SURPRISE, Ariz. — First baseman Andrew Vaughn is making a good first impression at his first spring training.
Vaughn, whom the White Sox selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft in June, homered Friday against the Indians and laid out to snag a hard liner to his left. He was drafted for his bat, but he’ll take whatever notice he receives for his glove, too.
‘‘Defense is the other half of the game,’’ said Vaughn, who was considered by many to be the best hitter available in the draft. ‘‘You can’t all be about offense. I’ve been working every day, just trying to get better, get my feet moving.’’
Vaughn, who singled on an 0-2 pitch and hit into a fielder’s choice in the Sox’ Cactus League game Saturday against the Rangers, also has a homer, a double and two walks in 10 plate appearances this spring. Manager Rick Renteria calls his approach ‘‘simple’’ and ‘‘fantastic.’’
‘‘He has a really good idea of what he wants to do,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘He can take an at-bat and zone in. It’s clean, it’s quick. There’s not a whole lot of moving parts. He really understands what his body is doing. He can get to a pitch quickly, but it’s consistent. No panic.’’
Vaughn won’t break camp with the Sox this season, but it’s easy to envision him splitting time between first base and designated hitter with Jose Abreu in the next two seasons. ‘
“It’s so humbling [being in camp],’’ said Vaughn, who batted .278/.384/.449 in rookie ball and two levels of Class A last summer. ‘‘Just to think I was playing college baseball [at Cal] last year and getting the opportunity to do this, it’s like nothing else.
‘‘It was a pretty cool feeling to get the first [homer]. It was definitely nice.’’
Vaughn keeps his head down and his eyes and ears open and doesn’t mince words when he talks.
‘‘Soaking it all up and truly enjoying it,’’ he said.
Second baseman Nick Madrigal, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 draft, played at Class A Winston-Salem, Class AA Birmingham and Class AAA Charlotte last season. A similar path is expected for Vaughn this season.
The (back) story on Encarnacion
Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion reported progress on the tight lower back that has sidelined him since Thursday.
“It’s getting better,’’ Encarnacion said. ‘‘It’s nothing to worry about. Just want to make sure it’s right.’’
Encarnacion, 37, said he hasn’t had back issues in the past. He first felt something four or five days ago, he said. He has been receiving treatment and planned to swing a bat to test it.
‘‘The main thing is, I want to be ready for Opening Day,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t want to do something to make it worse.’’
Encarnacion has time on his side with 26 days until the opener against the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field. He said he would like to get 40 at-bats this spring.
This and that
- Left-hander Jace Fry, who missed about a week with a sore lower back, said he expects to pitch off a mound Sunday.
- Left-hander Gio Gonzalez tentatively is scheduled to throw his second bullpen session Sunday.