Saladino's Chicago bike rides a thing of past

White Sox shortstop also gets own place after spending last summer with friend

Saladino's Chicago bike rides a thing of past

CHICAGO -- Tyler Saladino arrived in Chicago last July 10 excited for his first big league opportunity, but not knowing how long he would stay with the White Sox.

So the talented young utility infielder didn't invest in a condo or even his own apartment and he went without a car. Saladino connected with an old high school friend via Facebook, a friend who he hadn't seen since high school, but one who worked for Fuji Film and let him know via Facebook that he was in Chicago.

Saladino, 26, took over his friend's extra room. He then bought a bike from a shop just down the street to commute to and from U.S. Cellular Field and explore Chicago.

"Easy ride, like 15 minutes," said Saladino of his commute to the ballpark. "September was a little chilly. I had to pick up a jacket for that ride during the cold days.

"Every day I would just wander different streets, just riding around. Turn on a different street I had never been on and check out the city from a different angle."

There was apparently no concern from the organization with Saladino's bike riding, even at night, as he arrived every day on it.

"I really enjoyed it," said Saladino, who started at shortstop Wednesday and hit a solo homer in the first inning of a 2-1 win over the Angels. "It's like a warmup in the day, get the system going. You can see something different each day. Ride along the Lake [Michigan] if it's a nice day out."

A little more stability exists for Saladino now, as he found a place of his own knowing that he was a veritable lock to break camp for the first time. Saladino looked to be the starting shortstop until Jimmy Rollins joined the White Sox via a one-year, $2 million free-agent deal.

But even with Saladino playing in his seventh game Wednesday out of 15 overall for the White Sox, he doesn't change his routine to adjust to part-time play.

"It's the same thing every day," Saladino said. "You have batting practice and cage work and defensive work. That way when I'm in there, it's the same thing. Look for good pitches and barrel them up. Try to keep it as simple as possible."

The simple bike-riding pleasure is gone from Saladino's daily routine. But he still has the memories from '15, including one special wrong summer turn.

"When I stumbled across Lollapalooza last year, that was an interesting bike ride," Saladino said with a laugh. "I ended up smack dab in the middle of it. I saw a lot of people walking, and I was like, 'I wonder what's going on over here at the park,' and then it was, 'Oh my God.' It was fun."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.