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3 questions as full squad workouts begin at spring training

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Manager Pedro Grifol felt the Chicago White Sox were able to execute what they felt was necessary during their first five days of camp with pitchers and catchers.

“We’re in a good spot for these position players to come in and integrate into our practices,” Grifol said Sunday at Camelback Ranch.

The position players are added to the equation Monday with the first full squad workout.

“The plan was to get the pitchers ready to go, all the intros with our fundamentals, and then have one intro (Monday) with the position players and then ramp them up for the next four days (ahead of Friday’s Cactus League opener),” Grifol said. “And then we’ll slow it down and get really technical.

“But for the next four days, we’ll be going at a high energy level.”

Many of the position players have already made appearances at Camelback Ranch.

As the Sox enter the next phase in configuring their 26-man roster for opening day, here are three questions facing the team.

Which returning player will take the next step?

Chicago White Sox designated hitter Eloy Jiménez hits against the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023. (Trent Sprague/Chicago Tribune)
Chicago White Sox designated hitter Eloy Jiménez hits against the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023. (Trent Sprague/Chicago Tribune)

Luis Robert Jr. elevated his game in 2023, reaching career highs in several categories while earning his first All-Star selection.

Which player could potentially make a leap in 2024?

First baseman Andrew Vaughn set career highs in several offensive categories in 2023, including home runs (21) and RBIs (80).

During last week’s spring training preview Zoom call, general manager Chris Getz said Vaughn “expects to take a step forward.”

The 2019 season has served as an example of third baseman Yoán Moncada’s potential when he hit .315 with 25 home runs and 79 RBIs. He hit .260 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs in 92 games during a 2023 season that was interrupted on a couple of occasions by back issues.

Eloy Jiménez played in 120 games last season, just shy of his career-best of 122 during his rookie campaign of 2019. He had 18 home runs and 64 RBIs, his best numbers since hitting 31 home runs and driving in 79 in 2019.

“(Moncada is) determined to go out there and have a solid year for us,” Getz said. “Things have to play out and we have to get through spring training and the early part of the season, and Eloy Jiménez is someone else. Offensively, we’ve seen the potential he has. When he’s on the field he’s very productive. Last year, other than the appendectomy, he had taken care of a lot of the issues he had in the past from a health standpoint. I feel like he’s well positioned to be productive on a regular basis, as well.”

How will the new-look middle of the infield perform?

White Sox-DeJong Baseball

San Francisco Giants' Paul DeJong runs the baseline during a baseball game, Aug. 23, 2023, in Philadelphia.

Matt Slocum/AP

San Francisco Giants’ Paul DeJong runs the baseline during a game on Aug. 23, 2023, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum/Associated Press)

Elvis Andrus and Tim Anderson started at second base and shortstop, respectively, for the Sox in the 2023 season opener at Houston.

Both are free agents, meaning the Sox will have a new look at those two spots this season.

They acquired infielders Nicky Lopez and Braden Shewmake in November from the Atlanta Braves in the Aaron Bummer trade. They signed shortstop Paul DeJong to a one-year deal later that month.

Lopez and DeJong played for multiple teams last season.

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