GLENDALE, Ariz. — He has had a pretty solid spring, but Conor Gillaspie has done his best to pay no attention.
Not only does the White Sox third baseman know his spring stats will have little relevance in a week’s time. But he also has spent the last 4 1/ 2 weeks practicing what he hopes to carry over into the regular season about his results — a couldn’t-care-less attitude.
Gillaspie said early in camp he needs to be less preoccupied with how he performs this season if he wants to continue his career. A rookie last season, Gillaspie said he picked himself apart so much it caused him to lose weight and sleep.
“I was so obsessed with the game itself and doing well in the game and worrying about a lot of things I don’t have a lot of control over,” Gillaspie said. “I suffered a little last year mentally. I drained myself physically. I lost 10-plus pounds during the year. It was just exhausting. I decided coming into the year I wasn’t going to be like that any more. I’m really trying to focus on the things I can control — what time you get to the park, what you do to prepare — and then after I’m just going to accept it, I’m over it.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura has noticed a difference. Gillaspie is still an intense character. There’s no changing that. But Ventura thinks players learn how to handle themselves better with time and he can see Gillaspie’s adjustment.
Gillaspie credits it to talks with Gordon Beckham and watching how Paul Konerko, Alex Rios and Adam Dunn have handled past failures.
“He was in a better spot right when he arrived,” Ventura said. “That’s going through a full year, establishing yourself and trying to establish yourself. Then, just gaining that confidence of what it takes on a day in and day out basis and he’s done it.”
Gillaspie entered Thursday with eight extra-base hits in 45 at-bats and a .298/.327/.596 slash line, three home runs and five RBIs. He thinks he has improved in letting go of a bad at-bat and worrying about the next one within the context of a game. He knows a new attitude might make all the difference in how long he’s a pro baseball player.
“It just killed me last year,” Gillaspie said. “It’s not the end of the world. I can still deal with that. But I’m not sure how long I could play like that.”