White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal takes team’s teasing in stride

If Madrigal made it sound as though achieving 3,000 hits in the major leagues would be anything less than monumental, he wants you to know it came out wrong.

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White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal during spring training workouts last week. (For Sun-Times/John Antonoff)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — About that 3,000-hits comment . . .

If White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal made it sound as though achieving that feat in the major leagues would be anything less than monumental, he wants you to know it came out wrong.

‘‘The whole ‘Mr. 3,000’ and [podcast] interview and stuff kind of got taken out of context a little bit,’’ Madrigal said Monday. ‘‘During the interview, a lot of people thought I was saying it’s easy to do, something like that. But there are a very few amount of people [32] that have reached that milestone. I’m a confident person, but I know that’s out there to even say something like that.’’

Teammates made up ‘‘Mr. 3,000’’ shirts with Madrigal’s face and wore them on the practice fields. It made Madrigal — whom the Sox drafted No. 4 overall in 2018 — cringe, but he passed an important test by wearing it.

‘‘I didn’t get mad at all; I thought it was funny,’’ Madrigal said. ‘‘But I think the whole thing is kind of a misunderstanding, if you ask me.’’

Of more significance to Madrigal, 24, was playing in his first Cactus League game. The 5-7 rookie, who batted .340 in 29 games last season, had surgery on his left shoulder after the season and was slightly behind the rest of the group. Madrigal grounded out twice and had minimal action in the field.

On the plus side, Madrigal, who has been working since the first day of camp on the back fields, said his legs are feeling strong and his timing is good.

‘‘I’m ahead of schedule,’’ he said. ‘‘It felt great to be out there, especially with fans in the stands. I was looking forward to this all offseason, for this moment, and it’s been a lot of hard work . . . and a lot of people to be thankful for that brought me to this point.’’

Kopech to make first appearance

Right-hander Michael Kopech, who has not pitched in the majors since August 2018 because of Tommy John surgery and then opting out of last season, will make his first appearance of the Cactus League on Tuesday.

‘‘Just writing his name in the lineup is a huge plus for us,’’ manager Tony La Russa said. ‘‘He’s feeling good. He’s getting his first assignment. He’s going to have to work hard to control his emotions and maintain his concentration. If he slips here or there, he’s just human. But the fact he’s going out there healthy and has worked hard to keep his delivery consistent makes us very excited to watch him.’’

Don’t judge too soon

La Russa said the first round of roster cuts are coming soon. But while there will be no surprises this early, he said: ‘‘The worst mistake you can make is coming in with a predetermined conception of what that roster’s going to be and when are you going to do this or that.’’

While there isn’t much up for grabs in terms of roster spots before Opening Day, La Russa said: ‘‘We haven’t talked about the 26 guys, how many pitchers, how many players and what does that mean. We haven’t gotten into that yet.’’

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