‘Pressing’ Daniel Palka still seeking first hit

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Daniel Palka swings during a spring training game in Peoria, Arizona. | AP

Outfielder Daniel Palka was one of the highlights of the White Sox’ 2018  season, hitting a surprising 27 home runs and wowing fans with his impressive exit velocities.

Palka still is waiting to make an impact in 2019. He didn’t play Sunday against the Mariners and is 0-for-21 with nine strikeouts this season.

‘‘Things feel good, it’s just a little bit of pressing right now,’’ Palka said. ‘‘Kind of took a step back after [Saturday] and just restarted. Mechanically, everything looks good. It’s just a matter of one dropping in there and getting started.

‘‘I think the thing that annoys me most is that I’m not contributing to wins. I want to give the guys high-fives on my side, too. It’s just a matter of staying positive. Not much else to say about it.’’

Palka knows one hit could change things. He just can’t try to force it.

‘‘Realistically, I’ve just got to be patient,’’ Palka said. ‘‘I’m not someone who gets a lot of pitches to hit because of some of the successes I’ve had. My mentality is always like, ‘I want to do it, I want to do it now.’ I’ve just got to take a step back and be patient up there.’’

Santana on Tuesday?

Manager Rick Renteria didn’t confirm it, but right-hander Ervin Santana is a good bet to start Tuesday against the Rays.

Limited to five starts last season with the Twins because of an injury to the middle finger on his right hand, Santana joined the Sox on Feb. 23 and made two spring appearances.


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After a season dealing with injury issues, Santana said he is glad to be healthy.

‘‘Big difference to just be myself right now and playing catch and all the throwing,’’ Santana said.

Jonesing to improve

Reliever Nate Jones struck out two and saw his velocity reach 96 mph in the inning he pitched Saturday. It was

a good sign for Jones, who had a 12.15 ERA in the spring and entered Saturday with a 16.20 ERA in three regular-season appearances.

‘‘We’re hoping that every time we get him out there, he’s able to get more and more comfortable,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘He had a lot of downtime last year, so hopefully he’s on track and trending upward. I’m hoping every outing we give him puts him in a better position to become who he was in the past and he’s able to help us in big situations.’’

But might Renteria be hesitant to use Jones on consecutive days?

‘‘I would rather not speak to that,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘ . . . We want to be able to use Nate back-to-back. Let me put it to you that way.’’

Tweet, tweet

Santana (@ErvinSantana_54) explained why he follows 196,000 accounts on Twitter.

‘‘Good question,’’ he said. ‘‘I have a lot of followers, too. I’m not a bad guy. If you follow me, I’ll follow you. I don’t discriminate.’’

Cordell demoted

The Sox optioned outfielder Ryan Cordell to Class AAA Charlotte. A corresponding move will be announced Monday.

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