Sox honor groundbreaking legend on Jackie Robinson Day

‘‘This is his day for what he did for the game,’’ Sox manager Pedro Grifol said

SHARE Sox honor groundbreaking legend on Jackie Robinson Day
Eloy Jimenez and Jake Burger

Chicago White Sox’s Jake Burger, right, celebrates with teammate Eloy Jimenez, left, after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Saturday, April 15, 2023, in Chicago. Chicago won 7-6 in 10 innings.

Paul Beaty/AP

White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal’s chest protector featured three photographs of Jackie Robinson, along with Robinson’s No. 42 inscribed on it.

That backed up manager Pedro Grifol’s emphasis on the significance of Jackie Robinson Day to his players.

‘‘It’s a really meaningful day for me, as it is for a lot of players around the league and baseball in general,’’ Grifol said Saturday of honoring Robinson, who broke MLB’s color barrier in 1947. ‘‘He put this game where it is today. With the diversity that this game has, that was on him, and that’s what he did for this game. And it’s an honor to wear his number, his uniform.

‘‘I’m unbelievably happy that no one can wear that number unless it’s [on Jackie Robinson Day]. This is his day for what he did for the game, and there are a lot of us here today because of that. So I can’t thank him enough.’’

In addition to every person in uniform wearing No. 42, staff members from both teams wore black T-shirts with the words ‘‘Breaking Barriers’’ and the No. 42 inscribed on the front.

Never Cease to improve

Opponents have tried one steal in three starts against Sox ace Dylan Cease, and he has cut his walk total from five to two in his last two starts.

‘‘Ideally, it’s just being efficient and getting as deep as possible,’’ said Cease, who will face an Orioles team Sunday that has been successful on 23 of its 26 steal attempts. ‘‘But if it’s one of those games where I have to struggle through five but don’t give up any [runs], then I at least gave us a chance. But it’s not ideal.’’

No room for hits

Andrew Benintendi’s diving catch near the left-field corner Friday gave Grifol and his staff more validation to protect the left- and right-field lines more aggressively, especially with a healthy and rangy Luis Robert Jr. in center.

‘‘We can do some different things with the corner guys, even though we really don’t have to,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘And we do at times, especially late in games.’’

Benintendi’s catch was just an example of his talents, according to Grifol, who watched him with the Royals for 1½ seasons before he was dealt to the Yankees last summer.

‘‘When [the Sox’ front office] asked me about him, he had 100% standard of proof from me,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘Because the more you watch him, the more you realize what a good baseball player he is, what he does for a team.’’

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