(CBS) The White Sox are in first place in the American League Central, a surprise to most outside their clubhouse.
The organization is in the first year of a rebuild and wasn’t expected to be a first-place club. But at 14-11 entering Tuesday, the White Sox have exceeded expectations early on.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn spoke of the fast start with the Mully & Hanley Show on Wednesday morning.
“If you look at it from where we sit in the standings, I think we’re certainly exceeding what most people had in terms of their expectations for the wins and losses,” Hahn said. “That said, I can’t say enough about the job that Ricky Renteria and the coaches have done since the start of spring training — setting the right tone, creating high expectations for this club and holding the players accountable for what they’re doing; before the game and between the lines. When you have that solid of a process in place, you shouldn’t be that surprised when the results are positive.
“But we have made it clear throughout this spring and headed into the season that a lot of what we’re hoping to accomplish at the big league level is creating those type of processes, so that when the talent level is at the level where this team has reasonable expectations of this team winning a championship, that they’re included in an environment that’s been established for a number of years. So we’re definitely happy with where things sit, especially well beyond the wins and losses right now.”
A major part of the White Sox’s early success has been the surprising surge of Avisail Garcia, the 25-year-old outfielder who has struggled for much of his career. Garcia has made changes to his game and seen improvements in the results.
With the White Sox in first place, the question naturally arises — would this rebuilding team considering buying at the deadline?
“Look, I love the focus of the club,” Hahn began. “I love the excitement that the performance is creating. I love the way that everyone in that coaches room, from Ricky (Renteria) on down through every player one through 25 and all the support staff, has a singular focus every day, and that’s to win that baseball game. That’s absolutely what their focus needs to be on, and I’m looking forward to that continuing throughout the summer.
“Our focus in the front office, as we’ve talked about from the start, is on creating something that is sustainable for the long term, that puts us in position to contend for multiple championships. That hasn’t changed, and it’s not going to change.
“If this team exceeds expectations of people outside the organization or outside the clubhouse and puts itself in a position to contend, that’s fantastic. But our focus in terms of creating something beyond just something that’s going to win in 2017 isn’t going to change.”
The White Sox retake the field Wednesday night for the third of a four-game series with the Royals in Kansas City.