White Sox rookie outfielder Daniel Palka, who is among the American League rookie leaders with 18 home runs, is unable to afford some of the nicer things higher-paid teammates can.
For Players Weekend, however, he got a specially designed pair of Jordan 9 Retro shoes fashioned after the canvas exterior of shortstop Tim Anderson’s Gucci backpack.
‘‘I like Gucci stuff, but I don’t buy it yet because it’s still above my threshold,’’ Palka said.
The Sox claimed the left-handed-hitting Palka, a third-round draft choice of the Diamondbacks in 2013, off waivers from the Twins in November. He made his debut April 25 and is enjoying a productive season, as well as his status as a fan favorite.
‘‘It’s been awesome,’’ Palka, 26, said of being a big-leaguer. ‘‘I still have to sit down sometimes at night, and I go, ‘Wow, this is great.’
‘‘It’s funny, I still get chills. Some people have waited forever for this.’’
Palka entered play Saturday with a .239/.280/.475 hitting line. In his last 31 games, however, he was hitting .280 with a .535 slugging percentage and an .839 OPS. He singled to left field and scored in the third inning.
Palka is making the most of his opportunity on a rebuilding team with roster openings because of injuries, but he knows he must improve his defensive skills and on-base percentage, so he’s not ordering up any Gucci stuff just yet.
‘‘Lucky situation,’’ he said. ‘‘But I have to say there is lots more to get done.’’
Palka’s shoes, by the way, have his mother’s and father’s names on them.
Anderson improving on ‘D’
Anderson has made a combined five errors in June, July and August after making 10 in the first two months of the season, an encouraging development for a player whose defense has been questionable at times.
‘‘I feel more comfortable,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘We get out and work every day, and some plays are starting to become easy — but they’re not easy.’’
Anderson said the reps are making him better at ‘‘picking and choosing between hops, just knowing what that ball is going to do.’’
‘‘He’s figuring himself out in a lot of ways,’’ bench coach Joe McEwing said. ‘‘He’s gotten so much better on his backhand, going into the 6-hole and being able to throw from different angles.
Before, he would go to his backhand, just come up and try to make the strong throw. Now, he’s going to his backhand and getting rid of it quicker when he needs to from a different arm angle.’’
Kopech’s first road start
Count catcher Omar Narvaez among those looking forward to seeing top prospect Michael Kopech make his second start — and first on the road — Sunday.
Narvaez suggested a calmer environment might be a plus for Kopech, 22, who threw 51 pitches in two scoreless innings Tuesday before rain cut his outing short.
‘‘He had a lot of butterflies,’’ said Narvaez, who likely will catch Kopech again. ‘‘But he was less nervous in the second [inning]. I’m looking forward to seeing him [Sunday].’’