Andrew Benintendi of the White Sox drives in a run with a double against the Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sept. 1.
DETROIT — Andrew Benintendi is already looking forward to the offseason.
Join the club!
But not just because the White Sox have been awful and want to get this season over with. Benintendi underperformed in the first first year of his five-year, $75 million deal — just ask him — and after taking the first couple weeks of October off, he’ll get to work on his hitting.
“That’s all he’s talking about,” said Sox field coordinator Mike Tosar, who serves as one of the Sox’ hitting coaches. “Mentally he’s already gathering what he wants to do this offseason. Knowing Benny, his makeup and character, I’m sure he’ll be ready to go.”
Benintendi entered Sunday’s game against the Tigers batting .269/.333/.365 with five home runs. The Sox were 55-87.
“It’s frustrating,” Benintendi told the Sun-Times. “This whole season has been frustrating overall. And disappointed in how I played. I never really got hot and I was fighting through some things during the season. You always want to do better.”
Benintendi received a cortisone shot around the All-Star break for a sore right hand. He made a few swing changes this season and changed his approach.
“Just never really got going,” he said.
Transitioning from spacious Kauffman Stadium where the left-handed Benintendi played for the Royals in 2021 and 2022 to cozier Guaranteed Rate Field was a thing.
“For a player like me, the full shift on last year I wasn’t really focused on pulling the ball but just going the other way and beating the shift and hitting for higher average and on-base,” Benintendi said. “Now I’m playing at Guaranteed Rate and able to drive it out there a couple more times, trying to get the ball to the pull side a little more.”
Benintendi has three seasons with 16 or more homers. He hit his first for the Sox on June 16.
“It’s going to take time. Two years of going the other way, so it’s trying to get back to that and it can take time. Hopefully that’s next year.”
Hopefully the Sox front office injects some fresh talent into the clubhouse.
“A lot is out of our control as players,” Benintendi said. “This team is super talented and obviously there is room to get better. As a player you work on being the best you can and whatever happens from there happens.”
We were disappointing as a team. We’re all disappointed. There is a lot of ground to make up. I don’t think anybody in here saw this coming.”
Benintendi, 29, keeps his head down and prefers staying in the background. Of the Sox’ clubhouse rifts exposed during the first half, he would only say, “Everybody wants to win. Obviously it’s a long year. You pull for everybody and it’s going to take everybody to win. As far as clubhouse goes, everybody gets along, there is no butting heads but when you’re not playing well things kind of tumble. We didn’t get in front of that this year.”
Benintendi plans on getting in front of his swing this offseason.
“It’s going to take time,” he said. “Two years of going the other way [to left field], so it’s trying to get back to that and it can take time. Hopefully that’s next year.”
“Early in the year he was catching [making contact with] the ball a little too deep,” Tosar said. “He’s found his contact point. He set his hands in a place where it’s easy for him to turn and get to the contact point he’s looking to get to. Now getting a little more bat speed through the zone, more whip from the position he’s starting from and maintaining with his swing.
“It’s something he had always done but lost a feel for but is getting back to it. Can he get it back? One hundred percent.”
ROYALS AT SOX
Monday: Brady Singer (8-10, 5.34 ERA) vs. Dylan Cease (6-7, 4.98), 6:40 p.m., NBCSCH, 1000-AM
Tuesday: Touki Toussaint (3-7, 4.71) vs. Jordan Lyles (4-16, 6.24), 6:40 p.m., NBCSCH, 1000-AM
Wednesday: Mike Clevinger (7-7, 3.64) vs. TBA, 6:40 p.m., NBCSCH, 1000-AM