Sox notebook: Fields can hit -- and strike out
He’s been on the team for just over half the season, but Josh Fields already has proven himself as one of the White Sox’s best hitters.
Fields is fourth in homers (18) and RBI (54) and tied for fifth with 14 go-ahead RBI and four game-winning RBI.
Of course, with the good comes the bad.
The bad in this case is he’s already second on the Sox with 104 strikeouts -- roughly one every three at-bats.
“We’re still at a stage where we’re watching, trying to let him be Josh Fields, but there’s definitely room for improvement there,” hitting coach Greg Walker said. “And, whether it be with a two-strike approach or whether it be with mechanics to not get him (swinging) so uphill, they’re minor changes.
“I always think he’s going to be a high strikeout guy, but I think there’s definitely room for improvement.”
Fields was a middle-of-the-order hitter -- where strikeouts don’t matter as much - coming up through the minors. Now he’s batting second, and though his strikeout totals are high, it’s magnified by hitting in a spot that usually calls for contact.
“I guess in the back of my mind you still worry about the power numbers and stuff like that,” Fields said. “But I guess if you’re hitting in the two-hole, they don’t really worry about your power numbers too much.
“Guys who have been in the big leagues for a long time, when they get two strikes, they still feel like they have a chance. I’m young. When I get two strikes I’m like, ‘Man, hopefully we can do something positive here.’ But it comes with getting more at-bats and being up here.”
The way he and fellow rookie Jerry Owens are playing, there may be plenty more at-bats coming.
“They've had an opportunity to show their wares and both have played well in my opinion,” general manager Ken Williams said. “They both have a lot to learn and certainly their ceilings are higher.”
One thing the Sox would like Fields to learn is how to make more contact, but they’re not harping on that now.
“Right now, we’re not on him every day, getting on him about striking out,” Walker said. “I think (that would be) the wrong approach. We think it’s going to be a gradual process where he cuts down.”
Skipping a beat
Jermaine Dye (strained left groin) said he was feeling better and manager Ozzie Guillen hopes to have Dye in the lineup today.
Jim Thome, who did not start because of general soreness, had a pinch-hit single in the eighth Thursday and should start today, according to Guillen.
Keep the ball
Donny Lucy recorded his first major league hit on Wednesday, a fifth-inning single off Detroit starter Kenny Rogers.
“He’s a phenomenal pitcher,” Lucy said. “He made a pretty good pitch and I was just able to float it over the shortstop’s head.”