Oscar Colás learned a lot about major-league pitching during his first stint with the Chicago White Sox.
“I realize that pitchers here, they don’t make mistakes,” Colás said through an interpreter Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field. “They can make one mistake per game, one mistake per at-bat, and you have to capitalize on those mistakes. If not, you’re going to be in trouble.”
Colás hopes to put those lessons to good use after being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday. He started in right field and batted sixth in the series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.
“Basically I just improved my pitch selection,” Colás said. “That was one of the things I struggled with most here. I was able to make progress on that aspect of my game in the minors.
“And of course also control the emotions and the anxiety. As a rookie, I think I was trying to do too much. I was battling with my anxieties. I think now I’m in a better position.”
Colás went on a tear recently for Charlotte with seven homers in his last seven games. But that’s just part of the reason the Sox picked now for his return.
“A good portion of it is more about the pregame prep and work ethic he’s been demonstrating down there,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “The work he’s done with (Charlotte manager) Justin Jirschele and Cam Seitzer, the hitting coach, in terms of his pregame prep, his preparing for the pitchers — really just having a purposeful workday that has put him in a better position to succeed both offensively and defensively — has been really what has stood out most.
“It translated to him doing more damage at the plate recently and also making better swing decisions. Hopefully that translates here over the next several games as we lead up to the break.”
Colás slashed .211/.265/.276 with one homer and seven RBIs in 25 games with the Sox before being optioned to Charlotte on May 2. He hit .140 (6-for-43) in his last 15 major-league games.
“Everybody knows how talented he is,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “He made our big-league team, struggled a little bit at the beginning. We sent him down to work on some things, not necessarily the major things. Obviously those are a part of it, but some of the details we were looking for.
“We just needed to see more maturity in that aspect, and in all the reports we have received, he’s done a really good job of that and he’s here, ready to get back to work.”
Colás said he was “disappointed for sure” when he was sent down “because I worked a lot during the offseason to have success here and to stay the whole year here.”
“But they sent me down for a reason and I think now it was the right decision,” he said. “Things happen for a reason and I’m just glad that I’m back.”
The No. 2 prospect in the organization according to MLB.com, Colás slashed .293/.358/.508 with nine homers and 29 RBIs in 48 games with the Knights.
“The results were just the work I was putting in every day there,” he said. “Ever since they sent me down, I started working harder. And even though the results didn’t show up at the beginning, I knew that sooner rather than later, the results would be there. I think that was the reason why I had that very good stretch.”
In the corresponding move, the Sox optioned outfielder Clint Frazier to Charlotte. Frazier slashed .197/.303/.242 with three RBIs in 33 games after being called up May 21.
Grifol and Hahn said to expect to see Colás in the lineup on a fairly regular basis.
“I’m 100% convinced that the results are going to be better this time,” Colás said. “My confidence was always there.”
Hahn said third baseman Yoán Moncada is “progressing decently” while recovering from lower back inflammation.
“You’re going to see more and more activity out of him this week out on the field with the hope of a rehab assignment starting right after the (All-Star) break,” Hahn said. “But we’ll need him to continue to progress the way he has over the last week for that to happen.”
The Sox hope to see reliever Liam Hendriks (right elbow inflammation) throw off the mound by the weekend, “and we’ll see where it goes from there,” Hahn said.
Starter Mike Clevinger (right biceps inflammation) has a sideline session scheduled for Saturday, which will dictate how his ramp-up goes from there.
“Assuming all goes well on Saturday,” Hahn said, “we can probably put him on a pace toward rejoining the rotation, if not the first time through after the break, by the second time through.”