I'll admit it was hard to turn the page in the beginning. Early on, after I signed here, there were a couple of times I still said, "Texas Rangers," when I meant to say, "Chicago White Sox."It's tough when you spend so long with one organization. Texas drafted me in
I'll admit it was hard to turn the page in the beginning. Early on, after I signed here, there were a couple of times I still said, "Texas Rangers," when I meant to say, "Chicago White Sox."
It's tough when you spend so long with one organization. Texas drafted me in 2007, and [it] did a great job making me who I am today. It's difficult to leave all of your friends, but at the same time you have to respect that it is a business. There are no hard feelings, and maybe the change of scenery will be good for me.
:: Chicago White Sox: In My Words ::
There was a transition. The first day of Spring Training, I was kind of quiet. It's a new organization, and I wanted to feel out the guys. I didn't want to be that guy that jumps in right away. This isn't my team. I've got to respect the guys who have been here longer than me.
But my teammates wanted me to be me. I give credit to guys like Todd Frazier. He said, "Be who you are." They wanted me to bring that energy every day. I like to keep guys loose. I have a personality; I do some impressions. I've been told my Harry Caray is pretty good. I like doing Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I do Kermit [the Frog] for the kids. You can't get too tight in baseball. You've got to enjoy the game and each other's company. I've been doing that since Day 2.
I'm only 30, and yet it's shocking to me that I am one of the older guys on the team. This organization has a lot of young players. I want to make those guys feel comfortable; let them know that the game doesn't change from Triple-A to the big leagues. There's just more people in the stands.
It's interesting that they ask me the same questions I did when I was coming up. After getting drafted in the 25th round, you always carry a chip on your shoulder. Even if you throw a perfect game, you still have to prove yourself in the next start.
My goals remain the same each year: To stay healthy and pitch 200 innings. I have had some injury problems, but you have to continue to fight. I did some good work with [pitching coach] Don Cooper and [strength coach] Allen Thomas in the spring. The focus is there. I am on a good path.
If you want to know more about me, you can follow me on Twitter at @Dutch_Oven45. I have more than 271,000 followers. Those are the people who make you who you are. That's what sports is all about. You also can find out more about my "60 Feet 6 Foundation."
Launched in 2015, our inspiration is Briggs Berry -- a wonderful and courageous young man whom I got to know in Dallas. Even though he was battling cancer, Briggs never stopped thinking of others. In addition to spending time with patients, Briggs planned and designed a teen-life room in the hospital and worked as the patient ambassador to Children's Miracle Network. It was devastating when he died at the age of 18 in '14. Our foundation honors his memory by raising funds that support several charitable causes, including pediatric diseases. I invited Briggs' parents to come up for my first start in Chicago. I love this city. I'm a big Italian restaurant guy, and I've got quite a few places to check out here. It also feels good to be in Big Ten country. Even though I grew up in Columbus, [Ohio], I am a huge Michigan fan. I've heard a few "Go Blue" [chants] from the fans. The Texas chapter of my life was terrific, but it is over. I'm excited to be a White Sox guy now.
As told to Ed Sherman.