CHICAGO -- There was more than just the physical side to Oscar Colás’ early struggles after making the White Sox Opening Day roster this season.
In 25 games prior to being sent to Charlotte, Colás batted .211 with one home run and seven RBIs. But the talented left-handed hitter had to find a pregame preparation and a plate approach that worked for him, as well as learning how to handle failure.
“As a rookie, I think I was trying to do too much. I was battling with my anxieties. Now, I'm in a better position,” said Colás, through interpreter Billy Russo. “In the past, I just felt overwhelmed and I just put my head down. Now, I'm able to just sit down and think about it and analyze what happened or the situation. That helped me to get better.”
Manager Pedro Grifol also highlighted the emotional learning curve for the 24-year-old Colás.
“He’s a guy that plays with a lot of flair and a lot of emotion, and we’re asking him to tone that down a little bit,” Grifol said. “I don’t want him to stop playing with fire or emotion. I just want, when mistakes are made, to stay calm and just understand that we’re going to learn from this and we’re going to move on, but we’re certainly not going to add to it.”
Colás slashed .293/.358/.508 with 14 doubles, nine home runs, 29 RBIs, 35 runs scored, 18 walks and an .866 OPS in 48 games with the Knights. He hit safely in his last eight games from June 22-30, going 13-for-33 with six home runs, eight RBIs, five multi-hit efforts and a 1.382 OPS.
“My results were just the work I was putting in every day there,” said Colás of his Charlotte success, followed up by a 1-for-4 showing via a bunt single during a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday. “Ever since they sent me down, I started working harder. And even though the results didn't show up at the beginning, I knew that sooner rather than later the results would be there.
“I'm 100 percent convinced that the results are going to be better this time. My confidence was always there. I am very confident in myself right now, too.”
Grifol and general manager Rick Hahn all but named Colás as their right fielder for the 75 remaining regular-season games after Tuesday, although Grifol will pick and choose some breaks. Hahn also credited Charlotte manager Justin Jirschele and hitting coach Cameron Seitzer for the work they did with Colás after he returned.
“The work in terms of his pregame prep, his preparing for the pitchers, really just having a purposeful workday that has put him in a better position to succeed both offensively and defensively has been really what has stood out most,” Hahn said. “It translated to him doing more damage at the plate recently and also making better swing decisions. Hopefully, that translates here over the next several games as we lead up to the break.”
One other key factor Colás took away from his short big league stint is that pitchers at the highest level don’t frequently make mistakes.
“They can make one mistake per game, one mistake per at-bat, and you have to capitalize on those mistakes,” Colás said. “If not, you're going to be in trouble.”