8/14/2013 6:35 P.M. ET
Gillaspie too focused to look toward next year
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- A mid-August glance at the hypothetical 2014 White Sox depth chart shows Conor Gillaspie as the team's starting third baseman.
But don't try to get the 26-year-old to admit such a fact as even a possibility.
During a recent interview with MLB.com, the well-spoken Gillaspie definitively stated that his rookie campaign had a much steeper learning curve than he could have imagined. Thoughts of a future starting job were met by a Gillaspie chuckle, but certainly not a dismissive one.
It was more an indication that he had too much to focus on presently to worry about next year.
"As hard as this game is, it wouldn't surprise me to not get a hit for two more weeks," Gillaspie said. "My role going into the year was to play when asked, and to do what was asked of me. I try to do that every day.
"If that means I'm a starter or I'm not a starter, I don't really care. I'm just hoping to do enough things well -- whether it's a sac fly or moving a runner over or making a play when you are not hitting good. Those are the types of things that buy you more time to show them you actually can play.
"I just have to keep battling, keep grinding, keep working, keep learning and just keep trying to do bits and pieces of this game right so somebody says, 'Hey, this guy might be able to help us in the future,'" Gillaspie said. "That's what it's all about. As a young guy, that's what you have to try to look forward to. Numbers-wise and what a lot of young guys, myself included, are used to doing, it's probably not going to happen that first year or two up here."
Gillaspie was a revelation earlier this year, hitting .311 in April, .263 in May and playing airtight defense. His glove work has stayed at a high level, but his average dipped to .177 in June and, entering entering Wednesday, was .167 in August, though he did hit an RBI single in his first at-bat.
He went 1-for-3 with two walks in Wednesday's 6-4 loss to the Tigers, but made his ninth and 10th errors of the season. The first, a throwing error in the sixth, allowed two runs to score.
Those offensive struggles have given Gillaspie a high level of respect for players who are consistently successful at the plate.
"You just don't realize how hard it is until you do it," said Gillaspie of hitting .300. "I've learned more here in one year than I have in my whole life. That's probably true for most people. It never ends.
"One day you think you've figured something out, and it's a rude awakening that day. I've had some success and a lot of failures, and basically as a younger guy, you try to play and do enough things right to where you get another chance the next year or the next month or whatever. That's kind of where I'm at."
"This game is constant frustration, constant grind, constant down on yourself. It never stops," Gillaspie said. "So, you appreciate the guys that can flat out do it every single year. People rag players for the amount of money they make. I'm going to tell you what: If you did it, you would never think twice about the money they give some of these guys, because they all deserve it."
Ventura stands behind Ramirez's fielding
CHICAGO -- Two errors committed by Alexei Ramirez in Tuesday's 11-inning victory over Detroit brought his season total to 19, one shy of his career high set in 2009 and 2010. He initially had three error in the game, but the official scorer overturned his call on one of the plays on Wednesday.
Still, manager Robin Ventura hasn't lost confidence in a player he still views as one of the best shortstops in the American League.
"You can have a season where you're just not as good as other ones, but again he'll come back and make a play that nobody else in the league can make," Ventura said. "You don't know exactly what it is.
"He has a lot of other stuff going on that, it's tough to deal with at times. That's stuff that's off the field. It's hard to have him separate those two at times."
Ventura was alluding to the tragic death of Ramirez's father-in-law during Spring Training, which would affect the toughest of competitors. Ramirez extended his season-high hitting streak to 11 games with a single in his first at-bat on Wednesday and entered the day with 25 stolen bases, not to mention the belief from his manager that the abundance of defensive miscues won't happen again in 2014.
"I don't see this repeating itself," Ventura said.
In Wednesday's 6-4 loss to Detroit, Ramirez, who went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run, made a heads-up play that eventually got Jose Iglesias out in a rundown.
Garcia has speed to go along with power
CHICAGO -- The 6-foot-4, 240-pound physique of Avisail Garcia would certainly indicate the frame of a power hitter in the making. But as Garcia raced around the bases during his fourth-inning triple on Tuesday, the skill that has caught the eye of everyone who watches him jumped to the forefront.
"Some people say, 'You can't run,'" Garcia said with a smile. "I say, 'Oh, ok.'"
"Size and speed is unique for a guy to have both of those," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You usually see a guy like that, he's not very athletic. [But] he's a very athletic kid. He's strong. We're going to see this from the beginning, so it's real fun to watch."
Ventura envisions Garcia, who went 2-for-5 with an RBI single in Wednesday's 6-4 loss to Detroit (his former team), sticking in right field for the immediate future.
Leyland doesn't believe in White Sox playing spoiler
CHICAGO -- It's hard for the White Sox to play spoiler against a Tigers team that entered Wednesday's series final with a six-game lead over the Indians and 6 1/2 games over the Royals.
But even if that division race was a little closer, Detroit manager Jim Leyland doesn't believe in the concept of the White Sox getting more fired up to beat the Tigers over a non-contender.
"That's all silly stuff. That's high school stuff. These guys are professionals," Leyland said before Wednesday's game. "The White Sox are trying to win as many games as they can.
"Robin Ventura is a very good manager. They're busting their [butt]. They haven't had a real good year up to this point, but I don't think they're sitting over there saying, 'Oh, we want to beat the Detroit Tigers because they're in first place.'"
The fact remains that the White Sox swept the Yankees, a team on the fringe of playoff contention, and took the first two from the Tigers on this 10-game homestand. They lost three of four to a Twins team as far out of the playoffs as they are, but Leyland thinks it's the White Sox talent producing the wins more than shifting into a higher gear against good teams.
"[Jose] Quintana, the kid that pitched the night before, these guys are good. When you pitch Chris Sale, you're probably as good as anybody in the league," Leyland said. "People don't understand that stuff. So I think that's all high school stuff. That spoiler stuff, I've never bought into that in my life.
"You go out there, I don't care where anybody else is in the standings, we're trying to win games, and they're trying to win games. Now, you might get some player that says, 'Oh, yeah, oh boy,' but I don't pay much attention. They're trying to look at some guys. They're very proud just like we are and all the other teams."
Third to first
• Paul Konerko got an off-day on Wednesday, but it was primarily about Ventura resting the captain on a day game after a late-running night game.
"Guys at that age get a little tighter a day game after a night game," Ventura said. "Let him have a little spa day."
• Dayan Viciedo's sore left thumb continues to improve, but not enough to return to the lineup. The left fielder had missed five straight games.
"He's getting closer to where he can catch and go out in the field," Ventura said. "It wouldn't be a stretch for him to go out there and catch normally. Right now he's still tentative and would compensate to be able to go out there and play. So we'll wait to make it where it's not."
• Marcus Semien was named the Southern League Topps Player of the Month for July after batting .372 with eight home runs and 20 RBIs for Double-A Birmingham. Semien, 22, led the Southern League in batting average, runs (28), walks (29), hits (35), extra-base hits (18), total bases (70), on-base percentage (.524), slugging percentage (.745) and OPS (1.269) in the month.
The sixth-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft was promoted to Triple-A Charlotte on Aug. 1, and is expected to get a September call-up to the White Sox. He has 99 runs scored between his two stops, which rank behind only the White Sox Micah Johnson (100) in all the Minors.
• The White Sox are 7-13 in extra innings this season after Tuesday's 4-3 win in 11 innings.