Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Narvaez focused entering White Sox camp

MLB.com @JesseSanchezMLB

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox signed veteran Welington Castillo in the offseason to solidify the position and help young catchers Omar Narvaez and Kevan Smith reach their potential.

On the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers on Wednesday, Narvaez, 26, acknowledged that the first step to achieving his goal -- becoming the team's full-time catcher -- is by helping himself, focusing on the job at hand, and not worrying about the players in front or behind him on the depth chart.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox signed veteran Welington Castillo in the offseason to solidify the position and help young catchers Omar Narvaez and Kevan Smith reach their potential.

On the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers on Wednesday, Narvaez, 26, acknowledged that the first step to achieving his goal -- becoming the team's full-time catcher -- is by helping himself, focusing on the job at hand, and not worrying about the players in front or behind him on the depth chart.

Spring Training information

Castillo, 30, signed a two-year, $15 million contract, which includes a club option for 2020, in December.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I'm not against Castillo," Narvaez said. "We are competing for the same goal, which is to win. If he was here or not, I'm going to keep working hard to get everybody better and get myself better and win. That's all that matters."

Last season, Narvaez hit .277/.373/.340 with two home runs in 90 games while Smith, 29, hit .283/.309/.388 with four homers in 87 games. Both will compete for playing time behind Castillo.

As for Castillo, he led all Major League catchers by throwing out 44.4 percent (20-for-45) of attempted baserunners last season with the Orioles. On offense, he hit .282/.323/.490 with 20 home runs and 53 RBIs in 96 games.

"Wilton is a really good friend of mine so we'll help each other," Narvaez said.

Soria ready for any role
Reliever Joakim Soria said all of the right things on Wednesday morning.

The veteran right-hander made it known that he's 100 percent healthy and is willing pitch in any role out of the bullpen. He wants people to know that he will represent Chicago the best he can and he's ready to be a good teammate, just like he has been in his previous stops in the big leagues.

Video: Soria, M. Gonzalez look ahead to 2018

Soria made it clear that he will gladly take on the closer's job if and when he's called upon to do it. Other closer candidates include Nate Jones and Juan Minaya, but other options could emerge during camp.

"They haven't talked to me about any of that stuff, but let's see how spring works out," Soria said. "I have talked to [pitching coach Don Cooper] and [manager Rick Renteria], but never about role stuff. I'm just coming in here healthy and ready to compete."

Soria has racked up 204 saves in 573 relief appearances during 10 seasons with the Royals (2007-11, '16-'17), Rangers (2013-14), Tigers (2014-15) and Pirates (2015). He is tied for sixth in saves and ranks eighth in save percentage (82.9) among active pitchers.

"[Closing is] something that I have been doing a big part of my career," Soria said. "I know how to do it and I know what it takes. If they decide to give me that spot, I'll be really happy to accept that."

And while Soria's fastball doesn't have the same velocity it once had, it remains his primary pitch.

"I always rely on the fastball," he said. "I consider that my first pitch because I can command it very well, but this is a game of adjustments and you have to adjust to keep playing. If you are old enough to say you are a veteran, you have to make adjustments."

Worth noting
The arrival of pitchers Bruce Rondon and Jose Ruiz along with shortstop Jose Rondon and catcher Alfredo Gonzalez, who are all from Venezuela, has been delayed because of visa issues. It's uncertain when the players will report to camp.

Jesse Sanchez, who has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Chicago White Sox, Welington Castillo, Omar Narvaez, Kevan Smith, Joakim Soria