New White Sox 3B Matt Davidson used to adjustments
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter December 17, 2013 9:53PM
Arizona Diamondbacks' Matt Davidson circles the bases after hitting a three-run home run against the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning of the Diamondbacks' 13-9 victory in a baseball game in Denver on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Updated: December 17, 2013 9:54PM
Matt Davidson, a pitcher through high school, didn’t know anything about playing third base when the Arizona Diamondbacks chose to convert him.
‘‘I had to learn everything,’’ the newest White Sox said Tuesday. ‘‘When I started, I was pretty bad — I won’t shy from that. But I’ve gotten better every year. It’s been hard, but I take pride in working on it.
‘‘I feel confident with my defensive game, but you can always get better. Even Gold Glovers never stop working.’’
It’s Davidson’s bat and ability to hit for power that most attracted the Sox, who acquired him Monday for closer Addison Reed.
‘‘I have to keep my focus on line drives, and then the home runs come,’’ Davidson said in a conference call. ‘‘But knowing [U.S. Cellular Field] is a hitter’s park, you kind of relax and know if you hit it well, it will go.
‘‘I’ve never been to Chicago,’’ the California native added. ‘‘The closest I’ve been was South Bend (Ind.) in the minor leagues. But I picked up a Sox hat last night, and I’ve been wearing it. Cool colors. I’m extremely glad and blessed to have the opportunity to be in a place like that.’’
General manager Rick Hahn called Davidson part of ‘‘a new core’’ for a team that struggled mightily on offense last summer in a 99-loss season. Hahn didn’t commit to Davidson’s Opening Day status, but he made clear he is the organization’s choice long-term.
‘‘Definitely, the goal is starting at third on Opening Day,’’ Davidson said. ‘‘But if it takes until May or June or later, if it’s starting in Class AAA, I trust whatever decision they make. I just know when I get there, I want to stick and not be up and down [in the minors].’’
Davidson spent just over a month in the majors last summer with the Diamondbacks in his first major-league stint, hitting .237 but with three home runs in an eight-day span in September. He also struck out 24 times in 76 at-bats, a statistic he wants to improve.
‘‘I don’t want to be a guy who strikes out a lot,’’ he said. ‘‘I hate looking at that column. But if you look at my trends, I strike out in bunches [as in one series]. What I’ve found is it’s more my approach that needs to get more consistent. If I stick to my approach, I don’t strike out as much.’’
Davidson will know at least one Sox player, ex-Diamondback Adam Eaton, who was acquired last week in a three-team deal. Davidson knows better the player he was traded for; he and Reed worked out at the same training facility in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
‘‘It’s pretty unreal,’’ Davidson said. ‘‘It blows my mind that what if we had been working out at the same time and got the calls? But I didn’t see him Monday.’’