White Sox rookie Jordan Leasure can’t stop smiling

First-time major leaguer Jordan Leasure said his White Sox teammates kept walking up to him at the ballpark to say, “stop smiling.”

“It’s hard not to,” Leasure said.

Indeed it is when you make a major league team for the first time and are getting ready for Opening Day. That was Leasure’s world Thursday after he won a spot in the White Sox bullpen in spring training.

“It was really cool. Walking into the clubhouse, trying to find my way in here, and then going out to the stadium and seeing it for the first time.

“And the stadium is beautiful, it’s massive. Today I’m able to like know where I’m going, feel better about it.”

Leasure, acquired with righty Nick Nastrini last summer in trade that sent Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly to the Dodgers, strung together nine scoreless outings in spring training before giving up two runs in his last one Sunday.

“Power stuff, strike thrower, weapons to strike people out,” manager Pedro Grifol said when asked about Leasure, 25. “Composure, high character, good makeup.

“Obviously, we haven’t been in this venue here but I haven’t seen a moment overtake his character and personality. I’ve seen him stay within himself, not too up, not too down.”

Bullpen roles will evolve in the coming days. Leasure said he wasn’t exactly sure when he’ll pitch.

“Everyone in the bullpen will fit in somewhere,” Leasure said. “They have different pockets they want us to go in and face different hitters kind of based on the matchups. At this point, we are just ready to go whenever the phone rings.”

A first for Shewmake, too

Shewmake is one of three players acquired from the Braves in the Aaron Bummer trade who made the Opening Day roster. It’s Shewmake’s first.

“It’s hard to put into words to be honest with you,” Shewmake said. “Making your debut is one thing but to be on an Opening Day roster is a whole different experience.

“Everyone in the locker room has been good about keeping things light, loose and ready to go.”

Talk the talk

Luis Robert Jr. doesn’t need most questions from media interpreted for him, but he still uses translator Billy Russo to relay his answers. He suggested he’s getting closer to answering questions in English.

“I think I have it in there, but I’m still afraid to speak [English] in front of the cameras,” Robert, who is from Cuba, said through Russo. “It’s coming.”

Opening Day starter

Six topsy-turvy days after getting released, Kevin Pillar was the White Sox starting right fielder on Opening Day.

“It’s a cool celebration of getting here,” Pillar said. “We have four or five guys here making their first opening day roster so it’s exciting for them but it definitely is to me. This is my 10th Opening Day, which is a cool honor, and it’s even more special to be a starter.”

Pillar, who was in camp on a minor-league deal that would pay $3 million if he made the Opening Day roster, was released on Friday.

“At that particular time we were not ready to commit to putting him on the Opening Day roster,” said general manager Chris Getz, who on the same day signed veteran outfielder Robbie Grossman to a minor league deal. “I encouraged him to see what else is out there and he did that.”

Pillar came back on a $1 million salary with $500,000 in performance bonuses for plate appearances.

Left-handed hitting Dominic Fletcher will likely get the bulk of time in right field against right-handers. Pillar got the nod against Tigers lefty Tarik Skubal.

“I’m in a great place,” Pillar said Thursday. “I’m where I’m supposed to be at this given time.”

The contract “is a reminder that it’s no longer a game,” Pillar said. “We’re supposed to go out and play it like it’s a kid’s game, that’s the message we get, to play. But it is a business. It’s not personal.

“But this is a day to be celebrated, Opening Day.”

Source link


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *