White Sox’ Kelvin Herrera ready ‘to prove myself, to be the guy who I am’ in 2020

Unlike last year, Kelvin Herrera feels 100 percent healthy and is coming off a normal offseason.

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Kelvin Herrera throws against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, in Minneapolis.

Jim Mone/AP

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The gleam in right-hander Kelvin Herrera’s eye says it all. He is right physically at this spring training — unlike a year ago in his first camp with the White Sox — and is certain he’ll be the pitcher he was signed to be.

“For sure. There is no doubt,” Herrera said Sunday. “This is the year I’m going to prove myself, to be the guy who I am.”

That guy would be the two-time All-Star, late-innings reliever signed to a two-year, $18 million deal in January 2019, not one of the worst relievers in the game last year. He had a 6.14 ERA, more than double the career 2.82 mark he had compiled from 2011 to 2018.

The Sox gave Herrera, 30, his deal even though he had torn the Lisfranc ligament in his left foot pitching for the Nationals in -August 2018 and knowing a lengthy rehab process after surgery would follow with potential lingering effects.

It turned out that was the case. Herrera didn’t have his normal offseason, wasn’t at 100 percent in camp, and while showing spurts of effectiveness, he would never get untracked.

“It was weird,” he said. “My arm was feeling good, but the legs weren’t all there. That’s your foundation, especially for a pitcher.

“And then you deal with inconsistency. You do good for a week or so, but then you get tired, and your body asks for more that you don’t have. And if you don’t have it, you go down. I lived that in first person last year. It was terrible.”

Herrera did put up better numbers late in the season. He had a 1.76 ERA in his last 15 appearances, then went through his normal offseason workout routine.

“The fact you can work out during the offseason is priceless,” he said.

In his early side sessions in camp, Herrera says he has been hitting spots, which is objective

No. 1 at this stage.

“I am [happy],” he said. “I am ready to go. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to contribute to this team.”

Mendick’s well-rounded goal

Danny Mendick has four gloves in camp — middle infielder, third base, outfield and a new one he’s breaking in. Mendick, who has a chance to be the Opening Day second baseman, could be the valuable utility man all teams need.

Mendick, a 2015 22nd-round pick, played nine games in left field for Class AAA Charlotte. When the Sox called him up in September, he played five games at shortstop, three at second base and three at third and batted .308/.325/.462 with two home runs in 40 plate appearances.

“I want to be a consistent baseball player where a manager knows he can get a solid defensive effort and a guy who can hit,” Mendick said. “If I can control those things, I can play this game for a while.”

Day 1 is here

Monday is the first full-squad workout, and manager Rick Renteria will give his inaugural speech.

“We will go over our general basic rules of comportment, things of that nature, and then what our team will be,” Renteria said. “And that’s for myself and our club.”

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