Conor Gillaspie believes he’s not the same kid he was when he was with the San Francisco Giants.
Playing against his old team for the first time, the White Sox third baseman thinks a change of scenery — and having a family — has helped his playing career. A supplemental first-round pick of the Giants in 2008, Gillaspie was traded to the White Sox in February 2013. He went 2-for-4 with a run in an 8-2 win over San Francisco on Tuesday night to raise his average to .333.
“I just had some growing up to do and once I realized that — regardless what happens with my season or the rest of my career — I’ve kind of gotten to the point where I’m just OK with everything now,” Gillaspie said. “When you’re here 180 days a year plus spring training, it is important to have something else to do and something else to think about and something to invest your time in. That’s probably the biggest difference.”
Gillaspie understands why things didn’t work out in San Francisco.
He doesn’t believe he ever played well enough to take playing time away from Pablo Sandoval even though he thinks he had the opportunity. Gillaspie accrued 48 plate appearances over three seasons with the Giants. Even though things didn’t work out, Gillaspie still looks at his time with the Giants in a positive manner.
“It’s not like I’m sitting here like ‘Why did you get rid of me?’” Gillaspie said. “I didn’t perform up to standards when I was there and I’m OK with that. Everything happens for a reason. There’s a plan for everybody’s life. Truthfully, I wasn’t good enough to beat out Sandoval. He’s an unbelievable player. The reality is they treated me so well and they gave me so many opportunities and they gave me a chance to play somewhere else and for that I’m thankful. It’s just another game during the season and you always try to do your best no matter whom you’re facing.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said it's clear Gillaspie has matured in his one-plus seasons with the White Sox.
“He’s just more confident,” Ventura said. “He understands what he needs to do. I think the biggest adjustment has been the hitting.
“He had that confidence and understanding after going through a full year of what it takes. He’s been great.”
Rumors won’t affect team
Ventura doesn’t believe rampant trade rumors hurt the White Sox in 2013.
“We were just bad,” he said.
Similarly, he doesn’t think the White Sox are playing with pressure that a rough stretch could have them in the same position — with other teams scouring their roster for potential players to acquire. The White Sox head out on an 11-day, 11-game road trip on Thursday.
“We’re just going to play,” Ventura said. “We don’t sit there and think just because we’re going on the road for an extra four days it’s going to be any different. Every game is important. When’s the exact day that everything starts flying. You hear rumors, I don’t know. We’re just going to continue to play.”