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Talk is getting World Serious for White Sox

World Series chatter is the new norm for the White Sox.

“I think having championship aspirations is to be expected and, to a man, what people want,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said.
“I think having championship aspirations is to be expected and, to a man, what people want,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said.
Alex Brandon/AP

GLENDALE, Ariz. — World Series talk is now the norm for the White Sox.

Hitting coach Frank Menechino said “World Series or bust” in December.

The day before spring training officially opened, right-hander Lucas Giolito said, “We want to win a ring. We want to win a World Series.’’

And on the day spring training opened, general manager Rick Hahn joined in.

“As we sit here today, the goal is to win a World Series championship,” Hahn said Wednesday. “So if we fall short of that, it would be a disappointment.

“Of all days, especially on the first day of camp — not to mention what we’ve all been through for the last several years preparing to get to this point — I think having championship aspirations is to be expected and, to a man, what people want.”

Grandal welcomes workload

With James McCann gone and the backup catcher unsettled — although veteran Jonathan Lucroy seems to have the inside track — Yasmani Grandal said he won’t shy away from catching a lot of games.

“It all comes down to how many games they want to slot me in,” said Grandal, noting his games caught increased each year, up to 137 with the Brewers in 2019, before he caught 32 of 60 last season.

“I’m ready to play a full season plus playoffs. That’s pretty much what I train for.”

Cease has Cy potential

Grandal noted Dylan Cease’s stuff and talent and, in different terms than others have used to describe the 25-year-old right-hander’s ability, indicated a high ceiling. Grandal was inspired watching Cease throw a couple of weeks ago.

“I just saw him from the side,’’ Grandal said. ‘‘I feel like if we get him to where we see him going, this guy could be a Cy Young finalist. He could possibly be a Cy Young winner. He’s got the tools to do it; there’s no doubt about that.”

Cease, who had a 4.01 ERA in 12 starts and 58⅓ innings in 2020, his second season, projects as the Sox’ No. 4 starter.

Manager’s corner

Highlights from manager Tony La Russa’s Zoom call with the media Thursday:

u His first impressions of staff ace Giolito, with not only how sharp he looked during his bullpen session but in taking time to watch newcomer Lance Lynn during his session.

“It just shows that this guy wants to be a No. 1 type,” La Russa said. “You don’t just start Opening Day; it’s the way you compete and carry yourself between starts. Welcome a teammate. A lot of times starters build that fraternity where they watch each other’s bullpen. That really gave me just a great feeling about where his head and heart are.”

u The top development of the first two days of camp, La Russa said, is the partnership between first-year pitching coach Ethan Katz, who replaced Don Cooper, and incumbent assistant pitching coach Curt Hasler.

“They are working really, really well together,’’ he said, ‘‘and I give Curt a ton of credit for that. He’s the guy with the experience. Ethan’s the new guy.”

u La Russa kiddingly suggested to the left-handed-hitting Adam Eaton that he face 100 mph lefty Garrett Crochet.

“He’s one of our tough-competitor leader types,” La Russa said. “I said, ‘You know, we’ll really show everybody what a leader you are the first day of BP by putting you in there against Crochet.’ He gave me a look like, ‘That’s not really a smart move to make.’ ’’