Chicago Sun-Times

Togetherne­ss top priority

- Ali. Daryl Van Schouwen and Steve Greenberg

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Several White Sox players already had talked about making cohesivene­ss in the clubhouse a priority after a disappoint­ing .500 finish last season, second baseman Elvis Andrus and shortstop Tim Anderson among them.

‘‘Everybody pulling the same way instead of each guy trying to do their thing,’’ Andrus said. ‘‘I think that was the only thing I saw lacking toward the end of last year.’’

Everyone must pull ‘‘from the same string,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘Like, we’re on the same team. Everybody.’’

‘‘It’s a matter of coming together,’’ righthande­r Michael Kopech said.

Departed first baseman Jose Abreu said it in the most direct way from his new springtrai­ning home with the Astros, telling the Sun-Times the Sox ‘‘weren’t a family.’’

Perhaps a new season with a new manager (Pedro Grifol) known to be a good communicat­or will bring about change for the good. Grifol is all about creating a winning culture.

‘‘Every time we had good communicat­ion, everybody was on the same page and we [got] results, we won,’’ outfielder Eloy Jimenez told the Sun-Times. ‘‘When we didn’t have that kind of communicat­ion, everybody noticed and something bad happened. It wasn’t about roles, but it was about everybody [being] in the same clubhouse. Sometimes we would talk just when the game started. It felt like everybody was on their own. That’s not good. That has to change.’’

It didn’t help that many of the Sox’ key players were dealing with injuries and subpar performanc­es in what would be manager Tony La Russa’s last season.

‘‘I’ve been there, even in the minor leagues,’’ catcher Seby Zavala said. ‘‘Maybe you’re not playing as well as you should or have in the past, [and] sometimes you try to do more. I’ve fallen victim to being to myself and not as much of a team guy as in the past. It’s hard not to be as good as you should or want to. We had guys down with injuries, and it’s hard when you’re not always in that same locker room with that family environmen­t.’’

Cease’s first spring start

American League Cy Young runner-up Dylan Cease pitched two scoreless innings against the Reds in his first Cactus League outing, pitching out of a bases-loaded, oneout jam after issuing two walks in the first.

‘‘Obviously, walks aren’t ideal,’’ said Cease, who struck out Chad Pinder and Tyler Stephenson to get out of the jam. ‘‘But they are pretty close misses. Just got to recalibrat­e a little bit and get back into it.

‘‘I actually felt good. I didn’t feel wild. I felt pretty solid. It was a pretty good first outing.’’

Good hustle

Andrus showed Grifol something Wednesday against the Rockies by ‘‘busting his butt’’ to first base on comebacker to the mound.

‘‘He’s not just a vocal leader; this guy leads by example, too,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘He’s not just saying something; he says it and does it. That’s how we want to put this thing together.’’

This and that

Right-hander Lucas Giolito will make his first spring start Sunday against the Dodgers. Right-hander Mike Clevinger, who has not started a Cactus League game, will open against the Dodgers in a ‘‘B’’ game Sunday morning.

◆ Twenty baseball and softball players from West Point High School in nearby Avondale and their coaches watched morning drills, toured the Camelback Ranch facility and watched the game as guests of Grifol and his wife, ✶

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 ?? AP PHOTOS ?? Second baseman Elvis Andrus impressed manager Pedro Grifol (right) with his hustle during a spring game Wednesday against the Rockies.
AP PHOTOS Second baseman Elvis Andrus impressed manager Pedro Grifol (right) with his hustle during a spring game Wednesday against the Rockies.

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