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Manager Pedro Grifol is building bonds with players as the Chicago White Sox continue building their roster – Boston Herald


Pedro Grifol estimated he last attended the winter meetings in 2011.

More than a decade later, he’s back in a new role as a major-league manager.

“It’s a little different,” Grifol said Tuesday at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. “I’m excited to see everybody. The welcome has been really good, the feedback has been really good. I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Grifol continues to build bonds with players after being introduced as the Chicago White Sox manager more than a month ago.

“He’s already spent several hours face to face with several of our players,” general manager Rick Hahn said Monday. “He’s already built some relationships with them from the past few weeks. It’s only going to get stronger over the next several months.

“We had a lot go the wrong way last year, and that’s not on any one individual or the coaching staff’s doorstep by any stretch. One of the areas we think we’ve got an opportunity to be better is by having a fresh group in there and fresh perspectives. We think that’s going to serve us well over the long term.”

Grifol said the conversations have centered on the future.

“We really didn’t get into 2022,” he said. “We just talked about what we need to do in 2023. A high-energy spring training. It’s going to be quality work, not quantity work. Get them in, get them out, work hard. Speed up the game a little bit. Speed up the practices a little bit.

“And that’s what we’re going to focus on. We’re in the process of putting that together as a staff.”

At the same time, the Sox continue to put together their roster.

“It’s a work in progress right now,” Grifol said. “We lost (first baseman José) Abreu obviously (to the Houston Astros), and we’re trying to put a roster together that we feel is going to be able to compete in the (American League) Central.

“(Starter Mike) Clevinger was a really good pick for us. It rounds up our rotation. Needs, per se, I think there’s versatility in this club, but we’re in the process of going through that. We want a fast-paced, athletic club. So when it comes to specific needs, I don’t think there’s one. We’re looking at just building a better roster.”

Grifol is willing to contribute any way he can when it comes to potential moves.

“I just answer questions when (front-office officials) ask me,” he said. “It’s a different eye, different look from the outside coming in.

“I’m the manager. We’ve got a really good front office that knows what they’re doing and knows how to assemble clubs. I’m completely confident that, when it comes time, we’ll have a nice roster to work with.”

Grifol doesn’t look at the upcoming World Baseball Classic as a hurdle for a manager during his first spring training with a team.

“The reason I say that is because I’ve coordinated camps before during the WBC,” Grifol said. “Most of the players that go to the WBC are everyday players. Those guys are going to get ready, and they’re going to go play really good baseball.

“You’re giving other guys an opportunity to showcase themselves in spring training, and you never know, somebody might make a team or impress to a point where, (if) something happens during the year, we have a really good idea of what this particular player can do in the big leagues. So it’s really next man up while we watch those guys compete for something they love.”

Sox shortstop Tim Anderson previously was announced as a member of Team USA. Center fielder Luis Robert and third baseman Yoán Moncada might play for Cuba.

Grifol sees potential benefits for players participating in the event.

“They’ve got to be ready to go,” he said. “You’re talking beginning, middle of March. That’s the big stage. They’re playing for something that happens every four years. This will be the first time, if it does happen, that (Robert and Moncada) can go back and play for Team Cuba.

“They’re not taking that lightly. Their preparation right now is geared to, ‘I’ve got to be ready to go come beginning of March.’ They’ll just carry that right on to the beginning of the season for us.”



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