GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dallas Keuchel was one of the first players to apologize for Houston’s behavior during the 2017 sign-stealing scheme when he was questioned during SoxFest at the end of January.
The left-handed starter pitched for the Astros from 2012-18 and was an integral part of the team’s 2017 World Series championship. Keuchel was asked again about this topic Thursday at Camelback Ranch, as he addressed the media for the first time in his first Spring Training in Arizona, but in the process of discussing that initial apology, he also defended the Astros’ World Series title.
“We're always going to be World Series champs because we were talented and, to me, we earned the right to be World Series champs,” Keuchel said.
“Ultimately, it's up to the individual to show remorse or try to move on. I chose the remorse route because, hey, personally, I felt like that was what was owed. I owed it to my family and that's how I was raised. I'm going to remember that, but at the same time I'm going to try to help this organization win for the next three, hopefully four years down the road."
Keuchel agreed to a three-year, $55.5 million deal with a 2023 club option with the White Sox. He will be an important part of the rotation as well as an important mentor and clubhouse presence. But in that latter role, Keuchel doesn’t feel the need to clear the air with his new teammates over the Houston situation.
“I don't necessarily think so. I'm pretty much an open book with my teammates and like I said, the state of baseball, it was what it was at that time,” Keuchel said. “If they want to talk to me about anything, I'm more than open to talk to them about it.
“It's one of those things where we've got to move on. We've got to remember the past, but we've got to look toward the future and figure out what the best route is to go.”
More from Keuchel
There was more than Houston talk coming from Keuchel’s engaging 13-minute interview. Here are a few more excerpts:
On the White Sox and the playoffs:
“I told [general manager] Rick Hahn this. I said four out of the last five years, I've made the playoffs, and I don't expect any of these three years to be any different.”
“I have liked Chicago as a visiting city for quite a while. I think it's overall, like a cleaner Manhattan.”
On the White Sox rotation:
“The talent is endless. We just have to kind of get working on the mental state of some of these guys. Get them ready for the big league life and the ups and downs of Major League Baseball.”
Comparing the White Sox to other talented young teams:
“I saw a lot of Houston and some of the Braves stuff in the White Sox organization and I think they have a chance to even out-leap both of those organization that I’ve pitched for.”
On being considered a smart player:
“I’m not that smart. I just seems like I am. I got that persona. I don’t know who gave it me, so I appreciate that.”
Third to first
• According to the White Sox master pitching grid, Reynaldo López will start the Cactus League opener on Feb. 22 against the Angels at Camelback Ranch.
• Reliever Evan Marshall sent a signed Players Weekend “Forgetting Sarah” jersey to Jason Segel during the offseason. Segel, one of the stars of the comedy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, sent him a signed movie poster in return.
• Manager Rick Renteria would like to have a basic set lineup during the course of the season. He also knows there are options available to play matchups.
They said it
“I’m ready to take that next step. If you look back and see my second half, I had some really great approaches and I’m really looking forward to putting that in place this year.” -- right fielder Nomar Mazara on his new opportunity in Chicago.
“I don't want to say that it is. And I don't want to say that it isn't. And I'm not going to lock myself into what we're gonna ultimately decide to do.” -- Renteria on whether a third catcher such as Zack Collins could be the 26th man on the roster.