White Sox pitchers, catchers get acquainted

Soria among newcomers to report at club's Spring Training home

February 14th, 2018

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The conversation outside of the White Sox clubhouse and in front of the crowded weight room on Tuesday morning at the club's Spring Training facility was typical for new co-workers on the first day on the job.

"What's your name, sir?" the trainer asked.

"Joakim Soria," the pitcher said.

"Soria? Where are you from?" the trainer asked, this time in Spanish.

Spring Training information

"Mexico," the 12-year veteran deadpanned. "I'm from Mexico."

Then the two shared a laugh and a handshake. The morning was off to a good start. The new, young, and by most accounts, improved White Sox are back in the desert and feeling optimistic about their future.

"It's great to be in a new home," said Soria, who was acquired along with from the Dodgers as part of a three-team, six-player deal that also included the Royals. "I've played against Chicago many times and now I'm part of them here to help them win and develop this team to win a World Series."

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Soria joined a group of pitchers that included Avilan, , , Nate Jones, and on the first day of camp for pitchers and catchers. Their first workout is scheduled for Wednesday.

A few pitchers threw off the mound on Tuesday morning, but the majority lifted weights or threw on the outfield grass on the back fields before heading home. Team physicals for the pitchers and catchers are scheduled for the morning.

"There is a lot of talent for sure, I'll tell you that much," Gonzalez said. "It's going to be an exciting year. We're probably going to surprise a lot of people. We have some older guys coming from other teams, too, and I think that's going to help a lot. , I'm really close to him and he's another Mexican on the team so I'm pretty pumped about that, too."

Infielders , Matt Davidson and outfielder Nicky Delmonico were among the position players working out at camp on Tuesday. The first full-squad workout is not scheduled until Monday, but the cages were full of players rotating in and out every few minutes.

It's going to get even busier. In all, there will be 66 players in big league camp getting looks this spring.

"I think the young guys are getting their feet wet," Gonzalez said. "They did last year and they proved it in September. They had a nice little run and they know what to expect and what to do coming up this year. I think that's what's going to help them and help us, too."

Davidson also attended the club's hitting camp last month. He enjoyed his time as the designated hitter last season, he said, but he also wants to play more defense in 2018. The 26-year-old made sure to remind reporters that in addition to bringing his regular glove and first baseman's mitt, he also brought his batting helmet.

Davidson hit 26 home runs to go with 68 RBis in 118 games for the White Sox last season. He had a .220 batting average with a .260 on-base percentage and a .452 slugging percentage.

"There are tons of guys here already," Davidson said. "We want to work and we want to win. We want to start shifting the rebuilding state to winning. We don't want to be stuck here. We want to move forward."

Jones also has something to prove. The right-handed reliever underwent nerve repositioning surgery on his right elbow last July, and missed the rest of the season. Asked if he would be ready for Opening Day, Jones said, "There's no doubt in my mind."

But in which role?

"I'm always willing to do whatever they tell me," Jones said. "My whole career, I've felt like I've done that. Whatever inning they want me to do, I'll throw."

In the end, Jones echoed the feelings of his teammates on Tuesday morning. Expect the sentiment to grow when more White Sox players show up at Camelback Ranch.

"Obviously, around camp there's a lot of excitement," Jones said. "I'm ready to meet all the new guys and the new teammates. Physically I'm feeling pretty good. I'm just glad to be back, be one of the regular guys, helping the White Sox win."