White Sox manager Pedro Grifol says Oscar Colas needs to win the job in right field

The Sox’ top outfield prospect is “competing for a job” in spring training.

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Oscar Colas.

Right field appears to be White Sox outfielder Oscar Colas’ job to lose.

John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Right field appears to be Oscar Colas’ job to lose, which is heady stuff for a prospect who has played in seven Triple-A games.

The White Sox’ other options are Gavin Sheets and Eloy Jimenez — both offense-first players with below-average defense and, in Jimenez’s case, inexperience in that corner — and several experienced camp invitees, including Billy Hamilton, Jake Marisnick and Victor Reyes. There’s also utilityman Leury Garcia.

In other words, there’s no perfect option. The left-handed Colas is far from ideal, his power and average outfield skills notwithstanding. Should he break camp with the Sox, a struggle at some point is likely inevitable.

First-year manager Pedro Grifol hasn’t seen enough of Colas to know if now is the right time to open the door. On that, he says he’s trusting his player-development and scouting personnel.

He’s also trusting that Colas gets this message: He hasn’t won the job in February.

“He’s not going to [act like right field is his] because that’s not the case,” Grifol said. “Obviously, he’s an extremely talented kid, and this organization has plans for him. But he is competing for a job.”

That said, Grifol does like what he sees.

“He’s an extremely focused kid,” he said. “There’s no BS about him. He comes here to work. He’s competing for a job and he knows it. This is what he loves to do. He takes pride in it. He asks a lot of good questions. He’s extremely detailed for a young kid. Obviously, he’s got ability. I’m looking forward to watching him progress this spring.”

Colas batted .387/.424/.645 at Triple A Charlotte and .314/.371/.524 over three minor-league levels in 2022. He hit 23 homers in 117 games, including a 470-foot blast for Double-A Birmingham.

“I’m ready for whatever comes,” he said Tuesday.

Slide!

Situational hitting was a focus Tuesday. Grifol said cold weather in April could warrant manufacturing runs.

“We’ve got guys who can hit for a lot of power, but situational hitting is a part of who we are,” he said.

Sliding drills — on grass and plastic, not infield dirt — were also on Tuesday’s schedule.

“The sliding is really important for us,” Grifol said. “We’re trying to keep these guys on the field. If some of these guys need help on the sliding end, we’re here to help them. We’re practicing it and identifying that it’s a developmental need for them. We’re going to continue to do that throughout camp.”

Rule changes this season could encourage more stolen-base attempts, and head-first slides raise the risk of hand injuries, which is why Luis Robert wears a mitt on base to lower his risk.

Grifol said he’s not going to discourage head-first sliding, which wasn’t seen in drills Tuesday.

“We’ve got to be able to slide both ways, feet-first and head-first,” he said, “and be able to feel comfortable doing both.”

More praise for Moncada

Grifol on third baseman Yoan Moncada in camp: “I’m really proud of YoYo, the way he’s going about his business. He’s focused. He’s putting in the work, working hard. He’s asking for extra work.”

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