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In My Words

In My Words: Fatherhood on deck for Lopez

Special to MLB.com

I'm ready and excited to become a father.

This is the greatest blessing a human being can have. For me, it is everything. That is the reason why I feel happy, excited and nervous all at once. My baby girl will be my princess and the new light of my life.

I'm ready and excited to become a father.

This is the greatest blessing a human being can have. For me, it is everything. That is the reason why I feel happy, excited and nervous all at once. My baby girl will be my princess and the new light of my life.

Becoming a father has been one of my dreams during my whole life, just like becoming a Major League pitcher. This would be my biggest achievement. I feel very proud, because I've been able to accomplish each and every one of my goals. First, to help my family and provide for them. Second, I got married to an awesome woman who is now carrying the soon-to-be most important treasure of my life, and our life together. Third, thanks to my work, my effort and daily dedication, I am in a position in which I can sustain my own family.

The most important value of being a Christian is family; to build and maintain a happy family. Family is everything. I'm always thanking God, because He is the one who gives me strength and guides my steps.

I have always felt the need and desire to be a father, and I believe I am ready. Everyone in my family always asks me for advice. I think it is because I am the oldest grandchild in my family, I have had to carry the responsibility of being an advisor for my sisters, cousins and other relatives. Even though this will be my first experience as a father, I think I have the knowledge to manage and succeed in that role.

I truly believe I know how to care for and raise my daughter. Of course, the real test will be once she is born. With God's will, I will do a good job as a father.

The first thing I want to teach to my baby is to love God. My family taught me to love God as a good Christian. I will teach her that God exists and is alive within us. I also will teach her values and reinforce them during her whole life. Values are important in order to be a good and humble person.

Zoe will be her name because I have always liked it since the first time I heard it from actress Zoe Saldana. My wife also likes the name because it means life and hope. She will be an extra source of motivation for me, for my life and for my career. Actually, she has been the force that has been driving me this year. Everything I do is for her.

My life is going to change now that I'm having a baby. But it will be a good change. I am excited, my little princess Zoe, to have you with me and in our life. God bless you.

As told to Billy Russo

Reynaldo Lopez is a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox, Reynaldo Lopez

In My Words: James Shields

Special to MLB.com

I know it is very important to have a guy with experience show the young players how to do things. Fortunately, when I was coming up, I had my cousin, Aaron Rowand. I trained with him a lot during the offseasons. He helped me a tremendous amount as far as dealing with the mental side of the game. He helped me handle all the trials and tribulations of playing baseball.

Aaron told me how to prepare for the 162-game grind. He stressed that you always have to be mentally prepared. You need to have a good routine between starts. Even as a starting pitcher, you have to prepare yourself every day like you're going to play. As long as you work hard each day, you've got a chance to succeed. That's the main thing where he helped me out.

I know it is very important to have a guy with experience show the young players how to do things. Fortunately, when I was coming up, I had my cousin, Aaron Rowand. I trained with him a lot during the offseasons. He helped me a tremendous amount as far as dealing with the mental side of the game. He helped me handle all the trials and tribulations of playing baseball.

Aaron told me how to prepare for the 162-game grind. He stressed that you always have to be mentally prepared. You need to have a good routine between starts. Even as a starting pitcher, you have to prepare yourself every day like you're going to play. As long as you work hard each day, you've got a chance to succeed. That's the main thing where he helped me out.

When I got called up to Tampa Bay in 2006, we had a similar situation as to what we have with the Sox. We had such a young team. I remember they called me "Gray Beard" at the age of 25. I was the oldest guy on the pitching staff. We were in the middle of a rebuild. We lost 101 games in 2006 and 96 in 2007. Then we went to the World Series in 2008. No doubt, it shows you how quickly things can turn around.

The White Sox have a lot of great young talent throughout the entire organization. It's just a matter of these young guys believing in themselves, believing they can win. They're going to be fun to watch the next few years. For my role here, it's not as important to be the leader. It's more important to teach our staff to stick together, to be brothers. The atmosphere I try to portray to everyone in the clubhouse is that we're all in this together. We need to bounce things off each other, to help each other.

If I can help in any way, that's what I try to do. It all depends on the situation. If one of the young guys is going too fast in a game -- the game speeds up on you -- I might talk to them about that. I'll work with them on how to guide your way through a game.

I want them to feel supported, and I want them to support me when I'm out there. That's the kind of atmosphere I want to bring here. I keep going back to that brotherhood.

When I think about my career, it hasn't sunk in that I've played as long as I have. More than anything, it's my kids who are making me feel a little older. I have a 14-year old who is going to be a freshman in high school next year. That's hard for me to believe.

I've been fortunate to have a good long run in the big leagues. Hopefully, I can continue. As long as my body holds up, I'll keep playing.

I always go back to something Andy Pettitte once told me. We were working out in a gym, and I asked him for one piece of advice. He said, "You're never going to stop learning until you're done playing this game."

That was a long time ago, but it is so true. At this point in my career, I'm still learning something every day. I pass that advice on to the guys here.

This is a very humbling game. You have to keep working at it. That's why I enjoy every minute.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Chicago White Sox, James Shields

In My Words: Palka on rookie success

Special to MLB.com

I'm mad it's September and there's only one month left in the season. People say to me, "It's almost the offseason," like that's a good thing. I'm like, "Shut up. I don't want to hear it." The offseason is not as good as being here, playing in the big leagues, playing for the White Sox.

I was excited when the White Sox picked me up. I felt like this is a great place to get my foot in the door and solidify who I am as a baseball player. Since they were a young team, I knew I could be myself. I didn't have to tiptoe around. I could fit in with these dudes.

I'm mad it's September and there's only one month left in the season. People say to me, "It's almost the offseason," like that's a good thing. I'm like, "Shut up. I don't want to hear it." The offseason is not as good as being here, playing in the big leagues, playing for the White Sox.

I was excited when the White Sox picked me up. I felt like this is a great place to get my foot in the door and solidify who I am as a baseball player. Since they were a young team, I knew I could be myself. I didn't have to tiptoe around. I could fit in with these dudes.

At the end of April, I got called up and made my Major League debut. I didn't feel pressure. I took it as, "I'm going to do whatever the team needs me to do." That's how you stick here. This is what I've wanted all my life, so I'm not going to sit around and be scared when it happens. I felt like, "I don't care if I'm only in the big leagues for one day, I'm going to act like I always belonged here."

From a personal standpoint, it doesn't surprise me that I have had some success this year. I feel like it is even a little less than what I know I can do. I'm very confident in that aspect. My goal is to be a complete hitter. The RBIs and power numbers are great, but I don't want home runs with 200 strikeouts. The more I'm hitting, the more I'm scoring, the more they need me in the lineup.

Video: CLE@CWS: Palka hammers a walk-off home run to left

It's hard to explain, but when you get here, you really realize who you are as a baseball player. Then you have to figure out what you've got to do to make the adjustments. You go on a hot streak, and you think, "I can hit anything they throw." Then I get a little aggressive, and I'm swinging at rosin bags. You have to pull yourself back in. I expect to be able to make the adjustments.

My walk-off homer to beat Cleveland, 1-0, on Aug. 10 was awesome. I had three strikeouts in the game when I came up in the ninth inning. I wasn't thinking, "I have three strikeouts. I could have four." It was more like, "I could end the game." The whole time running around the bases, I couldn't believe I hit that pitch. It was about 1 1/2 feet outside. I knew right away it was gone. It's something I'll never forget.

It's been a big year for me. I definitely know what I am zeroing in on. I have a plan. I've never had an offseason where I was thinking, "I'm not ready to play in the big leagues." The difference is now I know 100 percent what I need to do to succeed here.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Daniel Palka is an outfielder for the White Sox.

Chicago White Sox, Daniel Palka

In My Words: Yolmer Sanchez

White Sox infielder enjoying the moment in the big leagues
MLB.com

My family is a big reason for the way I am. I have a big, big family. My mom has 10 brothers and sisters. We have a lot of cousins, uncles, aunts.

My whole family has a lot of energy. They like to have fun all the time. I think I get it from them.

My family is a big reason for the way I am. I have a big, big family. My mom has 10 brothers and sisters. We have a lot of cousins, uncles, aunts.

My whole family has a lot of energy. They like to have fun all the time. I think I get it from them.

I worked so hard to get to the big leagues, and I really want to enjoy my time here. I play hard, really hard. Respect the game, but I also want to have fun every time I go out there.

When I get a base hit, I look to my teammates in the dugout, my wife, my son. I do the "Mickey Mouse ears" sign with my hands. My son, Noah, means everything to me. He loves to watch Mickey Mouse. It's something special for him.

Video: CWS@CIN: Sanchez puts Sox ahead with single in 7th

When I get to know my other teammates, I let out my personality. I don't do it right away, especially here in the big leagues. When I first came up to the White Sox in 2014, I felt a little shy.

But after being here for a few years, now I have chemistry and good relationships with my teammates. I try to keep the team loose when I can. You have to wait for the right time. You're not going to play around with someone who just went 0-for-5. I know everyone here. I know when they're mad and when I can play around with them. That's why I never get in trouble.

I got a lot of attention for dumping the Gatorade bucket on my head after Trayce Thompson hit a walk-off homer to beat Minnesota in May. It was crazy. I remember we were tied in the bottom of the ninth. I got to the dugout. I don't know why, but I was 100 percent sure we were going to have a walk-off. I didn't know if it would be a homer or a hit. When I came to the dugout, I started to think, "What am I going to do celebrate? OK, let's dump the water on me."

Video: MIN@CWS: Thompson crushes a walk-off homer in the 9th

Five seconds later, Trayce hit the homer. I took the water -- it was a little heavy -- and poured it on my head. I saw the reaction of the people. They said, "When are you going to do it again?" I don't like to do it every day. People will get tired of it. So I look for the right time.

Make no mistake, there's a serious side to me too. People don't see what I do to get ready to play. When I get to the ballpark, I work out. I hit in the cage. I take ground balls. It's a lot of work. I believe in the work I put in. I know if I do everything I practice, I'll get good results.

It's important to always be positive. If I have a bad game, I'll think about what I did wrong. Then I'll enjoy my family and come back the next day. This game is so hard. It's easy to get frustrated. Staying positive is the best thing you can do.

Playing in the big leagues was my dream since I was a little kid. I meet a lot of great people. I see a lot of kids smile. Oh man, this game brings a lot of happiness to my life. You never know how long this is going to last. I want to enjoy every second while I am here.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Chicago White Sox, Yolmer Sanchez

In My Words: Tilson living out boyhood dream

Chance to play for hometown team motivated outfielder through injuries
Special to MLB.com

I have to admit it is a bit surreal to drive to Guaranteed Rate Field these days.

It isn't my first time driving to the stadium. I spent a lot of mornings in the winter in the gym here working out with Allen Thomas, our director of strength and conditioning. Considering all that I've been through with injuries, it was such great motivation to do everything I could to get healthy again.

I have to admit it is a bit surreal to drive to Guaranteed Rate Field these days.

It isn't my first time driving to the stadium. I spent a lot of mornings in the winter in the gym here working out with Allen Thomas, our director of strength and conditioning. Considering all that I've been through with injuries, it was such great motivation to do everything I could to get healthy again.

That's what makes this so special. Now I'm making the same drive, knowing I am going to be in a White Sox uniform for a game in a few hours.

I was a White Sox fan growing up in Wilmette. They had an inspiring group of players. They played the game hard -- especially when you think about 2005, with Ozzie Guillen as manager. Grinder ball is my style of play. I loved Scott Podsednik. He showed that a guy like me who may be a little undersized but with a lot of speed can make a big difference. It was an important year for me in my development.

I always felt like this was possible, but there are so many things you have to accomplish first. Whether it's striving to make the high school team, then college, it's always, "What's the next step?" Now here you are. It's incredible.

I mean, I get the opportunity to work with Aaron Rowand. He's a guy I watched as a kid, and now I'm working with him one on one. There are so many things like that -- I can go on and on.

It's been a long road to get back here. After I got hurt in my first big league game in Detroit in 2016, I basically went 1 1/2 years without playing because of injuries. There were times when you feel like it's a cruel joke to have this great opportunity and then see it slide away from you for an extended period of time.

Video: Charlie Tilson on his first game of spring training

Anyone who's been injured knows there are some days filled with hope and other days when you're down. Unfortunately, it wasn't the smoothest ride back to full health.

Luckily, I had unwavering support from so many people. That's what allowed me to put in the time and effort to continue to stay the course.

I'll never forget what it was like to play my first game at Guaranteed Rate Field after being called up a couple weeks ago. I hadn't been to the stadium to watch a game in so long. When I went out to get ready, I looked all around. I saw things like the pinwheels in the scoreboard. It definitely brought back so many great memories. It was a pretty surreal moment. I feel so fortunate and just excited to have the opportunity to fight for a team I grew up watching.

That first day, I called my high school coach, Mike Napoleon, to tell him that I was going to be playing. It was 11 in the morning and we were playing at 1:10. He showed up with my hitting coach and pitching coach from New Trier. It was pretty special to have someone who always supported you be there in that moment.

I'm really trying to appreciate everything about being here. At the same time, you have to tell yourself it's just a game. You actually can use that to your advantage. As players, you're always trying to bring yourself back to those times when you were a kid. That's when you're just lost in the competition. Baseball's not necessarily a business. It's about having fun. For me, that's when I'm playing my best, just enjoying the game.

Being able to put on a White Sox uniform takes me back to being a kid and loving the game. I want to embrace those feelings so I can continue to help this team any way I can.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Charlie Tilson is an outfielder for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox, Charlie Tilson

In My Words: Capra more than just 'traffic cop'

Special to MLB.com

When people ask about my role as a third-base coach, I tell them I am a traffic cop. I direct traffic on the bases. Scoring runs is obviously the big part of this game. When our players get on base, their main objective is to touch home plate. I try to help get them there.

It happens very fast for the players and myself. There's a lot of different things we think about, and we try to think through everything before it happens. The score of the game dictates what you might do. How many outs? We're going to try to be as aggressive as we can, depending on the score of the game. If it is late and we're down by a run, we've got to score that run.

When people ask about my role as a third-base coach, I tell them I am a traffic cop. I direct traffic on the bases. Scoring runs is obviously the big part of this game. When our players get on base, their main objective is to touch home plate. I try to help get them there.

It happens very fast for the players and myself. There's a lot of different things we think about, and we try to think through everything before it happens. The score of the game dictates what you might do. How many outs? We're going to try to be as aggressive as we can, depending on the score of the game. If it is late and we're down by a run, we've got to score that run.

If there's a runner on second, will I send him home on a hard-hit single to the outfield? Speed really comes into play. There are other factors. Who's on deck? Who is in the hole? Who is struggling at the plate? I think about that before the action even starts. Let's say [Jose] Abreu is hitting well, and he's on deck. We don't want to take the bat out of his hand by making the last out of the inning on the bases.

I watch film of outfielders. When an outfielder comes in on a ball, does he catch the ball flat-footed? Where is his momentum going? What kind of arm does the guy have? We have to know all that.

We want to put pressure on the defense any chance we get: stolen bases, going [from] first to third, scoring from first on a double. If we have speed on the basepaths, we're going to test people. And we have some guys who can run.

A good baserunner is one who makes good decisions, knows his capabilities. A good baserunner can help you win a lot of games. On the other side, you could lose a lot of games on the bases if you're reckless. We try to be aggressive without being reckless.

The emotions of a third-base coach work both ways. You never want to get anybody thrown out at the plate. You want to make good decisions. Sometimes, you make the right decision and there's other times when you don't. Hopefully, nine out of 10 times we're making the right decision.

If you fail, you've got to have thick skin in this game. You go back, watch the film, and say, "What could I have done to make it better?"

There's a lot of communications going on out there. Actually, our signs are pretty simple. We don't use a lot of signs. We try to keep it as simple and as basic as we can without everyone else in the ballpark knowing what we're doing.

We know the other team is trying to pick up on our signs. It's part of the game, and that's why we change from time to time. You're always looking for the edge. Any advantage you have over the opponents is something that comes into play. If you know what they're doing, it just adds to that edge. Hopefully, it will help win you a ballgame.

I managed for 10 years in the Minors, where I got plenty of experience being the third-base coach. Then I spent five seasons as the White Sox director of player development, from 2012-16. It was a great job, and I learned a lot.

I became the White Sox third-base coach in 2017. I love being on the field. That's my personality. I've been in this game for 40 years, and the majority has been on the field. That's where the action is. I want to do whatever I can to help these guys win a game.

-- As told to Ed Sherman

Nick Capra is the third-base coach for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox

In My Words: Dylan Cease

White Sox No. 4 prospect discusses Futures Game and more
MLB.com

I pitched in big league ballparks during high school, and appeared in the All-America Game at Wrigley Field and another game at Petco Park.

But it was different pitching in Nationals Park during the Futures Game. It definitely was the biggest crowd to see me pitch. I guess that's what it will be like in the big leagues, in terms of cameras and people staring at you. It was a unique experience. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but I wasn't nervous about it.

I pitched in big league ballparks during high school, and appeared in the All-America Game at Wrigley Field and another game at Petco Park.

But it was different pitching in Nationals Park during the Futures Game. It definitely was the biggest crowd to see me pitch. I guess that's what it will be like in the big leagues, in terms of cameras and people staring at you. It was a unique experience. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but I wasn't nervous about it.

I was told I would throw the ninth inning; I knew I probably wouldn't get the full inning. At the onset, I just wanted to throw strikes with the nastiest pitches I could, and I was able to retire the two guys I faced.

It was cool to be around all those talented players. I felt like everyone was throwing 98 mph with good offspeed pitches. There were eight homers in the game. So obviously, everyone could hit. It was great to see my Birmingham teammate Luis Basabe hit a homer off a 102 mph fastball from [Reds prospect] Hunter Greene.

Video: WLD@USA: Basabe homers off 102-mph pitch from Greene

It shows you what top-notch competition looks like. I can use that experience to help me prepare for future endeavors like that. I felt grateful to be on the field with those guys.

I've definitely had a ton of growth this year. I'm happy with it, but I'm not fully satisfied. There's still more I can do to improve. I've been healthy, and that's a big thing. I'm getting better at executing my pitches.

At the higher levels, you have to make adjustments pitch to pitch. The more you have a good feel for how the ball is coming out of your hand, and you're able to locate it, the more success you're going to have. When you're pitching, you can't think your way to throwing strikes. It has to be something your body knows how to do. You feel that release point. Last year, I really didn't have a great feel with offspeed pitches. I was hit or miss with my fastball command. This year, for the most part, I've been throwing strikes with everything. It's really come a long way.

Video: CWS@OAK: Cease fans four over two innings

In June, I got promoted to Double-A Birmingham. It's always an adjustment when you go to a new team. You need to get acquainted with everyone and see where you fit in. But in terms of playing, it's all about how well you can execute your pitches and your plan.

There's a lot of talent here. When you watch day in and day out, you see why these players are so highly regarded. Baseball, though, is a tough game sometimes. You have to watch guys over a long period of time to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are. But the White Sox definitely have a ton of great ballplayers.

I know Sox fans are following us in the Minors. I'm just trying to keep focused on my process. I need to be locked in right now in terms of what I have to do to get to the big leagues. It's very easy to start daydreaming, and then all of the sudden, you realize you're not that locked in.

I'm glad everyone is excited in Chicago, because it definitely makes it more fun. Hopefully, we're all up there as soon as possible to help the White Sox win.

As told to Ed Sherman

Chicago White Sox, Dylan Cease

In My Words: Nick Madrigal

Special to MLB.com

It definitely feels nice to have a few days off after the end of Class A Advanced Winston-Salem's season. I'm hanging out in my parents' home in Elk Grove, Calif. Next week, I report to Arizona for the White Sox fall instructional league for a month. After that, my real break will happen. So I'm still not through yet.

It's been quite a summer. I was part of an Oregon State team that won the 2018 College World Series. I got drafted by the White Sox, and then I played for three different teams in the system. It's been a lot, but it's all been great.

It definitely feels nice to have a few days off after the end of Class A Advanced Winston-Salem's season. I'm hanging out in my parents' home in Elk Grove, Calif. Next week, I report to Arizona for the White Sox fall instructional league for a month. After that, my real break will happen. So I'm still not through yet.

It's been quite a summer. I was part of an Oregon State team that won the 2018 College World Series. I got drafted by the White Sox, and then I played for three different teams in the system. It's been a lot, but it's all been great.

At Oregon State, my goal from the first day I stepped on campus was to win a national championship. It felt really good to do it with that group of guys. I have some friendships on that team that will stick with me forever.

The Major League Draft occurred during the NCAA playoffs. The whole Draft process is such an unknown. I didn't know the White Sox were taking me until about five minutes before the pick came in. I feel like the Sox are the perfect fit. My mom's always said, "You want to go some place where you're wanted." It definitely seemed like the White Sox wanted me the most.

• White Sox Top 30 Prospects

Video: Hahn, Hostetler call Madrigal on Draft Day

It's really exciting to be in the organization at this time and to hopefully be part of bringing back the winning culture. I've always enjoyed being on the underdog team rather than the favorite team. If I was playing three on two in basketball, I'd rather be on the team with two guys. I've always loved that challenge in my life.

I had an idea that I would finish the year at high-A in Winston-Salem, but I wasn't sure when that would happen. It was different going from clubhouse to clubhouse and not knowing anyone. That was a little tough at first. But baseball is one of those games where you can relate to anyone, whether they speak English, Spanish or whatever. It's kind of crazy how you can relate to people through a game. I've witnessed how small the baseball world is.

As far as the competition, it really is the same game at every level. Some guys might throw harder; have a better curveball. I feel confident in my game. If someone is throwing harder, I just think about starting to swing a little bit earlier. I don't have to change my swing. The adjustment really hasn't been bad at all. I've enjoyed it.

Video: Nick Madrigal talks about being drafted to White Sox

Baseball is a game of adjustments. You learn as you go. I still have a lot to learn. Performance-wise, I felt comfortable at each level. I know there is a lot of room for improvement, but I'm happy with the way I played.

I'm looking forward to going to Arizona. I'm going to be open-minded about learning new things about the game. It's really hands on down there. I'll be excited to learn from different coaches.

After I get back from Arizona, I am going to start getting ready for next year. The weight room is going to be huge for me. I want to try to get faster.

I've never felt overmatched in baseball. With all the preparation I do during the offseason, when I step on the field, there's not a doubt in my mind about my belief in my abilities.

As told to Ed Sherman

Nick Madrigal is a second baseman in the White Sox organization.

Chicago White Sox

In My Words: Pierzynski on life in the booth

Special to MLB.com

Sunday is going to be a special day. I will be in the booth with Hawk for the White Sox-Boston game.

First of all, it's going to be fun. His family will be there. My family will be there. It also will be a little emotional, and knowing it is Hawk's last year, I'm sure we will have some tears flowing. We won't try to hold them back.

Sunday is going to be a special day. I will be in the booth with Hawk for the White Sox-Boston game.

First of all, it's going to be fun. His family will be there. My family will be there. It also will be a little emotional, and knowing it is Hawk's last year, I'm sure we will have some tears flowing. We won't try to hold them back.

I've known Hawk for a long time, and he definitely had a huge stake in me becoming a White Sox in 2005. He also has been a big help to me in my current role as a baseball analyst for Fox.

Whenever Hawk watches a game I'm doing, he says, "Hey, just be yourself. You know what you're talking about. You know how to play baseball." He's said if you're genuine, people will respect you for it. It's worked so far. It's been a good way to go about this job. I'm thankful for his advice.

Fox has been great. They've been nothing but positive. They've done everything to help me out. They're trying to teach me what the ropes are. I'm still involved in baseball, which is great. I get to go on TV and talk baseball for three hours. It's not too bad.

Baseball looks a lot easier from the booth, but I know it's very hard. I always try to remember that.

When I call a game, the best 15 minutes of the day is when we get to talk to the managers. You learn so much. Most of these guys are really good, and they open up to you.

As a player, you don't get to talk to a lot of managers. When you can sit down and talk to them, you're pretty amazed at what they say and what they look for in a game.

Often, I'm like, "Whoa, I didn't think about that." Or I didn't realize what was said behind closed doors. If I had known some of those things when I was playing, I would have been a better player.

I get asked a lot if I ever would want to be a manager or coach. I wouldn't change what I'm doing now. I still get to travel to do games, but I'm home a lot to be with the kids. Now tomorrow, something can change. My son asks me all the time, "Dad, why did you stop playing?" My son misses it probably more than I do, because he got to hang out in the clubhouse. I'm sure he would love for me to get back into the game. Right now, it's not something I'm looking to do. Then again, if a team said, "Hey, we want you to be our big league manager," it would be pretty hard to turn down that job.

Plenty of guys have gone from the booth to being manager. Aaron Boone is doing it this year with the Yankees. Bob Brenly did it with Arizona. I once talked to him about it. He said something I'll always keep in mind: "As much as I love managing, one good thing about being in the booth is win or lose, when I go home, I'm not nearly as upset. I want my team to win, but it's not my job on the line."

One great thing that happened to me is being associated with the White Sox again as a team ambassador. I always consider myself a White Sox. That's where I won a World Series. It's been terrific to meet with the fans and spread some goodwill. With the Sox in a rebuild, you try to keep the fans positive and looking forward to what's coming.

The Sox are definitely going in the right direction, and they've done a great job of lining up prospects. They have 25 prospects, and if four or five of them hit, you've done a great job. You never know what's going to happen, but they have put themselves in position with depth and quality prospects to do it quickly and make it special again.

It's great that people respect what you did on the field. It means more to my kids. I knew what kind of career I had, but they were still relatively young. Now they get to see first-hand how the fans react to me. It's nice to be able to give back to an organization that gave so much to me.

As told to Ed Sherman.

A.J. Pierzynski, a former MLB catcher who won the World Series with the White Sox in 2005, is a baseball analyst for Fox.

Chicago White Sox

In My Words: Abreu reflects on cycle, Irma

Hurricane's devastation in homeland keeps first baseman humble, focused
Special to MLB.com

I truly believe we have to be thankful every day for being alive, for every opportunity that is offered to us and for each lesson and life experience.

Two weeks ago, during one of the most stressful moments of my life, I accomplished something that I had never done in my professional career and something that, honestly, I never thought I could accomplish -- hit for the cycle.

I truly believe we have to be thankful every day for being alive, for every opportunity that is offered to us and for each lesson and life experience.

Two weeks ago, during one of the most stressful moments of my life, I accomplished something that I had never done in my professional career and something that, honestly, I never thought I could accomplish -- hit for the cycle.

:: Chicago White Sox: In My Words ::

On Saturday, Sept. 9, Hurricane Irma was passing through my native country of Cuba, and my hometown, Mal Tiempo, where my son, Dariel Eduardo, and my grandmother, along with other members of my family, still live. That night, I couldn't sleep. I woke up at 3 a.m. and started watching the news.

I was concerned about my family's safety after seeing all the damage Hurricane Irma left on its way through the Caribbean Islands. Honestly, I want to express my sincere solidarity and support to all the people who lost their houses and their personal belongings due to the fury of Hurricane Irma. Thank God, my family didn´t suffer any damage.

But that wasn't the end. Even though Hurricane Irma was already out of Cuba, it was going straight toward my pregnant wife, my mom, my dad, my sister, my brother-in-law, my aunt and my goddaughter in Miami.

I was worried because there wasn't anything I could do to protect them from the hurricane. However, during those extremely stressful circumstances, I relied on my mental focus and my duty to the White Sox. That focus allowed me to become just the sixth player in the history of this franchise to hit for the cycle.

It was a very special accomplishment in my career for three reasons. First, the difficulty of hitting for the cycle. Second, being able to do it despite all the adversity my family was facing. And third, I could do it with this great organization that gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing in the Major Leagues and having success. This organization has always supported me.

I know many fans have asked if I truly was looking for a triple in my last at-bat of that game. I won't lie, everybody in the dugout was telling me to go for it. Even Avisail Garcia told me to hit the ball to the gap to have the opportunity for the triple. I simply tried to hit the ball hard, make good contact, and it just happened. The ball went to the gap just like Avi said.

Video: Must C Cycle: Abreu legs out triple to complete cycle

 When I was running around the bases and I passed second base, my legs were tired. But I had to keep going. Like I've always said, I'm a warrior, and I would crawl to third base, if necessary. Thankfully, it wasn't necessary to crawl, because I had enough stamina to reach third.

The celebration in the dugout, both after the inning and in the clubhouse after the game, was special. Celebrating that moment with my teammates was unique. Our motivation and energy level, especially in these last few weeks of the season, have been through the roof thanks to all of these young and talented players that we have right now.

The atmosphere we have is very meaningful to me as one of the veteran players on this team. The guys on this team have been giving me more motivation and desire. I come to the ballpark every day trying to guide them and teach them what they have to do to accomplish their goals and become successful players. I know they will be successful.

I'm very grateful for this team, and I can say I've been blessed to play with this great organization. Especially now when owner Jerry Reinsdorf, executive vice president Kenny Williams and general manager Rick Hahn are thinking about the future and have decided to fill our team with young talent. Our future looks bright, and I would like to be a part of it.

I'm willing to do all the things that are required to help this team win championships. I know one of those requirements is to help all the young prospects develop and take advantage of their talent. I'm happy to have this opportunity right now, because it is something that I like to do. I have even more pride seeing two of my countrymen, Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, among the group of top prospects who will make our future shine.

I have a duty and responsibility to give the best of myself every day, on and off the field, to this organization. The Chicago White Sox are a great organization and one I never want to leave.

Video: KC@CWS: Abreu tallies his 100th RBI of the year

I would like to recognize the support of our fans throughout this season, because I know it hasn't been an easy one for them. We have been trying, but we have not won as many games as they deserve. We have been giving our best effort day in and day out, but things just haven't gone our way. Remember, we are on the right track on this path that will allow us to be competitive, to fight and win a lot of championships with God's blessing.

From my perspective, particularly, I want to thank the fans for the energy they bring every game. They enhance my motivation. For the rest of the season, my focus is going to be on doing my best to help the Chicago White Sox win. That is what is the most important. We are White Sox first.

Jose Abreu is a first baseman for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu

In My Words: Moncada, White Sox perfect fit

Special to MLB.com

This has been one of the best years of my life. This year, I have experienced a lot of emotions and happiness. This year, I've learned a ton, and I've developed as a person and as a professional.

A few days ago, I lived the biggest experience of this year. It was when I made my debut with the White Sox. That was something impressive. I never thought that many people would go to the ballpark to see my debut in Chicago. When I went to home plate for the first time, all the fans stood up and gave me an ovation. That gave me goosebumps. I really appreciate that gesture from the people of Chicago, because that made that special moment even more special and exciting.

This has been one of the best years of my life. This year, I have experienced a lot of emotions and happiness. This year, I've learned a ton, and I've developed as a person and as a professional.

A few days ago, I lived the biggest experience of this year. It was when I made my debut with the White Sox. That was something impressive. I never thought that many people would go to the ballpark to see my debut in Chicago. When I went to home plate for the first time, all the fans stood up and gave me an ovation. That gave me goosebumps. I really appreciate that gesture from the people of Chicago, because that made that special moment even more special and exciting.

:: Chicago White Sox: In My Words ::

In my first at-bat, I was a little nervous because of all the excitement and noise in the ballpark. In my second at-bat, I went to the plate more calm, and I hit the ball hard, but I couldn't get a base hit. In my third at-bat, I also hit the ball hard and again I couldn't get the base hit. But that is how baseball is. In this sport, hitting is the most difficult task.

I felt really special, like a real loved person in Chicago, and it is something that I appreciate very, very much. I hope to keep getting that kind of support, because that boosts my motivation. I'm going to keep playing in the same way that I've been playing: putting on a good show for the fans and people who support the White Sox, because they deserve it. I promise to all of you that I'm going to do my best every day, and I'm going to play hard for this organization and the fans.

I've felt fortunate and blessed since I joined this organization, because I know this team believes in me and is committed to make me the best player that I can be. Here, I also have the opportunity to be with Jose Abreu, who I grew up admiring in Cuba, where we had the opportunity to play together with the Elefantes de Cienfuegos.

Video: Yoan Moncada's White Sox debut

In fact, he was one of the first people I spoke with after the trade, on Dec. 6. He called me to welcome me and to tell me about this organization. During Spring Training, we spent a good deal of time together, and when the team called me up to the big leagues, I asked him to pick me up from the airport. He did it, and that meant a lot to me. We are from the same town in Cuba, and playing with him here is like having an older brother.

Video: LAD@CWS: Fans enjoy Moncada's favorite snack

Being in this organization with Abreu is a motivation for me. That was why I never took the trade in a bad way, although it was something unexpected. Now, I have the certainty that this is the best thing that could have happened to me. I played in the big leagues before with Boston, but this trade was just a better opportunity for me. It was a blessing.

This is a blessing because it is God's will. Here, I'm around very good people, good teammates, and I'm sure that all of them are going to help me have a successful and very long career. Here, I also have a manager who can speak Spanish. That is an advantage because I can understand better and we can communicate with each other one-on-one.

Video: Must C Clips: Moncada clears the bases with a triple

Perhaps because of all those reasons, my debut with the White Sox was as special or even more special than my debut in the big leagues with the Red Sox. When I made my debut with Boston, we were playing in Oakland. Here, I made my debut in Chicago, and there were a lot more excited people waiting to see me play. It wasn't the same in Boston. I truly felt happy during my first at-bat in Chicago.

I believe that I was called up at the right moment because the time that I spent in Triple A benefitted me. I knew that my moment would come, and I knew that I had to work hard to be ready for it. I learned more about how to play second base. My manager down there (Mark Grudzielanek) taught me a ton; he played a lot in the big leagues and has a lot of knowledge.

I'm sure that everything is going to be good with the White Sox, and that I'm going to continue learning and developing to bring happiness and satisfaction to Chicago. This is the perfect time!

Yoan Moncada is a second baseman for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox, Yoan Moncada

In My Words: Draft never ends for Hostetler

Special to MLB.com

After putting so much intense effort into a three-day span, when the MLB Draft ends, you almost have the feeling of "What am I going to do today?" Do I have a full day off from thinking about any players?

The feeling doesn't last long. Each time, around midday, I start thinking, "OK, what do we have going for 2018?"

After putting so much intense effort into a three-day span, when the MLB Draft ends, you almost have the feeling of "What am I going to do today?" Do I have a full day off from thinking about any players?

The feeling doesn't last long. Each time, around midday, I start thinking, "OK, what do we have going for 2018?"

When I first started scouting in 2001-02, we had a legitimate offseason. You could count on a couple of weeks after the Draft, October, November, December, and part of January. Not anymore. The day after the Draft, we had scouts flying out to look at players.

:: Chicago White Sox: In My Words ::

I immediately started working on my travel plans. I try to make sure I am home to watch my three kids play their games, and I'm there for the first day of school in August. But the reality is the summer is just as important to us as our spring coverage. We'll have seven or eight scouts just covering the Cape Cod League.

It's the first time we get an opportunity to see some of these players using a wooden bat. We're the only sport where when they turn professional, they completely change the tools they've been using. It's important for us to see what players can do with a wood bat.

I'm also busy working with Buddy Bell and Chris Getz, our player development guys, on trying to put together the best plan for our new players. Where are we going to place them? A lot is determined by what level of competition they played as an amateur. If a pitcher already has thrown a lot of innings, we might keep him in a low-level club. Normally, you don't want to start a high school hitter with a full-season club. Better for him to get his feet on the ground in Arizona, where there's no fans. Then nobody's scrutinizing them on blogs or social media.

Ninety percent of these prospects never have gone through an 0-for-21 slump, or been knocked around for two or three starts in a row. You want to make sure they're mentally tough enough to handle those situations in the big spotlight.

It truly is an overnight thing when these Draft picks become professional baseball players. For a lot of them, it's the first time they've had any money in their hands. They have to learn how to cook their meals and wash their clothes. They're responsible for waking up and getting to the ballpark on time. It all falls on you.

We try to get them into the mindset of being a professional baseball player. We try to get them to understand that this is ultimately a job interview for them each and every day they step on to the field. Their next step will be judged by how they produce and by how hard they work. Buddy and Getzy give them all the information they need from Day 1.

Once the players go off to their clubs, I'm hands off. I'm not seeing them play every day. The player development people might come back to me from time to time with questions. Maybe they'll ask, "What did a player do to get out of a slump in college?" I try to help when I can.

I always try to read what people write about our Drafts. It's good from both perspectives. In the years when it's been negative, you try to use it as motivation. I've saved a few stories that have put us down in the past.

When it's positive, it's a good pat on the back. The other day, I sent out an email to our scouts saying, "Hey, we're getting a lot of positive reviews for our Draft." The area scouts and the cross-checkers, they don't get the face time that I do. But they're the guys out there digging for information. It's exciting to see our staff get the recognition because I know how hard they're working.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Nick Hostetler is the director of amateur scouting for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox

In My Words: Experience elevates Lopez

Young right-hander says Minor Leagues helped him hone in on focus
Special to MLB.com

Making my debut with the Chicago White Sox was something I was striving for since the day I joined the organization. I also think the fans were waiting and excited for that moment. The day I pitched for the very first time with Chicago at Guaranteed Rate Field against the Kansas City Royals was special.

I was proud of myself that night because of all the work I put in since Spring Training and during my time with Triple-A Charlotte; it made all the work worth it. I finally received the opportunity to play at the highest level, and I knew I could do a good job -- that night and in the future. However, I'm not overconfident. When I received the news about my promotion from Triple-A, I told myself I have to continue working hard and giving my best.

Making my debut with the Chicago White Sox was something I was striving for since the day I joined the organization. I also think the fans were waiting and excited for that moment. The day I pitched for the very first time with Chicago at Guaranteed Rate Field against the Kansas City Royals was special.

I was proud of myself that night because of all the work I put in since Spring Training and during my time with Triple-A Charlotte; it made all the work worth it. I finally received the opportunity to play at the highest level, and I knew I could do a good job -- that night and in the future. However, I'm not overconfident. When I received the news about my promotion from Triple-A, I told myself I have to continue working hard and giving my best.

:: Chicago White Sox: In My Words ::

With that mindset, I went out and made my debut with the White Sox (a 6-3 win over the Royals on Aug. 11). I think I made a very good first impression, which was one of my goals. That night, I pitched six innings with six strikeouts. In fact, I struck out the first batter of the game, but I wasn't trying to punch him out. I just threw a changeup to induce a groundball, but I ended up striking him out. That strikeout gave me more confidence.

The best part of the day was my experience with the fans. They let me know from the beginning how much they loved me, and that I have their support. From the moment when I left the dugout to start my warm-ups, the fans started to chant my name: "López! López! López!" They were like that the whole game, and with every pitch, every strikeout and every out. That made me excited. It was beautiful.

That support from the fans helped me to be motivated and focused during the game. I really hope it will always be that way with the fans. They will motivate me to be a successful pitcher at this level, and I want to bring them joy and happiness.

Video: KC@CWS: Lopez fans Merrifield in White Sox debut

I know a lot of people and a lot of fans wanted to see me pitch in the Majors with the White Sox a long time ago. They posted messages on my Instagram asking me when I would pitch in Chicago. Honestly, I thought I could pitch in the big leagues at the beginning of the season. I had a very good Spring Training, but the team made the decision to send me to the Minor Leagues. I used that decision as motivation to be a better and more developed pitcher. Now, I understand it was the best decision.

Video: Prospect Lopez talks about strides made in Minors

In the Minors, with the help of pitching coach Steve McCatty, I improved a lot, even though in the beginning things didn't go well. McCatty was always telling me to be more focused, and that I couldn't lose my concentration just because of an umpire's call. Being focused was the most important element I was missing on my path to reach and establish myself in the big leagues. He told me I wasn't missing anything mechanically. He also told me to throw every pitch with a purpose and not just throw it to throw it. Now, I'm a better pitcher because I have more focus on the game, I possess a better mindset, and I have a better understanding about how to execute my plan.

Obviously, there were moments when I was a little bit frustrated because I wanted to be here. At the same time, I understood that it was part of the process.

This process is not done yet. At this level, there is still more to learn. There are many things that you just don't learn in the minors. Last year, when I made my MLB debut with the Washington Nationals, I thought the key to success at this level was to throw your pitches down in the strike zone.

One day, I asked Max Scherzer why he misses with pitches up in the zone. His response impressed me: "No, I don't miss with those pitches. I throw them with a purpose. You have to change batter's eyes. You can't just throw down or just throw up. A pitcher has to break the batter's view and perception of the strike zone."

My learning experience last year in the big leagues, along with the work and improvement in Charlotte this year, has made the biggest difference from my debut with the Nationals and my first start with the White Sox. Now, I have more experience, and I'm a better pitcher.

Reynaldo Lopez is a pitcher with the White Sox and made his season debut Aug. 11.

Chicago White Sox, Reynaldo Lopez

In My Words: Jimenez wants to be the best

Special to MLB.com

Chicago is a city of lots of love. During my visit here, I was able to go into the clubhouse and meet with a few of the guys like Yoan Moncada and Carson Fulmer. Carson gave me a nice welcome and really made me feel like I was a part of the current roster. Everyone on the team and in the clubhouse treated me very well.

I truly believe that I could be playing here right now, but God's timing is perfect. If I work hard every day, try to do my best and constantly learn about the game, I will put myself in the best position to show the people who make the decision that I can contribute here. In my mind, I am ready, but I have to wait.

Chicago is a city of lots of love. During my visit here, I was able to go into the clubhouse and meet with a few of the guys like Yoan Moncada and Carson Fulmer. Carson gave me a nice welcome and really made me feel like I was a part of the current roster. Everyone on the team and in the clubhouse treated me very well.

I truly believe that I could be playing here right now, but God's timing is perfect. If I work hard every day, try to do my best and constantly learn about the game, I will put myself in the best position to show the people who make the decision that I can contribute here. In my mind, I am ready, but I have to wait.

:: Chicago White Sox: In My Words ::

I grew up playing basketball before starting to play baseball 10 years ago. My first-ever at-bat, I was hit by a pitch in the head. After that first at-bat, my dad told me not to give up and to keep trying, and I didn't give up. My second at-bat was a home run.

I have worked very hard since then and have been able to have some great moments in my career. My favorite moment so far was my first Futures Game. Before the game, I talked to one of my friends, and he said that it would be cool if I hit a home run in the game, and in my last at-bat, I did. That was a pretty cool moment for me.

When I found out that I was traded, I was surprised; it was a weird moment for me. But I know in my mind that I can't control that. All I can control is playing hard no matter what uniform I have on. The night that I was traded, I had to play against my former team. I don't want to say it was sad, but it was a strange feeling. Once the game started, I had to focus in and I was all business.

Every time that I step on the field, I want to have fun. My personality is to have fun, but at the same time I don't want to get tense. I project confidence; it's just one of those things that just happens. Some days, I wake up and feel good and say that I am going to hit a home run in that game. I have that kind of confidence in myself and in my game. It's not just with home runs though, it's with singles, doubles and triples. I feel good about my game when I am on the field.

Video: WLD@USA: Jimenez shows off skills in the Futures Game

I have a routine that I do every day. I believe in my routine, and that's why I work hard every day. You have to have a plan going in to each day and have a purpose for that day. That is the way that I like to work and prepare myself for each game.

I work so hard because I want to be the best player every time that I step onto the field. I don't want to be just another player, I want to be the best.

Eloy Jimenez is a prospect for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox, Eloy Jimenez

In My Words: Draft call dawned Burger's dream

White Sox

Tuesday, I was told somebody associated with the White Sox would be calling me. I had no idea who it could be.

I picked up the phone, and the person said, "Hey, this is Paul Konerko."

Tuesday, I was told somebody associated with the White Sox would be calling me. I had no idea who it could be.

I picked up the phone, and the person said, "Hey, this is Paul Konerko."

I'm like, "Holy cow." My stomach dropped. My childhood hero is calling me. This really must be a dream come true.

Growing up, Konerko was my favorite player. I've always been fans of players like Konerko and now Paul Goldschmidt. I enjoy watching guys with a good approach. You could tell they're hard workers by the way they go about their business. They're good role models, for sure.

:: Chicago White Sox: In My Words ::

Paul welcomed me to the White Sox. He gave me a great piece of advice. He said, "You have 600 at-bats over six months during a season. If you have two average to slightly above average months, two bad months, and two really good months, that's a really solid season."

In other words, stay cool and keep your emotions in check. He also said, "Don't let anybody outwork you."

Paul gave me his cell number and said, "I'm always here for you." I can't tell you how much that means to me.

I had a similar surreal encounter with another former White Sox player before the Draft. After one of our games, our director of operations at Missouri State pulled me aside and said, "I want you to meet someone." I thought it was a scout.

All of the sudden, the guy standing in front of me is Jim Thome. Wow, I'm getting to meet another childhood hero. Even better, he was there scouting me for the White Sox. After the Sox drafted me, they were saying Thome liked my swing. This guy hit more than 600 homers and is going to the Hall of Fame, and he likes my swing? You can't put that into words.

Video: Draft 2017: DeRosa on No. 11 overall pick Burger

I've been on cloud nine ever since I heard the Sox call my name on Monday. I still don't know when I'm going to come down and say, "Hey, this is for real. It really happened."

The people of Chicago really have taken me in. I've gotten a lot of comments on my Instagram posts and Twitter with people welcoming me to the Sox, welcoming me to the South Side. The amount of support I've had during the last couple of days has been really special.

I've been busy doing a ton of interviews. [White Sox director of amateur scouting] Nick Hostetler said my makeup and personality are part of the reason why the Sox picked me. I know that's something everyone wants to see and hear in these interviews. I feel like I've done a good job showing myself as a personable guy. I'm down to Earth, and try to treat everyone the same, just like Konerko.

Video: BAL@CWS: Hostetler discusses Jake Burger, Draft

I'm working out, but I've taken a couple of days off from baseball after the end of our season. I'm planning to start hitting again this weekend. It's going to be weird to pick up a bat, knowing I'm a pro player now.

I can't wait to get started with the White Sox. I'm well aware of all the young players they've been bringing in, especially in this Draft. I played with Tyler Johnson (a pitcher from South Carolina selected in the fifth round) and Evan Skoug (a catcher from TCU selected in the seventh round) on Team USA last summer. They're some of my closest friends. It'll be awesome to play with them again.

It looks like we could have a lot of fun here in the next few years. I'm excited to be a part of it.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Jake Burger is a third baseman who was drafted in the first round by the White Sox in 2017.

Chicago White Sox