Dallas Keuchel picks up $25,000 dinner tab for White Sox colleagues

“Everybody shared their thankfulness that he and his family would take the time to be part of the whole organization, kind of getting us together and embracing the White Sox family,” manager Rick Renteria said.

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Dallas Keuchel pitches against the Padres in a spring training game Monday.

Dallas Keuchel pitches against the Padres in a spring training game Monday.

Matt York/AP

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dallas Keuchel threw a nice “get to know you” party at a local restaurant for teammates, minor-leaguers, staff and pretty much anybody from the organization who wanted to attend.

The bill came to about $25,000, a tab the White Sox’ new starting pitcher said was worth picking up.

“I don’t really know a whole lot of people yet,” said Keuchel, 32, who signed a three-year, $55.5 million deal in the offseason, “so let’s get to know some of these minor-league guys and just kind of give them a taste of what a big-league dinner is all about.”

Guests ordered off a menu and enjoyed an open bar and wine. Kids were welcome, too. More than 150 attended, Keuchel said.

Keuchel’s mother, Teresa, stole the show, giving a toast that Keuchel put her up to.

“Playoffs or die this year!” she said, adding some spicy language for effect.

“I wanted her to say a little bit more, but it was just more of like, ‘Hope everybody’s having a good time. Cheers to a great season,’ ’’ Keuchel said. “I had her say it’s the playoffs or die this year. And she added the choice words at the end . . . for humor.”

Keuchel wanted to keep his generous gesture under wraps, but it was reported by USA Today on Tuesday.

“I have never seen that before,” manager Rick Renteria said.

“Everybody shared their thankfulness that he and his family would take the time to be part of the whole organization, kind of getting us together and embracing the White Sox family.”

Engel preparing like a starter

Adam Engel played 86 games in the outfield last season and 143 in 2018, when he was a Gold Glove finalist in center. He might not get as many starts with a set outfield of Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Nomar Mazara as of now. But he’s still preparing as a starter in his fourth major-league camp.

“You come into camp, and you have an idea of what the team is looking like,” said Engel, who had two singles and a walk and made a rolling catch on a sinking liner Tuesday against the Athletics. “And then the season starts, and you never know what’s going to happen from there. Fourth-outfielder role is where the staff is kind of placing me.”

Because he might be the Sox’ best outfield defender, depending on what is seen from rookie Robert, Engel will have value in case of an injury or as a late-inning replacement for Mazara or Jimenez. And with better splits against lefties (.313/.360/.482 in 2019) than the left-handed-hitting Mazara (.220/.252/.394), Engel might get some starts in right, although Mazara will be given the opportunity to show what he can do against left-handers.

In any event, Engel won’t accept the mindset of being a role player just yet.

“You still have to be ready for Opening Day, in case something happens, somebody is not ready,” he said. “I still try to be ready as a starter and every-day player.”

New addition

Right-hander Zach Putnam is in minor-league camp on a minor-league deal. Putnam, 32, last pitched in 2017 with the Sox.

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