Mitchell ready to get started with Sox
First-rounder set to sign, head to Class A Kannapolis
CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen had just finished his pregame talk with the media on Tuesday when the White Sox manager gladly gave up his hot seat to a potential star of the future for the franchise.
"Welcome," said Guillen to Jared Mitchell, the White Sox top pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, who was getting ready for his first face-to-face with the Chicago media at U.S. Cellular Field.
"They will be nice to you now," said Guillen with a smile of the media. "But once you [mess] up out there, they will turn on you."
Mitchell laughed and didn't seem overly worried about future media criticism. Instead, the athletic left-handed hitter from LSU's 2009 national championship squad is focused on beginning his professional career.
The 23rd pick overall is not yet officially signed. That announcement could come as soon as Wednesday, with Mitchell then reporting to Class A Kannapolis on Thursday.
"I'm trying to get out there as soon as possible and get back into the swing of things," Mitchell said. "I'm real anxious.
"Being around here brings back that feeling of being around ball again. I've only been off for like a week and a half, but coming around the ballpark again just kind of makes you want to get back out there again."
Mitchell, who turns 21 on Oct. 19, was the 2009 College World Series Most Outstanding Player after hitting .348 with two home runs and seven RBIs for the Tigers. He joined Chad Jones as the first student-athletes in NCAA history to play for a Bowl Championship Series football national championship and participate in the CWS.
He batted .327 with 11 home runs and 50 RBIs for the 2009 campaign. Mitchell drew 57 walks and added 36 stolen bases, making him a prototypical leadoff man of the future.
If Mitchell has his way, that future will come quickly. He would like to follow the same path as fellow SEC standout Gordon Beckham -- one year in the Minors and then up to the White Sox.
"That's definitely the plan, try to help the team out in as many ways as I can and try to be a force in this lineup," Mitchell said. "I wouldn't compare myself to one person. I feel like I'm a pretty dynamic player who can get a lot better the more he plays."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.