Colás knocks 1st MLB hit in pinch debut for Sox
HOUSTON -- For his first Major League appearance, as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning of a 3-2 victory over the Astros on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park, White Sox rookie Oscar Colás admitted to feeling tight at the plate.
“It was a very, very tense moment for me,” Colás said through interpreter Billy Russo. “First time playing, facing that many people. It was loud. But I told myself, 'I’ve worked for this' and then let’s do it. I was nervous at first, for sure.”
Colás came through, singling to center on the first pitch he saw from reliever Héctor Neris. The line drive with a 109.4 mph exit velocity, per Statcast, put Colás officially in the record books, although he was stranded at third base.
In the ninth, Colás connected on a long fly ball to right against Houston closer Ryan Pressly that looked like it had a chance to give the White Sox a lead when it left the bat. Kyle Tucker made the catch a few steps away from the right-center fence.
“More or less,” Colás said on whether he thought that last drive was going to clear the fence. “I hit the ball at the end of the bat, and then I wasn’t sure.”
Manger Pedro Grifol liked Romy Gonzalez in right field for an Opening Day featuring the Astros’ celebration of their 2022 World Series title, with the right-handed hitter matching up with Houston southpaw Framber Valdez. Colás got the call with Neris in the game when Gonzalez’s spot came up in the order.
Colás’ mom, wife and agent were among his supporters in attendance to see the first of what should be many hits. Earlier in the day, Jim Thome -- the Hall of Fame slugger and special assistant to White Sox general manager Rick Hahn -- praised what he saw from Colás during Spring Training.
“Early on, what impressed me is he wanted to get his hits,” Thome told MLB.com. “The other thing is he’s athletic. We now have an athletic outfielder that I think is going to really help us. He’s an intense kid that wants to be good, and the sky is the limit watching him.
“Any time a young kid comes up and you see them use the opposite field to center field, you are like as a hitter ‘This could play.’ And I think that’s what we are going to see.”
Wearing jersey No. 22, a number he intends to make his own, Colás won out over a case of the jitters.
“I told myself, ‘Relax, you’ve done this before,’” Colás said. “I did it, and I was able to hit the ball.”