Sox notebook: Josh Harrison tips cap to Jackie Robinson

The Sox infielder learned about Robinson’s impact on baseball from his uncle, former Orioles outfielder John Shelby. “To be able to honor [Robinson] every year is always something I take pride in.”

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White Sox infielder Josh Harrison celebrates an out against the Tigers on Sunday.

Josh Harrison said he hopes to play Saturday after missing the last two games with back soreness.

Carlos Osorio, AP Photos

White Sox second baseman Josh Harrison learned about the impact of Jackie Robinson “first-hand” — from his uncle, former Orioles outfielder John Shelby, who played 10 years in the big leagues and won the World Series with the Orioles in 1983 and Dodgers in 1988. 

“I had a family member that was full representation of what it meant,” Harrison said. “Where other people might have had to read books — obviously I read books and do my research — having an uncle who was living proof and here I am now living proof myself.” 

Harrison, part of the Sox’ all-African-American keystone combo with shortstop Tim Anderson, was proud to wear No. 42 on his jersey — as all players did Friday night to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day and the 75th anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball in 1947. 

This is the 19th season major league baseball has officially honored Robinson’s impact on the game, but the import never diminishes.

“Respect,” Harrison said when asked what Jackie Robinson Day means to him. “To endure what he did, you’ve got to take a step back and be grateful and thankful for what he did — not only for myself but everybody that is represented on this field. We’re not playing together if he doesn’t take the stand that he did. 

“To be able to honor him every year is always something I take pride in. A lot of people like to say just Black or African-American players, but it’s not just us that are affected. Latins are affected. None of us are playing together if it weren’t for Jackie Robinson.”

Every day is a big day for the effusive Anderson, but this one even more so.

“It’s always special to put No. 42 on,” Anderson said. “[He’s] the guy that paved the way for a guy like me. Just what he brought to the game, he means so much to the game. He means so much to the world. He means so much to the community. This has been going on since before I was born, so it’s super special.” 

Harrison’s back

Harrison did not start for the second consecutive game Friday night after leaving Wednesday night’s game with back soreness. But he said he feels “a lot better” and would start Saturday against the Rays if it’s up to him.

Harrison is hitting .167 (3-for-18) with a triple in five games. But Leury Garcia entered Friday night’s game 0-for-17 for the season, with two errors at second base. 

“Better safe than sorry,” Harrison said. “I don’t want to jeopardize anything [by] going out there feeling I have to be Superman — the sixth game of the season when if I need a day or two to be there for 162. We have a good team and that’s what good teams do — we rely on each other.” 

Chicago tough

Harrison, not surprisingly, identifies with Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley, the Chicago native whose spirited play lifts every team he’s on. 

“Oh, yeah, he plays hard. How can you not like him?” Harrison said. “He wants to win by any means. He’s not worried about who’s on that other sideline. All he cares about are the guys that strapped up with him. That ultimately is what team sports is — worrying about your guys.” 

Welcome, rookie

Rookie left-handed reliever Bennett Sousa thought he had another out when Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh flied to left Thursday. Instead the wind carried it into the seats for a home run — Sousa’s first run allowed after three scoreless appearances in the big leagues. 

“I saw [Andrew] Vaughn — his first couple of steps were in and I was like, ‘All right, we’ve got a pop up here,’” Sousa said. “And then he started running back and I’m like, ‘Oh, crap — this is going out.’ It’s part of it. That’s gonna happen. But the good thing about being a reliever is you might go out there again [the next game].” 

Severino’s ‘beautiful’ debut

Rookie Anderson Severino was understandably nervous when he made his big-league debut Thursday. It probably didn’t help that he came in with the bases loaded against Mariners leadoff man Adam Frazier. He struck him out looking to end the inning.

“I’m not used to getting into the game in those kinds of situations,” Severino admitted via team translator Billy Russo. “But what helped me was I was able to throw strikes and that helped me get through that moment.” 

Severino also pitched a scoreless ninth inning, with a hit batsman, a walk and two more strikeouts. The first person to call him was his father, watching the game on television in the Dominican Republic. 

“He was very happy and excited,” Severino said. “And friends also called and texted me saying, ‘Congratulations.’ It was a beautiful experience.” 

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