SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Connor Gillaspie hasn’t wasted any time in making a good impression with the White Sox. The third baseman went 2-for-3 with a triple and drove in four runs in a 14-8 White Sox victory over the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium.
Gillaspie, who was acquired in a trade from the San Francisco Giants on Friday, inside-outed a singled past third base in his second at-bat and pulled a triple into the right field corner his next time at the plate. He also flew out to deep right field in a second-inning at-bat against Texas starter Yu Darvish.
“The ball I hit to left was kind of lucky honestly,” Gillaspie said. “The more you can put the barrel on the ball, regardless of whether you get hits, that’s what you have to shoot for the first few weeks of spring training because it’s pretty tough to even hit the ball at this point.”
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White Sox manager Robin Ventura has plans to get Gillaspie as many plate appearances as possible because he didn’t get many in camp with the Giants. Ventura said he likes how his team now has a solid competition on its hands between Gillapsie and Brent Morel, who are vying for a spot to back up free-agent signee Jeff Keppinger.
“It’s catching him back up,” Ventura said. “It’s a good short swing. He’s got a little pop too. … I think the perception before was that we didn’t really have anybody for that spot. But I’m pleased with what we got going right now with that and how they compete for it.”
Molina starts strong
Minor-leaguer Nestor Molina said the elbow/forearm pain he experienced last season is gone and he can get back to throwing strikes.
The team’s second rated prospect in 2012, according to Baseball America, Molina showed how good he feels when he retired five of the six batters he faced in two scoreless innings. Molina allowed a single to Elvis Andrus, who was later caught stealing.
Molina -- who went 6-11 in the minors in 2012 -- said he was hurt by a combination of his own expectations and the injury, which had him on the disabled list for all but three days from June 25 to July 30.
“I put a little bit of pressure on myself and for the first time in my career I was injured,” Molina said through a translator. “I was trying to do a little bit too much. But this year I’ve changed that mentality. I’m just coming to get outs and let the rest take care of itself.”
Give me a break
The White Sox face another tough starting pitcher when they face the Rangers’ Alexi Ogando at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday. Through their first four games, the White Sox have faced two Cy Young Award winners in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, Madison Bumgarner (Giants) and Darvish.
“Greinke was letting it go pretty good the other day,” White Sox center fielder Dewayne Wise said. “And Darvish was today. He was game ready.”
-- Catcher Hector Gimenez made a perfect throw for a caught stealing of Andrus in the first inning. Gimenez also went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a walk.
-- Second baseman Gordon Beckham walked, singled and drove in a run in three at-bats. He also told Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski he looks good in blue.
-- The White Sox have scored 34 runs in their first four exhibition games and are 2-0-2.
-- Right-handed pitcher Brian Omogrosso limited the Rangers to two hits in two scoreless innings.