Colás rediscovering abilities at first base

Shewmake playing fast -- literally and figuratively

March 4th, 2024

TEMPE, Ariz. -- played first base for the first time with the White Sox during a 14-3 loss to the Rangers on Saturday afternoon. But it was not the first time Colás tried his hand at that position.

“I feel comfortable because I used to play that position in Japan, like four or five years ago,” Colás said through interpreter Billy Russo. “I was an outfielder and a first baseman.

“Right now, it’s just an adjustment. I can’t say I feel completely comfortable, but I’m working on feeling comfortable again there.”

Colás, 25, played 106 games at first between teams in Cuba and Japan, but he just started taking the infield again at the position four or five days ago. First base involves a little more reaction, as he pointed out, with the ball being hit harder off the bat.

Colás' on-field time with the White Sox in 2023 featured 69 games in right field and eight in center. But the left-handed hitter doesn’t have a preference between the outfield and first.

“I’ll play wherever they want me to play,” Colás said. “What I want is just to play baseball.”

“Just another position, another position that makes him versatile,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “Something might come up, he’s got to be comfortable doing it. He said he was comfortable doing it -- he did it in Japan. We’re going to make sure we keep him that way.”

In his 2023 rookie campaign, Colás slashed .216/.257/.314 with five home runs and 19 RBIs in 75 games. He’s feeling more in rhythm at the plate after working diligently in the offseason. That work did not involve a trip to winter ball, which had been discussed at the end of ‘23. Colás explained his thought process for staying home.

“That was a decision I made with my trainer,” Colás said. “That was the best for me coming into this season, trying to get better physically and mentally, especially with the results that I had last year.

“They weren’t the results I was expecting. I think that time of the offseason was very valuable for me to get ready for this season and to show what I can do.”

Shewmake plays fast
The ‘Play FAST’ idea espoused frequently by Grifol is an acronym for fearless, aggressive, selfless and technically-sound. But in , the White Sox have a 6-foot-3 infielder who literally plays fast.

Shewmake swiped his third base in three tries on Saturday, and he was successful on 40 of 43 attempts over his past three Minor League seasons in Atlanta’s system.

“I try to make a difference as much as I can on the basepaths, and it’s kind of a part of the game that’s forgotten a little bit,” Shewmake said. “Trying to bring that to this team. Hopefully that will help the guys in the top of that lineup be able to drive more runs in.”

“You’re starting to figure out how he steals bases,” Grifol said. “And he steals bases by just really having good instincts to steal. The third base he stole the other day with no throw was phenomenal -- phenomenal read and jump. He plays into that style of baseball that we want to play, and he’s also got all the other attributes that FAST comes with.”

Third to first
• After an off-day on Tuesday, the White Sox will face the Dodgers on Wednesday at Camelback Ranch with probable starters listed as Michael Kopech and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The game will be televised by NBC Sports Chicago and broadcast by ESPN Radio with a 2:05 p.m. CT first pitch (watch on MLB.TV, listen on At Bat).

• Zach Remillard tied Gavin Sheets for the team lead with his second Cactus League homer in the third inning of a 3-1 loss to the Angels on Sunday afternoon at Tempe Diablo Stadium. He also was retired on a bunt attempt in the fifth and struck out in the seventh.

• Jordan Leasure, the No. 19 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, made his third scoreless Cactus League appearance on Sunday. He has five strikeouts against one hit and two walks allowed over three innings.