After posting a 4-12 record with an ERA of nearly seven last season, Chicago White Sox pitcher James Shields could be forgiven for wanting to leave that kind of performance in the past, but he went a step further with how he described his attitude toward his struggles.
During a press availability on Thursday at the White Sox complex in Glendale, Arizona, Shields said that he wanted to forget about his struggles, but insisted that he had nothing to prove about his abilities as a pitcher.
“I have nothing to prove, man,” he said. “Nothing to prove. I think my career speaks for itself. I definitely want to prove to the Chicago White Sox fans who I really am, when I was facing them. I want to go out and compete this year and do well.”
Shields, who made $21 million last season and is still due at least another $42 million over the next two seasons ($22 million of which will be picked up by the San Diego Padres), won’t have a very high bar to clear as he tries to improve on his performance in 2016. In 114 innings of work, Shields walked 55 batters and gave up a staggering 31 home runs, which nearly matched his 2015 total in 88 fewer innings.
Despite those struggles, Shields is confident that he can bounce back, working with pitching coach Don Cooper on a few mechanical changes and trying to stay focused on staying healthy over the course of a 162 game season
“I had a really bad season in 2010 and came back and had a really good season in 2011,” he said. “So we’ll see what happens.”