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White Sox players focused on winning in '18

MLB.com @scottmerkin

KANSAS CITY -- Wins and losses once again won't dictate success for the White Sox in 2018 in the midst of an ongoing rebuild.

But don't try to foist that logic upon the White Sox players working out at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for Thursday's season opener against the Royals at 3:15 p.m. CT, live on MLB.TV.

KANSAS CITY -- Wins and losses once again won't dictate success for the White Sox in 2018 in the midst of an ongoing rebuild.

But don't try to foist that logic upon the White Sox players working out at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for Thursday's season opener against the Royals at 3:15 p.m. CT, live on MLB.TV.

"We're going to win. We're going to win. There's no doubt about it," said confident White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "We're going to fight, and at the end of the season the results are going to be there.

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"That's our duty. We work hard, we prepare the best way that we can and we owe that to [White Sox manager] Ricky [Renteria]. He's the guy who has done all the hard work for us, and he's the guy who has given us the confidence and the right mental approach for this season and we're buying into it."

The reality of the 2018 season is that the White Sox might not end up as a .500 team, let alone a playoff contender. Then again, as White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has mentioned numerous times, development is not always linear.

Young players such as second baseman Yoan Moncada and right-handed starters Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer, who all had a taste of the Majors in '17, could take significant steps forward in '18 and help make the White Sox better than expected. The extended rebuild process certainly would not be hurt by another Top 5 pick in the Draft, a road traveled by teams such as the Cubs and Astros, eventually leading to a championship.

Video: Giolito on finding his form, White Sox clubhouse

White Sox players leave those sorts of permutations to the front office. Their focus falls primarily upon getting ready for a successful season.

"We don't buy into all that stuff," White Sox reliever Nate Jones said. "We are here to win, not to lose. We work hard every day and you could see that in Spring Training.

"There's a lot of talent in this locker room. We want to put that on display. If anything, it motivates us. We don't want to lose that many games. We don't want to have a Top 5 pick in the Draft. We want to be winning games and winning championships."

Championship thoughts look to be a couple years away for the White Sox, but they have assembled a talent-laden group and a group fitting well together. Veterans such as Jones, Hector Santiago and Opening Day starter James Shields are good influences on the up-and-coming younger crew.

Very few teams, if any, open a season with a mindset focused on anything but winning. But even if the White Sox fall short of that goal in '18, they know at the very least, the process has been put in place and is being refined for future success.

"Again, they look at every single day as, you know, we're trying to win a ballgame," Renteria said. "We did the same last year. Where we end up when it's all said and done is where we end up, but in the process we're hoping to play the game and make it exciting for everybody."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox