A home run would be nice. Andrew Vaughn knows it. But he’s not going to force the issue.
“It’ll happen eventually,” the White Sox left fielder said before his team opened a three-game series against the defending division champion Twins on Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. “It’s not something I’m going out trying to do. I pride myself on being a hitter first, and I’ve always said that. That’s the biggest part of my game: getting into that groove and just going at it every day.”
Perhaps getting his most consistent playing time of the season will lead to his first homer. Vaughn entered the game on a 12-for-37 (.324) streak, including four doubles and two RBI in his last 11 games, raising his hitting line to .261/.350/.362. Before that, the No. 3 overall pick in 2019 was batting .188/.333/.281 while playing in 11 of the Sox’ first 18 games.
“It’s definitely seeing more reps,” he said.
Vaughn, who hadn’t played above advanced Class A, batted .278/.384/.449 with six homers in 55 minor-league games. Last year’s minor-league season was canceled, so it has been an uneven entry into the majors. And when he got there, he was thrown into an unexpected position change because of Eloy Jimenez’s torn pectoral.
But Vaughn, a first baseman who figured to make the Opening Day roster as the designated hitter, has made an uneventful transition to left field. He’s making the routine plays and even laid out to make a catch Sunday in Kansas City.
“It’s still new because I haven’t been out there for a super long time,” he said. “But it’s getting better, getting all the reads out there and seeing the ball. I’m getting more comfortable out there, 100 percent.”
The Twins were 12-20 entering Tuesday, but Sox manager Tony La Russa isn’t writing them off no matter what happens in this series, the start of 19 games between the teams.
“No, it’s way too early,” La Russa said. “Whatever the results, there’s so much time to make up for it. . . . Whichever way this series goes, it doesn’t say anything about what’s going to happen in the second half of the season. Just right now we have something going, and the Twins are in our way.”
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, baseball’s crowds have been lively.
“Not only have I noticed it but the guys have mentioned it,” La Russa said. “Just the atmosphere is totally different with so many thousands.
“If you look at our club, it’s a very attractive club. The pitchers are attractive, position players — everybody’s got something the fans like about them. We’ve got a real shot to be entertaining and competitive and contend all summer.”
This and that
Nursing a sore knee, Adam Eaton returned to the lineup having played twice in the previous five games — a span of eight days with three days off.
“He’s pretty close to 100 percent,” La Russa said.
• Wednesday starter Dallas Keuchel is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA over 24 innings in his last four starts.
• Michael Kopech is the only pitcher in the majors with 35-plus strikeouts over 22 „ innings pitched or fewer.