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White Sox’ Adam Engel basks in glow of home-run takeaways

Adam Engel makes a catch against the wall for an out on a ball hit by Cleveland Indians' Yonder Alonso during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Young)

DETROIT — Adam Engel’s three — count ’em, three — home-run-robbing catches above the center-field wall in a seven-day span still had people talking.

While J.D. Martinez won American League Player of the Week honors, Engel received a mention among others considered. Tigers TV interviewed him, as well as Chicago media, on Monday.

When LeBron James “likes” an ESPN tweet about you, you know you’ve done something worth talking about.

“It’s a pretty cool feeling,’’ said Engel, who robbed Greg Bird on Monday, Kyle Higashioka on Tuesday and Yonder Alonso on Sunday. “It feels good, especially when it gets the reaction from your pitcher. As a defender, that’s what you want to do. You just want to make plays for your pitcher.’’

It was enough of a display to drum up talk of putting Engel in the Gold Glove Award conversation, although offense historically has factored into that honor. Coming off a game in which he fell a double shy of the cycle, Engel doubled his first time up in the first game of the White Sox’ series against the Tigers and also homered in the eighth inning. He has a .227/.275/.334 hitting line.

The Sox, who have given him every-day at-bats this season to see what he can do offensively, want Engel to focus on using his speed and making more contact. To be part of their long-range plan, with their deep supply of outfield prospects, he’ll have to bring more with his bat.

“[Hitting coach Todd Steverson] has been talking about his swing path, trying to get him to get down through the ball a little and don’t worry so much about getting it in the air,’’ manager Rick Renteria said.

“But the hitter has to become very comfortable in the physical approach to the baseball. And you have to assess it over a larger period of time. We still have to look at him and evaluate. We need to ascertain what it is that our men bring to the table.’’

The defensive talent, especially for that particular play, is special, though.

“I just told [the team] all together, those are the three nicest plays I’ve ever seen from a center fielder in a very short period of time,’’ Renteria said.

Doc ‘Hawk’

The Sox and NBC Sports Chicago announced a joint production of “Hawk,” a documentary chronicling the life and career of retiring broadcaster Ken Harrelson that will air Sept. 13.

“I hope it has everything,’’ said Jason Benetti, who has taken the play-by-play baton from the iconic TV voice he grew up watching and listening to. “I hope it has [umpire Mark] Wegner, and I mean all of it. That’s the man. That’s who he is. I think he would want it that way.’’

The beauty of Harrelson’s style was his passion for the Sox, and that it was real, Benetti said.

“He gets mad at people, but he also loves his team,’’ Benetti said.

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Benetti doesn’t necessarily buy the notion that the days of passionate, old-school voices such as Harrelson’s are numbered.

“I don’t like the characterization of, ‘There will never be somebody else who cares about their team in the way he did,’ ’’ Benetti said. “I just think it’s going to look different. You’ll never have that guy ever again. You’ll have passion. If we don’t have passion for the sport coming out of our announcers who cover the sport, the sport’s in trouble.’’

The Sox are holding a VIP sneak preview Sept. 6. Go to whitesox.com/hawk for details.