Pitching just another tool in Davidson's toolbox

August 7th, 2018

CHICAGO -- Matt Davidson has a passion for pitching.

He has made that point clear after each of his three scoreless relief outings this season. But the 27-year-old third baseman/first baseman/designated hitter, who has 42 home runs and 110 RBIs over the last two seasons, is not remotely thinking about putting aside the bat.

"No, I still have value hitting," Davidson said. "I think doing that kind of both ways can bring a lot of value to a team. Where I'm an extra arm in the 'pen, you can DH, third and first, do a little everything. I really don't have speed so it's kind of my other tool."

Davidson threw 21 pitches in the ninth inning of Monday's 7-0 loss and felt a little soreness Tuesday but nothing out of the normal. He topped out at 91.7 mph with the fastball per Statcast™, while mixing in one changeup and six curves, including the pitch used to strike out .

Pitching in a higher leverage situation would be the next goal for Davidson after becoming one of 12 position players since 1974 (not including ) to make three or more pitching appearances in one season.

"I've pitched my whole life coming up. That's how I got into the game," Davidson said. "I was a pitcher and then I learned how to hit a little bit later on. But I wanted to be a Major League pitcher. I studied, took lessons I worked with guys. I did it all from a young age."

Abreu sharpening defense

Much of the recent focus regarding centers upon his .382 average, 1.243 OPS, six home runs, 11 RBIs and nine multi-hit efforts over his last 14 games, raising his average from .250 to .267. But one of the game's top middle-of-the-order presences has continued working diligently on improving his defense at first base, work paying off via steady showings with the glove as well as a few well above average efforts mixed in since the All-Star break.

Abreu credited his work with bench coach Joe McEwing for the improvements.

"That was a goal I set for myself at the end of last season," said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "I heard a lot of people saying my defense wasn't good enough, I said, 'I don't think that's true. I'm going to work hard to prove that they are wrong and I can be a very good defender at first base.' I take a lot of pride in that part of my game.

"I've been taking ground balls at shortstop and third base, just to keep my feet moving instead of just standing. It's just to be more active. That's something [McEwing] brought up to me and I said, 'You know what? You're right.' I've been doing it for a while now and I'm feeling good."

Third to first

• Class A Advanced Winston-Salem C Yermin Mercedes was been named Carolina League Player of the Week for the period of July 30 to Aug. 5. Mercedes went 6-for-11 with a double, two home runs and four RBIs in four games during the week. Mercedes became the fourth member of the Dash this season to earn a Carolina League weekly honor, following OF (April 5-15), RHP Jimmy Lambert, ranked No. 21 by MLB Pipeline, (April 23-29) and RHP (April 30-May 6).

• Matt Vasgersian will work approximately three innings with Hawk Harrelson in the White Sox television booth this Sunday vs. Cleveland. Tom Paciorek will fill in for Steve Stone as television analyst alongside Jason Benetti for the White Sox series at Detroit from Aug. 13-15.