3 takeaways from the Chicago White Sox camp, including first baseman Andrew Vaughn resting with lower back pain – The Denver Post

Andrew Benintendi started the end of the first inning of Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in style, hitting a home run to right field.

It was the first home run of the spring for Benintendi, who joined the White Sox on a five-year deal in the offseason.

Jake Burger continued his strong spring at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI in the 6-4 loss at Camelback Ranch. Both hits were singles.

Here are three more takeaways from Saturday at Sox camp.

1. The Sox are playing it safe with Andrew Vaughn, who struggles with lower back pain daily.

The Sox recently rested the first baseman.

“Andrew is going to take a few days off,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “He had a ton of ABs – I think last time I checked he had (31) at-bats. He played a ton.

Vaughn last played March 12 against the Los Angeles Angels. He is hitting .323 (10 for 31) with a double, a triple, a home run and four RBIs with two walks and three runs in 11 games.

Vaughn takes over at first base after José Abreu signed with the Houston Astros in the offseason. Vaughn spent most of his first two major league seasons as an outfielder.

“He’s in a good position,” Grifol said. “There’s no reason to push him through anything. I’m sure if you asked him if he could play, he would say yes. But we’re not going to put him through anything just yet. He had a great camp. He feels comfortable at first base. We like where his swing is. He likes where his swing is so it’s fine.

2. Michael Kopech was consistent with his curveball on the second spring outing.

Kopech was aiming for four ups on Saturday.

He achieved that goal, even though he went out after facing the first batter of the third inning. It was a brief pause. Kopech returned for fourth, a spring training option, and faced another batter before the end of his day.

Kopech allowed an unearned run on three hits with three strikeouts and two walks in 2⅓ innings.

“The main goal of (Saturday) was to get four ups, and I got it, happy to do that,” Kopech said. “Obviously it could have been a lot cleaner. I went deep into accounts repeatedly. I would like to be a little more efficient. Clean up that first run and I could probably have a full third.

“I have to work on some things. Some things were there that I didn’t expect and some things that I expected weren’t there. It was a day to feel certain things. All in all, it was a good day of spring training.

Kopech has seen good results with his curve ball.

“I was trying to feel more comfortable throwing my curveball, landing it in the zone,” he said. “At the start of the game, I didn’t really feel comfortable with it. The first run was pretty much the only thing that there was any consistency with. It’s funny how things turn out like this.

“I have to work on that and also work to be faster in the plate. With the new rules and all, we’re going to have to find ways to control the game in progress a bit. And I was probably a little too fast (Saturday), which is probably a good problem to have – being able to slow me down instead of having to speed me up.

3. Gregory Santos’ “will to be great” impresses Pedro Grifol.

Santos faced four batters Friday against the Cubs. He retired every batter.

“What impressed me the most wasn’t the 100 mph fastball, it wasn’t the slider he throws for high percentage strikes, which is a good combination,” said Grifol about the spring of Santos. “His desire to be big is what impressed me the most.

“I spoke to him once at the plate. I told him once about PFPs and how you do that kind of work and how important that is to us. And I didn’t have to say it again. Every time you watch him take a PFP, you see him pick on it and treat it like this is how I’m going to make an adjustment.

Santos allowed three hits and struck out eight in 5⅓ scoreless innings this spring. The Sox acquired the right-hander from the San Francisco Giants for minor league pitcher Kade McClure on Dec. 22.

“Besides the 100mph fastball with plus-plus motion, slider he throws for strikes, his willingness to be awesome has been really impressive to me – and he’s a smart kid. A kid really smart,” Grifol said. “And the versatility. He can throw multiple innings and he’s got the stuff to throw any part of the game, not that we would now, he’s a young kid. He’s 23 years. It was a great cover.



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