PHOENIX — The Chicago White Sox were hoping to lock up prized prospect Andrew Vaughn to a long-term contract before he makes his major-league debut.
Talks have cooled.
The affection and enthusiasm for the first baseman/DH has not.
The White Sox refuse to follow many other teams and play the service-time manipulation game by keeping Vaughn in the minors. Now barring injury, Vaughn is expected to be on their opening-day roster as the primary DH.
Vaughn, 22, who has never played above Class A, has dazzled the White Sox all spring, and so it seems the only uncertainty remaining is the exact day the White Sox tell him he’s made the team.
“We’d like to have that message coming from the manager,’’ White Sox vice president Ken Williams says, “and not me through USA TODAY.’’
Tony La Russa, who made his major-league managerial debut with the White Sox 19 years before Vaughn was born, heard nothing but praise from the front office to the clubhouse attendants about Vaughn since the day he returned to the White Sox.
“They all raved him about him,’’ La Russa said, “and now I’m raving about him. I know he’s never played higher than whatever it is (high Class A Winston-Salem), but boy he takes great at-bats, makes great adjustments. He’s got all of the qualities.
“He does things that really good hitters do. He can handle pitches, he really competes, never throws an at-bat away, uses the whole field. And he’s got thump.”
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