Gillaspie embraces competition with new team

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In Conor Gillaspie's first day with the White Sox, he just might have faced the toughest pitcher he'll go against in Cactus League competition.

That opponent didn't work for the Dodgers, with Gillaspie getting in at third base for the bottom of the seventh of the White Sox 9-0 victory. Instead, the left-handed hitter got to swing against southpaw Chris Sale during live batting practice for the White Sox ace at Camelback Ranch.

"It was different. He is a good pitcher," said a smiling Gillaspie of the Sale matchup. "But anything can help, and I can get all the experience. Meeting these guys and facing these guys is good."

Gillaspie, 25, was acquired by the White Sox from the Giants on Friday in exchange for hard-throwing Minor League reliever Jeff Soptic. Gillaspie immediately moves into the third-base mix along with Jeff Keppinger and Brent Morel, although general manager Rick Hahn described Gillaspie as more of a left-handed-hitting complement to Keppinger.

That battle will play out during Spring Training, with Morel starting, hitting second and finishing 1-for-2 Saturday. Morel needs to prove his back remains healthy through the day-to-day competition, while Gillaspie is happy for an opportunity with the White Sox.

"You have to understand this is a business, just like every job in the world," Gillaspie said. "Pablo [Sandoval] is a pretty good player, and I probably wasn't going to be able to beat him out. It's a good opportunity for me. I'm excited.

"I don't have a superstar tool. I'm not going to be somebody who will hit 50 home runs in BP. It's not who I am. I'll definitely work for you. I'll definitely play hard and practice hard. I try to play the game the right way, and whatever happens at that point, just have to roll with it."

Gillaspie believes this hard work has helped turn him into a better fielding third baseman compared to where he stood three or four years ago.