GLENDALE, Ariz. –- The line between confident and cocky often blurs and that balance is particularly intriguing when it comes to White Sox roster hopeful Lastings Milledge.
The former minor-league phenom remained humble about his two-homer day Thursday against the Rockies, essentially saying that he caught a couple of pitchers off guard. But he later added that he knew he had it in him to have a breakout spring and essentially make his way onto the White Sox’s 25-man roster.
“It wasn’t a bad day [Thursday], but at the same time it’s spring training and [pitchers] do make mistakes,” said Milledge, who has four home runs this spring and is closing in on a spot as a backup outfielder. “I was just capitalizing on mistakes. I don’t really get excited over it. Guys are going to make more mistakes in spring training than they will in the regular season but I’m really pleased about how I’m taking advantage of it.”
Less than two weeks ago, when manager Ozzie Guillen was lamenting the fact that nobody had yet to step up with an outfield spot hanging in the balance, Milledge looked like he wouldn’t even be a footnote in White Sox history.
Now Milledge has become the favorite to win a roster spot as a backup outfielder over Aleandro De Aza and Brent Lillibridge, who have also picked up their play of late. Nobody has picked it up like Milledge, though, who entered Friday evening’s game against the A’s on a seven-game hit streak, going 9-for-22 (.409) with four home runs, seven RBI and seven runs scored.
With a roster spot on the line, some might turn to jelly. But Milledge has thrived.
“I think the biggest thing is knowing personally what you want to do and accomplish,” he said. “Don’t fall into the trap of thinking people want to see this or that from you. It’s just believing in yourself because nobody knows you better than yourself. Nobody knows your game better than yourself. The thing is believing in what I know I can do and what I have to do well to stay on the team.”
Milledge was asked if his performance of late is helping him to picture himself in a White Sox uniform on Opening Day or if he always had that visual.
“Well the second I signed the minor-league deal I just believed in myself,” Milledge said. “Maybe I over-believe in myself. I just believed in myself whole heartedly that I was going to be on this team.
“It’s not a cocky attitude. I just believe in myself and I just know that I can be productive at the big-league level and I know I can be productive in the role I’m going to be put in. I just believe in that and nobody can tell me any different.”