Once again, manager Robin Ventura held Trayce Thompson out of the White Sox starting lineup. And once again, Ventura had to explain why it’s better for Thompson and the Sox to keep the rookie outfielder in the dugout.
Perhaps more importantly, why it isn’t stunting Thompson’s development.
“I don’t think it’s slowing his development,” Ventura said. “There’s a part of having him go in there against lefties where he continues to have the confidence that he tears up lefties. I think that’s a strong factor as well.”
Entering Friday’s game against the Seattle Mariners, Thompson was hitting .519 with two home runs and six runs batted in over 12 games. On Thursday, Thompson was 2 for 4 with two doubles but that couldn’t keep him in the lineup against Seattle right-hander Taijuan Walker.
Though Ventura made his reasoning clear, an argument can be made it would help accelerate Thompson’s development if he faced righties like Walker. But Thompson didn’t sound interested in that line of thinking.
“It’s not about development here. It’s about winning games. That’s what the minor leagues is for,” Thompson said. “I’m just here to help the team win any way I can. If I’m not in the game, if I’m not in for the best lineup on the day then I’m not in. I’ll be ready to go later in the game. It is what it is.”
As Ventura alluded to, Thompson is feasting on left-handed pitchers. He’s hitting .600 over 20 at-bats, and all of his homers and RBIs have come against lefties. So, eventually, he’ll be starting against right-handers even when his stats tail off.
“I don’t have control over it so I don’t even worry about it, really. If I’m not in the lineup then I’m not in the lineup,” Thompson said. “I’ll be ready to go in the game later if they need me. Just cheering these guys on. We’re just trying to win games.”
Thompson said he hasn’t asked Ventura why he isn’t playing in every game.
“That’s not my job. I’m just here to play. That’s his job,” Thompson said. “I’ll let him worry about that. I don’t think that’s even… that’s never come across my mind at all.”
That question certainly has come across the minds of fidgety Sox fans. Like they did Wednesday when he sat against Boston, they reacted viscerally on Twitter when the team’s lineup was posted without Thompson’s name.
The time when he’s playing all the time could be coming, but Ventura stopped short of saying when.
“We’re near that, but you also like what he does when he’s going in there. Platoon-wise or where he’s at, you like what he’s doing,” Ventura said. “We will see it, it’ll be there. Even last night, once the righty came in he’s still in there. We like being able to mix him in there and put him in and platoon him the way we are right now.”