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Paul DeJong connects with new teammates


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Chicago White Sox avoided the wrong end of a no-hitter in spring training with the final two singles in a 5-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday at Salt River Fields.

Bryan Ramos hit a sharp homer to advance to third, reaching what was initially ruled a fielding error in the eighth inning. This call was later turned into a hit. Oscar Colás grounded out to left in the ninth.

It was the second notable hit this spring for Colás, who struck out a grounder on a home run in Friday’s Cactus League opener against the Cubs. As spring training games get underway, here are three takeaways.

1. Paul DeJong has been praised for his consistency.

Paul DeJong looked at Friday’s Cactus League opener as a good way to shake off the cobwebs.

“Having a full workload day, getting our bodies used to the program is extremely important, and (Friday) was step one,” DeJong told the Tribune on Saturday.

Shortstop – who Signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal in November – He took away a lot of the positives from his first spring training game with the Sox.

Photos: Inside White Sox spring training

“I thought we played great defense, so that was a positive sign,” DeJong said. “On the offensive side, I adjusted my fastball timing and direction and threw a strike to the right side, which was a good sign for me. I’ll just take it day by day and do my best.

DeJong stole third and second in his two at-bats against the Cubs on Friday at Sloan Park. He went 0-for-1 against the Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Before Sunday’s game, manager Pedro Grifol said DeJong brings “consistency” to the Sox.

“He’s a smart, smart guy on and off the field,” Grifol said. “Employee. Professional. There are so many things I could use to describe Paul DeJong. Championship player. Great teammate. I could go on and on. I haven’t seen anything in this negative corner and I don’t think I would go too far with his makeup and character.”

DeJong, a Gold Glove Award finalist in 2019, is expected to help the team defensively. He saw some benefits from spring defensive reps around the diamond in Friday’s game.

“Getting reps together helps a lot,” he said. “And knowing where each other were before the pitch, so that when I replay (Friday’s second inning) and (Alexander Canario) hits the ball up the middle and we come out with a force out at second, I can just slide into the bag and (second baseman Nicky Lopez) can throw the ball to me. Also (Rafael) Ortega in left field, he was kind of a ball of sunshine for me, I saw it at the end, but he was aggressive enough to cancel it out. And Ramos (at third base) is making some nice plays and (first baseman Andrew Vaughn) is getting the ball out of the dirt. “I was happy to see our defense.”

DeJong, who played at Antioch and Illinois State, was also happy to connect with his new teammates.

“The clubhouse was great,” he said. “The vibrations were amazing. We’ve had a lot of great training and even the off-field stuff has been great too, it’s a long way to meet and get to know each other and we have to build the trust in each other every day.

“It was very exciting to go to Chicago (in February) for the fan festival and see some of the Illinois State and Antioch people. “Coming home for our first game will be the real opening ceremony.”

2. Martín Maldonado holds himself responsible.

Martín Maldonado of the Chicago White Sox catches a bullpen session during a spring training practice at Camelback Farm in Glendale, Ariz., on February 21, 2024 (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Catcher Martín Maldonado hit a slow homer near the mound in the second inning of Friday’s game. The ball sailed past pitcher Jordan Wicks. He still had time for a second chance to get Maldonado at first, but the ball slipped out of his hands.

Maldonado later stated that he would speak to the team about taking part in the game.

“I think it’s important to make sure we’re on the same page as a team,” Maldonado said Sunday. “We have some goals to accomplish. I haven’t gotten out of the box the way I should have. I want to lead by example.”

Grifol thought it was a good thing Maldonado brought the issue up to the team.

“I think we have to have exactly the same mentality as a team or as individuals,” Maldonado said. “If I want someone to be accountable for themselves, I have to be accountable to myself first.”

3. Prospect Jonathan Cannon continues to work on platinum.


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