White Sox must all pull on same rope, Elvis Andrus says

“Winning teams don’t have too much to do with talent,” Andrus said. “Every team has a lot of talent.”

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Elvis Andrus at White Sox spring training on the day he signed a one-year contract.

Elvis Andrus at White Sox spring training on the day he signed a one-year contract.

John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Elvis Andrus says he loved playing for the White Sox late last season, although he saw one thing that will have to change for the team to win in 2023.

The Sox have “great talent,” said Andrus, who has played for five postseason teams during his 14-year career.

But Andrus noticed some levels of selfishness as the Sox were reeling to an 81-81 finish last season. Signed to play shortstop while Tim Anderson was injured last August and signed again Monday to be the Sox’ full-time second baseman in 2023, Andrus says it takes more than being good to win.

“I don’t think winning teams have too much to do with talent,” he said Monday. “Every team has a lot of talent. It’s about how can we play as a team, stay together, everybody pulling the same way instead of each guy trying to do their thing. That was the only thing I saw lack towards the end of last year.”

Andrus played for Tony La Russa and then-bench coach Miguel Cairo, who took over for La Russa down the stretch, and now he’ll play for first-year manager Pedro Grifol.

“We addressed it already,” Andrus said. “Pedro, he’s an amazing manager, he’s a really smart coach, and he’ll find a way to get us there and as soon as we all stay together, the talent will take over. And there is a lot of talent on this team.”

Andrus speaks in a voice that Grifol and general manager Rick Hahn welcome. Hahn cited Andrus’ impact in the clubhouse as a big reason he was wanted back.

“He is a tremendous role model for our young players,” Hahn said. “His work ethic, his professionalism, the way he plays the game are all great benefits to that club.”

Anderson, who was on the injured list when Andrus was manning his position, said he is looking forward to learning from Andrus.

“Definitely a guy that you want to be around,” said Anderson, who is getting acclimated to being near Andrus in the middle of the infield. “I’m definitely going to soak up as much as I can with him.”

‘The narrative’

Gavin Sheets said motivation exists about changing a “narrative” surrounding the Sox, perhaps a reference to a team viewed as underachievers and one fans became increasingly sour on this offseason for numerous reasons.

“We know the narrative out there right now. ... We’ve seen the negativity.” Sheets said. “As much as we try to push it away, we see Twitter, we see all that stuff. It’s exciting for us to get out here and prove some people wrong.”

What now for Romy?

Romy Gonzalez, the odd man out after Andrus’ signing, will play multiple infield positions and work in the corner outfield positions to expand his versatility, Hahn said. Gonzalez will compete for one of the last spots on the Opening Day roster.

“I’ve been telling him all along even prior to Elvis that there’s a good opportunity that he becomes a Swiss Army Knife,” Grifol said.

The message

Part of Grifol’s message on the first full-squad workout day was that a season can’t be won during spring training, but it can be lost.

“It’s pretty self-explanatory,” first baseman Andrew Vaughn said. “If we don’t show up and do the work and do the right things every single day, it’s going to hold us back.”

Sousa DFA’d

Left-hander Bennett Sousa was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Andrus.

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