Making his first start as a White Sox on Saturday, Conor Gillaspie gave his club some energy with a few big plays. He snuffed out a rally with a great diving stab to start a 5-3 double play and end the top of the fifth, and then he led off the bottom with a triple for his first Chicago hit. He'd collect a second with a single in the eighth, and he came around to score his second run. Both of them counted, as the Sox beat Seattle 4-3.
His performance will be enough to stir up a little bit of a controversy at -- where else? -- third base. He already has more hits than Jeff Keppinger, who is just 1-for-21 this season, and hitless in his last 19 plate appearances.
But Robin Ventura isn't budging from Keppinger, and judging from Gillaspie's postgame quotes, he doesn't want to upset the order of anything right now, either.
He talked to Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone following the game, and after addressing Harrelson as "Sir," (which delighted the broadcast booth), he brought it down a notch or seven:
"I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous most of the day. This game's so crazy sometimes, how it works out, y'know? I about had 30 panic attacks, it seemed like, during the game. It's not that I've never played here, but to feel like I'm important and can contribute in a positive way is ... y'know, it puts a lot of pressure on a younger guy. So I'm glad I was able to do the job today."
And when Steve Stone asked him about starting against Felix Hernandez:
"Like I said, crazy game. That guy is one of the best guys in the business, so, I'm pretty lucky -- lucky to square up a couple balls and make a tough play ... like I said, it's a crazy game sometimes."
All in all, he seemed pretty uncomfortable, and I hope Daryl Boston took him out for an ice cream afterward.
Those quotes stand in stark contrast to his reaction after getting his first plate appearance with the Giants back in 2008, and that was only a run-of-the-mill groundout:
"I made contact and got down the line pretty good. Hopefully they'll throw me in there the next couple of weeks, maybe a couple of starts. I think I can play as good as any of these guys up here. That's why I'm up here."
You may remember the circumstances surrounding that quote -- Gillaspie was called up in September after being drafted in June to give him some extra money, not because of his baseball abilities. That quote rubbed some of his veteran teammates the wrong way, and while he was able to get past it, he fell into a hopeless depth-chart situation that eventually forced his trade to Chicago.
It's worked out for him so far, so maybe he doesn't want any off-hand comments ruining a first impression this time. Either that, or it points to a bigger problem. The letters in "Conor Gillaspie" can be rearranged to spell "Collaring Poise."** Maybe the vortex at third base has captured his, and it's hungry for more.
(**Also, "Oriole Scalping" and "Grape Collision.")