A somewhat slow start for Nick Madrigal through the first 10 games of the 2021 season (7-for-32 with one extra-base hit) didn’t deter the talented White Sox second baseman.
Madrigal, 24, entered Tuesday’s series opener against the Indians at Progressive Field riding a five-game hitting streak and on a 12-for-35 run over his previous 11 games, with two doubles, a triple and three RBIs.
“I’m feeling good,” Madrigal said during a Zoom call. “The first couple of weeks, I was kind of not feeling my best. I was missing pitches I should have hit. But lately, I’m starting to see the ball a lot better. I’m feeling a lot better in the box.
“I understand it’s a really long year and I’m going to have more at-bats than I’ve had in my entire life. It would be nice to get off to a strong start, especially the first couple of games, but you can’t fold when you have some 0-fer games to start.”
Madrigal’s left shoulder, surgically repaired in October after a 2020 in-season separation, feels strong, although it’s a little bit sore, he said. So it’s all about staying on top of the issue, as Madrigal feels more comfortable with each game.
“I feel like I’m starting to get a good feel for the relievers and the starters and even off the field, the game-planning going into the game,” Madrigal said. “I’m starting to get into a good routine and scouting reports and everything. I’m feeling a lot better especially compared to last year. I’m picking up things as I go. I’m feeling really comfortable at this point.”
Eaton adjusting his swing
Right fielder Adam Eaton came into Cleveland tied for fourth in the American League with 14 RBIs, to go with three home runs and three doubles. It’s been about the veteran cleaning up his swing as he gets older.
“I’m 32, not 22 anymore. Just trying to be more efficient,” Eaton said. “Everyone throws 98 [mph] now, and when I came in everybody threw 88 to 92 with three or four pitches. The game has evolved and I’m kind of late to evolve to what they’re doing. I’m trying to chase the feeling of how I felt when I was younger but realizing that feeling is no longer going to happen.
“I have to adjust my body to that situation. Almost have to create a new feeling. [Hitting coach] Frank [Menechino] has been patient with me, done extremely well in the cage working with me to try and iron that feeling I’m trying to have. It’s kind of hit or miss early in the game, kind of a new structure that will hopefully come out more in the game.”
Despite the solid start, Eaton honestly doesn’t feel that consistent.
“The results are there, but you don’t want to rely on results without having the feeling,” Eaton said. “Getting away with the inconsistency can be a disaster. I want the consistency and the feeling I can compete in that box every night.”
• José Abreu moved to designated hitter for Tuesday’s series opener, with Yermín Mercedes getting his first Major League start at first base. Mercedes now has 15 appearance at DH, one as a pitcher on Monday in Boston and one at first base.
• The White Sox purchased the contract of right-hander Alex McRae from their alternate training site in Schaumburg, Ill., and optioned righty Zack Burdi to Schaumburg. McRae, 28, made two relief appearances with the White Sox in 2020, allowing just one hit with no walks and two strikeouts over three innings.
• Lance Lynn, who was placed on the 10-day injured list on Sunday (retroactive to Saturday) with a strained right trapezius, received good reviews health-wise from manager Tony La Russa on Tuesday.
“We fully expect that by the time the 10 days are up, he’ll take the ball one of the first two days there,” La Russa said. “All signs are good with him sooner rather than later.”
“I noticed a difference with him and the way he was looking in Spring Training. All his stuff had a lot more life on it this year. He’s in great shape. I saw how much work he put in in the little time we were there in Spring Training, the weight room and all the things he did. So I was looking forward to playing with him all year long.”– Madrigal, on Carlos Rodón, Tuesday’s starter, after throwing a no-hitter vs. Cleveland