De Aza not preoccupied with possible cut in playing time
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter February 24, 2014 8:01PM
Updated: February 24, 2014 8:48PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Outfielder Alejandro De Aza is facing a potential cut in playing time, but he is taking it in stride.
During the offseason, the White Sox acquired Adam Eaton to play center field and lead off — two roles De Aza held last season.
De Aza, though, said that doesn’t change anything for him.
‘‘Not at all,’’ he said Monday. ‘‘I’m here to play baseball, and that’s a thing I can’t control. I have to try to control whatever is in my hands. [The trade for Eaton is] what the team is doing to find a way to make the team better. It’s fine. It’s fine with me.’’
Barring a trade, the left-handed-hitting De Aza might platoon in left field with right-handed-hitting Dayan Viciedo. He could also spell Eaton in center and Avisail Garcia in right.
‘‘I don’t mind playing any position in the outfield,’’ De Aza said. ‘‘It’s baseball. If I play center, right, left, it’s the same thing.’’
De Aza’s defense and baserunning were shaky at times last season, but he was one of the Sox’ most productive hitters, batting .264 with 17 home runs, 62 RBI and 20 stolen bases. He said those numbers weren’t all that good, though.
‘‘Not really,’’ De Aza said. ‘‘It wasn’t the way I expected it to go. I want to cut down on strikeouts, get on base more and score more runs.’’
Staying low is key
Matt Davidson is still a work in progress at third base. The early read on him is that his hands and arm are good, but some challenges come along with his 6-2, 215-pound frame.
‘‘We’re working on his pre-pitch routine, coming out of it, staying low with a good, wide base,’’ said coach Joe McEwing, who oversees infielders. ‘‘The biggest thing for him is staying low for as big as he is. It’s much easier to work from down to up rather than up to down.’’
Davidson, 22, was a first-round draft pick of the Diamondbacks in 2009. The Sox traded proven closer Addison Reed to get him.
‘‘Time will tell how that works out,’’ McEwing said. ‘‘Remember, he’s only 22.’’
‘‘It’s a process,’’ Davidson said of his defense. ‘‘I was not good at all and had barely played third base when I got drafted. But I’ve improved every year. As long as I do that, I’ll be OK.’’
This and that
The Sox’ TV schedule features 107 games on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 30 on Channel 9 and 25 on Channel 26. Ken Harrelson is entering his 30th season in the TV booth and analyst Steve Stone his seventh. WSCR-AM (670) will air all 162 games.
† An intrasquad game is planned for Tuesday. Prospect Chris Beck and Andre Rienzo
will pitch first.
† Right-hander Nate Jones (glute strain) participated in pitchers’ fielding practice.