Oscar Colás arrives at White Sox Minor League Camp

For now, fellow Cubans have the same goal of simply reaching the major leagues. Colás, 23, arrived at Minor League spring training on Sunday after agreeing to terms with the White Sox on a $2.7 million contract as a top international prospect. He started with a pragmatic approach to getting to Chicago.

“My goal is to play in the Majors; everyone knows that,” Colás said through interpreter Billy Russo during a Monday zoom. “But to do that, I have to take care of the things that I can take care of. And it’s just working hard and doing the things that I know I can do.

“I can’t get too excited or too overwhelmed, thinking, ‘Oh, I need to be in the Majors; I want to be in the Majors. The decision will be made by the people who make these kinds of decisions. »

After a full day of work, Colás certainly seems in control. The left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder, once known as Cuban Ohtani because he also threw, enjoyed the normal structure of spring training and simply played ball or made swings alongside his teammates.

It’s understandable that Colás enjoys a basic daily routine, as he hasn’t played organized baseball since 2019, having worked professionally in Japan and Cuba. He had trained in the Dominican Republic in controlled games before signing and went to the Dominican White Sox Academy after signing, but this current job has greater representation.

“Today was the start of my professional career as a baseball player,” Colás said. “It was kind of like a dream come true. Now it’s up to me to perform and do what I really know I can do, be able to achieve my dream.

Colás mentioned possible starting points in 2022 of High-A Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, with the first two stops being more realistic due to Colás’ extended break. But the White Sox understand his raw talent that they can tap into and develop.

“The most important thing, and we all know that, is not to expect him to come out tomorrow and be at his best,” White Sox special assistant Marco Paddy said. to the General Manager, International Operations, after Colás signed off. “How you handle the player has a lot to do with how he progresses and how far he progresses through our system. Our guys are prepared for that. It’s not the first time. It’s no different of a guy coming back from an injury.

“They’ve been there, they’ve done this. They saw it. They’ve already handled it. I have no concerns that they’re going to manage it in such a way that they give it some freedom to do certain things, and then when they have to hold it back, they’ll hold it back. It’s a kind of controlled development they’re going to do with it, but I have no concerns about that.

Paddy couldn’t or wouldn’t identify Colás’ exact arrival in the Major League before he made his debut in spring training. But he quickly added that Colás was already there mentally.

“He wants to be there,” Paddy said. “He’s going to do whatever it takes to put himself in a position where he prepares to progress through our system.”

Tony La Russa showed up at Colás on Sunday, and while it was just the start for the young outfielder, the White Sox manager delivered the same message his American League Central champions received in 2021: play hard and don’t feel too comfortable. After a day of training at Camelback Ranch, Colás certainly felt at home.

“It’s a beautiful complex. I was impressed as soon as I parked my car in the parking lot,” Colás said. “I said, ‘Wow, that’s great.’ “And everyone welcomed me with open arms. It was really a very nice experience. Everything is beautiful here. I felt really good today with the boys.

“Just the competition between us and just being able to challenge each other. That was something I missed. I felt really good today with it. The atmosphere was good. It was good.”

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