Jose Abreu drills an RBI double to left-center field to put the White Sox on the board in the top of the 4th inning
More importantly, will the rebuilding White Sox hold steady as a .500 team? In a philosophy instilled by manager Rick Renteria and his staff during Spring Training, it's more of a focus upon Friday's series opener at home against the Indians than anything else.
"Everybody came into the season not thinking about the restructure or the changes going on," Renteria said. "Everybody prepared to play the game of baseball.
"I don't think even at this moment that anyone is thinking about what might happen or what might not happen. They take it one day at a time and try to help each other out. They prepared very well with energy and focus this spring, and they are just carrying it over into the season."
Renteria referred to these first 14 games, of which the White Sox have won half, as a "short snippet" in "a long season." In that short snippet, Garcia looks like a changed hitter. Not just by results, but by approach and the manner in which he's tracking pitches at the plate.
Kahnle fans Ellsbury CWS@NY: Kahnle whiffs Ellbury to strikeout the sideTommy Kahnle fans Jacoby Ellsbury to strike out the side in the bottom of the 7th inning
The bullpen features a Major League-best 1.41 ERA with 54 strikeouts over 44 2/3 innings. The team has been competitive without getting much from standouts such as Jose Quintana, Todd Frazier, Tim Anderson and Abreu, although Abreu ended a 0-for-19 funk against Masahiro Tanaka.
This group doesn't look like a typical rebuild, maybe because this team doesn't worry about such things beyond its control.
Abreu's RBI double CWS@NYY: Abreu drives an RBI double to left-centerJose Abreu drills an RBI double to left-center field to put the White Sox on the board in the top of the 4th inning
"We can't control what people say outside the team," said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "But what we can control is what we think and what we're trying to do every day. That's to play hard and to win some games.
"That's the mentality that Ricky and I think everybody here has right now. Just to come here and play some games and try to do the best we can and see what is the outcome."
General manager Rick Hahn has been here before and even deeper into the season. He watched the 2016 team race to a 23-10 start, take a commanding American League Central lead and then lose 26 of its next 36. This small sample size certainly has not changed the plan, and even if the team continues to tune out the rebuilding noise, the plan remains the same.
"Look, we're committed to having a long-term view of what we're trying to accomplish here," Hahn said Tuesday. "If for whatever reason various unexpected opportunities present themselves over the course of the summer, we'll respond accordingly. Right now we remain focused on building sustainability for the long term."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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