of his spring goals. “And then I want to grow with these guys. I want to be here with this group, and I’m excited for all of the things to come. I can be a part of that transition.”

Where Saladino fits into this year’s group remains to be seen.

Second base is one of a few positions that appeared up for grabs as the Sox opened Cactus League games this weekend.

Sox manager Rick Renteria said Saturday that he’ll let the competition play out over the course of the spring, and he mentioned Saladino, Brett Lawrie, Yolmer Sanchez and Leury Garcia as players who could battle for the job at second base and a bench spot.

Of course, the Sox also have heralded prospect Yoan Moncada working out at second base, but the initial plan is he’ll start the year at Triple-A Charlotte, unless he changes their minds.

“As we’re starting the games and everything, we’re going to see where it fits with any number of them to be a part of this club,” Renteria said. “Obviously the flexibility for all three is really important, so we’re going to try to take advantage of it. As we move forward, which is quite a ways down the road, we’ll figure out where we’re at. “

Photos as the White Sox practice at spring training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.

Sanchez and Moncada played at second in the spring opener Saturday, and Garcia started there Sunday, with Saladino playing shortstop.

Lawrie hasn’t played because he said his body doesn’t yet feel 100 percent in his quest to return from a leg injury he believed stemmed from the use of orthotics last year.

“I haven’t really gone backwards, and that’s been key for me,” Lawrie said. “I guess the biggest thing is being able to trust myself when I get out on the field and not have to worry about my body and just worry about the game. If I can’t do that then I’m not going to go out there.”

Saladino received extra playing time in August and September in 2016 after Lawrie went down with the injury.

Despite being slowed late in the year with a herniated disc in his back, he finished the year with a line of .282/.315/.409 and had 14 doubles, eight home runs and 11 stolen bases over 93 games. He also spent at least one out at every position except pitcher and catcher last year, including 41 games at second and 32 games at shortstop.

In his first full season in the majors, he said he learned about “pacing yourself and understanding the process.”

“Whether it’s spring or in the season, you’re making sure you’re staying in the moment and not getting ahead of yourself, staying in the process throughout the whole season,” Saladino said. “It was a good step forward to learn everything about what it takes to play a full season. Obviously physically, you learn ways to take care of yourself better, and also being able to play all of the other teams, getting that experience on the field, it was a good year.”

As for securing his job this year, Saladino said it’s too early to think about it and said he’s more focused on adjusting to a new manager.

“The most important thing for us collectively is we’re all trying to come together, be under the leadership of Ricky,” Saladino said. “We want to take everything in he’s trying to instill in us, change the character a little bit in how we’re going about things.”  

Caption White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie on sitting out early spring games

White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie on sitting out early spring games. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune) 

White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie on sitting out early spring games. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune) 

Caption White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie on sitting out early spring games

White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie on sitting out early spring games. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune) 

White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie on sitting out early spring games. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune) 

Caption White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon talks about first bullpen

White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon avoids teammate's distracting grunts, talks about first bullpen. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon avoids teammate's distracting grunts, talks about first bullpen. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

Caption White Sox catcher Zack Collins on his Catcus League debut

White Sox catcher and 2016 draft pick Zack Collins reacts after his Cactus League debut on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox catcher and 2016 draft pick Zack Collins reacts after his Cactus League debut on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Carson Fulmer on pitching two scoreless innings in spring opener

White Sox pitcher Carson Fulmer reacts after throwing two scoreless innings in the team's exhibition opener against the Dodgers on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox pitcher Carson Fulmer reacts after throwing two scoreless innings in the team's exhibition opener against the Dodgers on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

Caption White Sox manager Rick Renteria on Brett Lawrie's leg injury

White Sox manager Rick Renteria on Brett Lawrie's leg injury. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune) 

White Sox manager Rick Renteria on Brett Lawrie's leg injury. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune) 

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Brett Lawrie
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