White Sox seize on teachable moment in Jacob May's development


With the development of young players a paramount concern for the rebuilding White Sox, manager Rick Renteria seized on an opportunity to get one of his players to learn from a mistake Friday night. 

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the White Sox trailing the Minnesota Twins by two runs, closer Brandon Kintzler issued consecutive walks to Avisail Garcia and Geovany Soto. Rookie Jacob May came to bat as the winning run, with a base hit or walk turning the lineup over to Tyler Saladino and Tim Anderson. 

But after those two walks, May swung at Kintzler's first pitch and meekly grounded out to second base to end the game. The White Sox would've liked to see the 25-year-old May, in only his ninth major league plate appearance, take a more patient approach against a suddenly-wild pitcher. 

"More than anything you have emotions that are a factor," Renteria said. "And when emotions as we talked about it, when emotions take over, you lose sight of the situation, what was actually going on. Was that pitcher – was he in trouble, what was he doing, was he throwing strikes?

"We broke it down a little bit last night. We spoke to him to help him understand what's going on so that he can take a step back, take the big picture in and go in there and slow it down a little bit."

Renteria preached process over results during spring training, wanting his players -- especially the young ones -- to focus more on their approach to an at-bat than the result of it. In the case of May's at-bat Friday, the approach was wanting to be "the guy" and deliver a big hit immediately. And that's not unnatural for a player without much experience. 

"Getting on base, working the at bat would have been just as good as a base hit," Renteria said. "But that's more taking into account what type of situation was going on and what the pitcher was doing in the moment."

May still is less than a week into his major league career, and like with any rookie there will be more of these teachable moments. Even if May worked a deeper at-bat, the result could've been the same, too. 

But in talking to May about his at-bat Friday, the White Sox hope the next time he finds himself in a similar spot, he'll take an approach more fitting for the situation. It's all part of the development of inexperienced players, more of whom will eventually be on their way to 35th and Shields over the coming months and years. 

"I think he's going to have a lot of opportunities to be in that particular situation," Renteria said. "Like we told him, it's not the first time it's going to happen, it probably won't be the last, and you're not going to be the last person that's going to get into a situation like that and it doesn't work out."

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