CHICAGO -- Andrew Vaughn -- the White Sox top pick in the 2019 Draft and third selection overall -- is viewed as the team’s first baseman of the future. But he might have another longer-shot option for the 2020 season at third base, where he worked out extensively on Wednesday
White Sox manager Rick Renteria believes Vaughn can handle the position, even after playing just 55 Minor League games overall and none above Advanced Class A Winston-Salem at the hot corner. That belief is based partially on conversations with several people from the organization and Vaughn.
“When we got here, the work in terms of trying to get him to have the ability to do a little bit more has come into play. We put him over there with the understanding that we'd continue to work,” Renteria said. “Be mindful obviously of what he's capable of doing.
“There are several of us that believe he's capable of moving around. He's got really good feet, his exchange is very good, got a very good arm. He has all the makings of being able to play that position.”
Vaughn, 22, told MLB.com during Spring Training about taking ground balls at third base and shortstop, much like José Abreu does during infield practice, to keep his feet moving and help him stay athletic. But he added a willingness and confidence to do whatever it took to get in the lineup.
This spot has opened up with the absence of Yoán Moncada from the early stages of Summer Camp. Vaughn already has the makings of a polished hitter, as exhibited this spring in Arizona, and his work at third gives him a defensive bonus.
“He's taken to it,” Renteria said. “I asked him a little bit about him playing third and he actually kind of gave me a little smile and said, ‘I actually played short.’
“I said, ‘OK, if you can play short you can probably play every position.’ Just keep working with him. It will just continue to expand his ability to do many things. He looks very comfortable.”
Moncada remains out
Moncada remained away from White Sox Summer Camp on Wednesday, missing out on Lucas Giolito’s simulated game.
“We are missing him,” said White Sox designated hitter Edwin Encarnación through interpreter Billy Russo of Moncada. “He’s our third baseman and a valuable piece of our team. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing him very soon.”
“Obviously, Moncada will be back soon,” Giolito said. “He's a huge part of this team. He's not going anywhere. I'm not too worried about it. This is a weird time for everybody. There's going to be some bumps in the road, and we'll get past them.”
Moncada will need time to work his way back into playing shape, with Opening Day against the Twins arriving July 24.
“Right now, take it one day at a time,” Renteria said. “In the meantime, we'll continue to do the things that are necessary to afford us options.
“We still have guys in transit, and hopefully we have a few more guys on the way. Once they do return, it goes without saying there is a time we have to get them on the field and see where they're at to determine how much we can push them to get them ready.”
No update on Kopech
There was nothing new Wednesday concerning Michael Kopech, with Renteria calling it a fluid situation and the team will deal with it as it arises. General manager Rick Hahn said last Friday the hard-throwing right-hander was excused from Camp with permission to handle a personal matter.
“Michael will be a big part of this going forward,” Giolito said. “Obviously, he has some things he has to take care of, and that's for him to deal with, that's his private life. It is what it is.”
No fans, but fan likenesses in Chicago
Even without fans physically in the Guaranteed Rate Field stands for the upcoming 60-game season, White Sox supporters will have representation.
FANtastic Faces, a new White Sox initiative, was announced Wednesday allowing fans to purchase a cardboard cutout of their likeness that will be displayed at Guaranteed Rate Field during the team’s first homestand against the Twins scheduled to begin on Friday, July 24. Sales of FANtastic Faces began Wednesday afternoon.
A limited supply of FANtastic Faces are available for $49 each, while supplies last, and fans interested in creating their personal cutout can submit a photo following the guidelines provided at whiteitesox.com/fantasticfaces. Net proceeds will benefit Chicago White Sox Charities, which provides annual financial, in-kind and emotional support to hundreds of Chicago-based organizations.
Those cutouts will be authenticated and available for pickup following the opening three-game series against Minnesota.
“It's going to be pretty funny,” Giolito said. “It's a good idea, just to get some color out there. But for me it's more the sound.
“I'm used to that ambient crowd chatter while I'm pitching and obviously the cheers and the boos depending on the situation. That's kind of where I'm most comfortable. I'm interested to see whether they'll be injecting that noise through the speakers or if it's just going to be silence.”
Third to first
Encarnación said the extended break caused by the coronavirus pandemic helped improve the soreness in his lower back he felt during Spring Training.
“I took advantage of it,” Encarnación said. “I feel very good, strong physically.”
Thursday’s first Summer Camp Intrasquad will now last four innings, instead of seven as mentioned Tuesday.
Relievers Aaron Bummer, Steve Cishek and Carson Fulmer are among Thursday’s pitchers.
“There will be a few sides and there are a couple of guys we might be able to add,” Renteria said. “That might be your little surprise piece for tomorrow.”
They said it
“The celebration is alive. Hopefully when the season starts, you’re going to see it very often.” -- Encarnación, when asked if his traditional post-home run walking the parrot celebration will live on in ’20
“We've had conversations about that before we got here, since we've gotten here, and I'd like to think that the whole squad is on board with staying as safe as possible.” -- Giolito, on the White Sox following safety protocol away from the field as well as at the field
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.