‘State of baseball . . . was what it was at time’ of sign-stealing, White Sox’ Dallas Keuchel says

“We’re always going to be World Series champs because we were talented and, to me, we earned the right to be World Series champs,’’ the former Astros pitcher said.

SHARE ‘State of baseball . . . was what it was at time’ of sign-stealing, White Sox’ Dallas Keuchel says
Dallas Keuchel talks to reporters Thursday at White Sox camp.

Dallas Keuchel talks to reporters Thursday at White Sox camp.

Daryl Van Schouwen/Sun-Times

GLENDALE, Ariz. — White Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel expressed remorse again for the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, but he also suggested there is no need to put an asterisk next to the World Series title he helped them win in 2017.

‘‘We’re always going to be World Series champs because we were talented and, to me, we earned the right to be World Series champs,’’ Keuchel said during his first media session of spring training Thursday. ‘‘Just because stuff came out about the 2017 Astros doesn’t mean other teams weren’t doing illegal stuff. It just means that we were the ones that were caught.

‘‘The state of baseball, it was what it was at that time.’’

Last month at SoxFest, Keuchel became the first former Astros player to apologize for the team’s involvement in stealing signs. The subject came up again after Astros players and coaches issued apologies. But owner Jim Crane caused a stir and skepticism by saying the scheme ‘‘didn’t impact the game.’’

‘‘I’m not here to really dig into anything that happened,’’ Keuchel said. ‘‘Just that’s my feeling. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to show remorse or try to move on. I chose the remorse route because, hey, I felt like that was what was owed. I owed it to my family, and that’s how I was raised.

Here to win

Keuchel said he reminded Sox general manager Rick Hahn that he played for playoff teams in four of his previous five seasons and that he didn’t expect any of his three seasons in Chicago to be different.

‘‘He knows where I stand on that, and that was a big talking point before I signed,’’ Keuchel said. ‘‘I liked where they were at, where they were headed.’’

Keuchel, 32, won the American League Cy Young Award in 2015 and was an All-Star in 2015 and 2017.

‘‘I really this offseason tried to take care of myself as much as possible with recovery, with diet, with everything,’’ he said. ‘‘Honestly, this is the best I’ve felt in a number of years. So that really helps out the mental edge coming in.’’

Madrigal ‘off the charts’

Nick Madrigal might not make the Sox’ Opening Day roster, but he might get the most playing time at second base before the season is over. Madrigal struck out only 16 times last season, but the Sox want to see more plate discipline and maybe less aggressiveness.

‘‘His hand-and-eye skill is off the charts,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘If he starts to develop and starts laying off pitches . . . oh, man. If you lay something out over the plate, this guy’s going to be able to do something.’’

Madrigal spent the offseason in the Phoenix area and has been coming to the Sox’ complex for nearly three weeks in an effort to familiarize himself with it.

‘‘This year is going to be exciting for myself and my family,’’ Madrigal said. ‘‘Whatever happens, happens. Everything is going to work out one way or another.’’

This and that

Renteria was noncommittal about having a third catcher take the 26th spot on the Opening Day roster. If 2016 first-round pick Zack Collins’ catching skills were more polished, he could have built a case.

‘‘I believe he’s going to hit,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘I’m not worried about his offense. I just want him to develop that catching skill and put himself in a position where we’re very, very comfortable using him at any time.’’

• Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez is lined up to start the Cactus League opener Feb. 22 against the Angels at Camelback Ranch.

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