White Sox manager Pedro Grifol keeps lines of communication open

Grifol has been holding team meetings every seven to 10 days since spring training started nearly two months ago,

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White Sox manager Pedro Grifol fist bumps his players during pregame introductions.

White Sox manager Pedro Grifol fist bumps his players during pregame introductions.

Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Talk hasn’t been cheap since Pedro Grifol took over as the White Sox’ manager in November.

Grifol’s team meetings, held every seven to 10 days since spring training started nearly two months ago, are part of a genuine emphasis on communication that stresses current themes, points of emphasis and becoming more familiar with a roster that was beset by a rash of injuries and the thick cloud of malaise that hovered over Guaranteed Rate Field last summer.

It also hasn’t hurt that Grifol, who spent the previous 10 seasons as a Royals coach, had the benefit of a normal offseason to build a coaching staff, become involved in new training and teaching blueprints and stay current with the health and needs of his players.

‘‘That was critical, just to know these guys and build relationships,’’ Grifol said of the opportunity to communicate with his players and monitor their health and work — perks that weren’t afforded to managers and coaches during the 2021-22 lockout that prevented any team employees from talking with players and delayed spring training by a month.

Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert Jr., who were limited to a combined 186 starts last season because of injuries, appear to have benefitted from the medical staff being allowed to monitor their offseason work.

‘‘We seem to be reaping the benefits of that,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said. ‘‘At some point over the course of the season, somebody is going to pull a hamstring. It’s going to happen.

‘‘However, the work that our performance group has done — again, the communication, the investment we’ve made in human capital and technology — has helped put guys in a position to maximize their performance.

‘‘We have another seven months ahead of us, so I’m not going to quite do a victory lap.’’

Nevertheless, there was nothing anywhere close to what happened in spring training of 2022, when newly signed reliever Joe Kelly was relegated to rehabbing an injury to his right biceps.

Thanks to chats with his relievers, Grifol has learned to shift gears early. Reliever Kendall Graveman pitched in three of the first four games, but Grifol resisted any temptation to use him Monday with the knowledge that the Sox’ day off Tuesday would give him extra rest.

‘‘We’ve asked some of these guys to do some things that they haven’t done in a while, and they did it,’’ Grifol said.

Left fielder Andrew Benintendi didn’t agree to terms with the Sox until shortly before the holiday season, but he received text messages from staff members and new teammates. Benintendi previously played for the Royals when Grifol served as a coach with them, so there was no need to pester him with inquiries.

Still, Hahn has marveled at the reciprocation displayed by Moncada, who sent his videos to hitting coaches Jose Castro and Mike Tosar from Taiwan while playing for Cuba last month in the World Baseball Classic.

‘‘There’s that kind of camaraderie, union, whatever you want to call it,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘The players know these coaches are there fighting for them, and they’re going to speak the truth to them and manage their expectations accordingly.’’

The Sox have been known in baseball circles as being too content and stagnant with their staffing and methods. But they appear to be changing that image with the hiring of Grifol, his consistent messages to players and his stimulating teachings.

‘‘Not that past administrations were necessarily doing it wrong, but changing it up helps reinvigorate some of the guys who were held over from the last player group,’’ Hahn said.

The regular season presents its own set of challenges, and Grifol knows he and his staff will need to monitor and adjust if players operate on a frequency different than they did in spring training.

‘‘I’m trying to expedite the process as much as I can,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘That’s why I communicate so much. I’m constantly talking to every single one of them. Because the faster we do this thing and get comfortable with each other, the less interference we’ll have.’’

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