Delmonico putting in extra time to learn LF

Delmonico putting in extra time to learn LF

CHICAGO - Nicky Delmonico started at designated hitter for the White Sox in Saturday night's contest against the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field. But an absence from left field doesn't mean Delmonico's daily work stopped at that position.

Delmonico, 25, came to the Majors with 13 games of Minor League experience in left. So he's putting in extra time with White Sox first base coach and outfield instructor Daryl Boston to become proficient defensively.

"I'm new out there, so I have to get out and learn as much as I can," Delmonico said. "It's a new challenge. I'm starting to like it a little more each day. But I know I have to go out there and keep doing the early work to get back at it."

"He's going to put the time in and we are going to get him out here every day," Boston said. "He's not afraid of anything. He's looking forward to the challenge and I'm looking forward to working with him."

Boston told the story of a little rain falling in the afternoon before last Saturday's game in Boston. But when Delmonico arrived to the ballpark, he was ready to work regardless of the weather.

Playing in front of the Green Monster rates somewhat akin defensively to facing a knuckleballer as a hitter: There's no other phenomenon quite like it. But as a converted infielder, any work -- in even the strangest of layouts -- will pay dividends.

"We're focusing on a little bit of everything," Delmonico said. "Balls right at me, balls off the wall. Getting to the wall early and reading it. Just something new every day. I feel like I'm learning."

"You ask him to do something and he'll run through a wall for you," Boston said. "Nicky has always been a guy that is going to get after it. He's not afraid to work and not afraid to make a mistake. He's not afraid to get better. So that's a good combination to have."

According to White Sox manager Rick Renteria, Delmonico will get a chance to play all over the field during the final six weeks of the season. Delmonico already has made a strong impression offensively, on Saturday becoming the first White Sox player to reach base in each of his first 11 Major League games.

Renteria also likes the way Delmonico has been able to read defenses and adapt at the plate against shifts.

"We are not surprised at how he has performed," Renteria said. "Is it a different path than it's taken for everybody else? Certainly, and we tip our cap to him. He's been grinding, trying to get to the opportunity he has gotten to today."

"From his first day here you could see the excitement in his face," Boston said. "That kind of energy is good to be around right now."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. 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.