Paul DeJong is connecting with his new teammates


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Chicago White Sox avoided the wrong side of a spring training no-hitter with two late singles in a 5-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday at Salt River Fields.

Bryan Ramos hit a sharp grounder to third and reached base on what was initially ruled a fielding error in the eighth inning. That call was later switched to a hit. Oscar Colás singled to left in the ninth.

It was the second notable hit this spring for Colás, who beat out a grounder for an infield hit in Friday’s Cactus League opener against the Cubs. With spring training games underway, here are three takeaways.

1. Paul DeJong was praised for his consistency.

Paul DeJong looked at Friday’s Cactus League opener as a good way to shake the cobwebs off.

“Just have a full workload day, getting our bodies accustomed to the schedule is super important and (Friday) was step one,” DeJong told the Tribune on Saturday.

The shortstop — who signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal in November — took several positives away from his first spring training game with the Sox.

Photos: Inside White Sox spring training

“I thought we played great defense, that was a positive sign,” DeJong said. “On the offensive side, get my fastball timing and direction going and hit one to the right side, that was a good sign for me. Just going to take it day by day and do what I can.”

DeJong grounded out to third and second in his two at-bats Friday against the Cubs at Sloan Park. He went 0-for-1 with a walk Sunday against the Diamondbacks.

Before Sunday’s game, manager Pedro Grifol said DeJong brings “consistency” to the Sox.

“Smart, smart guy on and off the field,” Grifol said. “Worker. Professional. There’s so many things I can use to describe Paul DeJong. Championship player. Great teammate. I could go on and on and on. I haven’t seen anything on that negative column and I don’t think I’m going to as far as his makeup and character.”

A Gold Glove Award finalist in 2019, DeJong is expected to aid the team defensively. He saw some of the benefits of the spring defensive reps around the diamond in Friday’s game.

“Taking reps together helps a lot,” he said. “And knowing where each other is before the pitch so when a situation like (Friday’s second inning) when I’m playing over and (Alexander Canario) hits a ball up the middle and we have a force out at second I can just slide to the bag and (second baseman Nicky Lopez) can just toss me the ball. Also (Rafael) Ortega in left field, kind of a sun ball for me that I saw eventually, but he was aggressive enough to call it off. And Ramos making some nice plays (at third base) and (first baseman Andrew Vaughn) digging some balls out of the dirt. I was happy to see our defense.”

DeJong, who played at Antioch and Illinois State, has also been happy to connect with his new teammates.

“The clubhouse has been great,” he said. “The vibes have been awesome. Had a lot of great workouts and even off-the-field stuff has been great, too, meeting up and getting to know each other because it’s a long haul and we have to build that trust with each other every day.

“It was super exciting to go to Chicago for the fan fest (in February) and get to see some of the Illinois State and Antioch people. Going home for our first game is going to be the real opening ceremony.”

2. Martín Maldonado holds himself accountable.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 21: Martin Maldonado #15 of the Chicago White Sox catches a bullpen session during a spring training workout at Camelback Ranch on February 21, 2024 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG, CM - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD **
Martín Maldonado of the Chicago White Sox catches a bullpen session during a spring training workout at Camelback Ranch on Feb. 21, 2024, in Glendale, Ariz. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Catcher Martín Maldonado hit a slow grounder near the mound in the second inning of Friday’s game. The ball got past pitcher Jordan Wicks. He still had time for a second chance to get Maldonado at first, but the ball slipped out of his hand.

Maldonado made a point to later address the team about his running on the play.

“I think it’s important just to make sure that we’re on the same page as a team,” Maldonado said Sunday. “We have some goals to accomplish. I didn’t come out of the box the way I should have come out of the box. I want to lead by example.”

Grifol thought Maldonado’s move of bringing it up to the team was a good thing.

“I feel like as a team or as a person we should have exactly the same mentality,” Maldonado said. “If I want to get somebody accountable on their own I have to be accountable to myself first.”

3. Prospect Jonathan Cannon continues working on his sinker.

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