Elvis Andrus’ first second-base experience for White Sox was ‘completely weird’

Andrus will need more time to get comfortable at his new position.

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White Sox second baseman Elvis Andrus, left, reaches for the baseball before tagging out the Mariners’ Jarred Kelenic.

White Sox second baseman Elvis Andrus, left, reaches for the baseball before tagging out the Mariners’ Jarred Kelenic.

Ross D. Franklin/AP

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Elvis Andrus’ first game experience at second base Monday for the White Sox caught him off guard. It felt very odd, he admitted.

“It was completely weird,” Andrus said after playing four innings in his first Cactus League game of the year. “The weirdest game I’ve played in a while. Even between innings I was like, ‘What am I doing here?’ But I’ll get used to it, for sure.”

That’s going to happen when you’ve played no other position besides shortstop over 14 seasons in the majors.

Signed to a one-year, $3 million deal last Monday, Andrus returned to the White Sox when he wasn’t offered a job as a starting shortstop. The Sox are glad to have him back.

Andrus wanted grounders hit to him but made two plays, a diving stop on a soft liner to his left and a tag for an out on a close play. The different angles on a different side of the field and double plays — especially on grounders to his glove side — are the biggest adjustments.

“I want to make it comfortable for me,” he said. “So far, so good. Hopefully I can get a lot of ground balls the next game. It’s a process.”

Andrus, batting ninth, tripled off the center-field wall and walked in two plate appearances.

No closer

Manager Pedro Grifol has been saying he plans to mix and match in the ninth inning without having Liam Hendriks, a point he made especially clear Monday. Grifol will not have a set closer identified Opening Day (March 30) in Houston.

“Absolutely not,” Grifol said. “That’s not how we are going to run it, unless Hendriks is back.”

Relievers like knowing their roles, but they will know what’s expected without having a set ninth-inning guy.

“They are going to know that,” Grifol said. “They are going to know pockets. They are going to know which part of the game they might be in. Obviously, games change. The game changes things.”

Lopez sharp

Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who figures to be in the high-leverage mix, needed 12 pitches to get through a scoreless third. Lopez is pleased with the command of his full arsenal early in camp.

“Everything is working right now,” he said.

“Oh, he looks great,” Grifol said before Lopez pitched. “He’s in really good shape. His arm feels great. He’s had really good live BPs; the ball is coming out of his hand really well.”

The Sox’ top starter in 2018, Lopez now embraces relief work.

“My mindset is the same as last year: be focused and ready for the call,” he said. “Seventh, sixth, eighth or ninth [inning].”

Upcoming starters

Davis Martin gets a start Wednesday, followed by Lance Lynn in his second start Thursday and Dylan Cease in his first one Friday. Mike Clevinger and Lucas Giolito are scheduled for two innings each of live batting practice Tuesday.

“I don’t mind seeing them in live BPs,” Grifol said. “They get good work. We get to try some things.”

Martin could be the fifth starter should Clevinger, who’s under investigation by Major League Baseball for domestic-abuse allegations, not be available.

Sox 10, Mariners 1

*First-year manager Grifol, playing all of his regular position players, watched his team’s cleanest game after two sloppy ones and enjoyed his first handshake line in a Sox uniform.

*Jake Burger homered for the second time in three games, a deep blast to center against lefty Nick Margevicius. Burger’s homer Saturday was also tape-measure-caliber.

*Sean Burke, the Sox’ top pitching prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and a potential fifth- or sixth-starter option, capped two scoreless innings by getting a called third strike past former Sox player AJ Pollock.

*On deck: Sox at Diamondbacks, 2:10 p.m. Tuesday, Scottsdale, Jonathan Stiever vs. Zach Davies.

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