CHICAGO -- Talk concerning the White Sox closer role when this rebuilding club reaches its prime contention window usually centers upon prospects Zack Burdi or Ian Hamilton, if not a current starter who eventually finds his way to the bullpen.
But maybe current closer Alex Colome could stay in that role for a few years to come. The 30-year-old right-hander, who picked up his 100th career save on Monday night, is under team control through 2020 and he feels comfortable as part of the organization.
As one of the elite late-inning forces, Colome also understands an in-season trade could be possible if the White Sox fall out of the 2019 American League Central race.
“It’s hard just to think about that,” Colome said through interpreter Billy Russo. “I feel good here. I know that’s part of the business. Hopefully, we can have a good season this year. We can start winning games and be a competitive team. I would like to stay here.”
“He's been doing his thing since Spring Training, basically for a long time of his career,” White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said of Colome. “He's good.”
Colome could stay put if the White Sox unexpectedly surge in ’19. Then again, Colome doesn’t believe that potential surge is completely out of the question.
“I’m not saying we are going to win the World Series,” Colome said. “But I think that we can do good stuff and win some games. Who knows?”
Hamilton working his way back
Hamilton, ranked as the White Sox No. 14 prospect by MLB Pipeline, has allowed nine runs over 4 1/3 innings across five games for Triple-A Charlotte, striking out six and walking one. His Spring Training really didn’t begin until midway through March due to a sore shoulder setback related to a car accident in Arizona that he and his fiancee were involved in.
The 23-year-old right-hander understands the situation, but he isn’t viewing these poor early results as part of the preparation process.
“No one has said that, and I don’t want to hear that either. Need to keep going out there and keep throwing,” Hamilton said in Indianapolis this past weekend. “Instead of working on all of this in the back fields, it’s in the game now. Everything is real and matters.”
During the 2018 season, Hamilton posted 22 saves and a 1.74 ERA between stops at Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham before producing a 4.50 ERA over 10 games with the White Sox. Those impressive numbers are past history in Hamilton’s mind.
“Anything that happened last year is gone. That’s last year,” Hamilton said. “This year it’s seeing if I can get called back up. Build off of last year, but keep moving forward, not thinking ‘Oh, I did this last year.’ You know what I mean?”
Confidence is key for Anderson
White Sox manager Rick Renteria doesn’t think Tim Anderson is working any differently this season to produce a Major League-leading .453 average entering Tuesday and the highest average in franchise history through 15 games.
“It’s just confidence,” Renteria said. “That’s as simple as I could put it. Just confidence. It’s not different. He just understands and continues to believe in who he is. He’s more comfortable in his own skin.”
“I'm going to keep working, give these fans something to watch,” Anderson said. “It's fun. It's fun going out playing and having a lot of energy."
Welington Castillo’s game-winning home run celebration on Monday was greeted first by dugout silence from his teammates and then a sunflower seed celebratory barrage.
“Everybody came at me with sunflower seeds and put it all over my body, even inside my jersey,” Castillo said of his first homer this season. “It was fun, and I enjoyed it.”
They said it
“We just continue to keep going and keep showing we're ready to play. I think we're just obsessed with getting better.” -- Anderson