TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -Josh Fields played 100 games as a rookie last season and showed he was ready for the big leagues. Filling in for the injured Joe Crede, he showed some pop, hitting 23 homers and driving in 67 runs for the Chicago White Sox.
On Sunday as he unpacked his bags in the clubhouse, Fields was ready to start a spring training in which he will now compete with Crede for the fulltime third baseman's job.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said Sunday that Fields is his starter right now, at least until Crede shows he is healthy after back surgery last season.
``Maybe two weeks from now I will have to change my mind. We have to wait for Joe. The last two days Joe Crede looks outstanding and I hope he continues to look like that,'' Guillen said.
Fields, who at 25 is four years younger than Crede, welcomes the challenge.
``Competition is what makes people better. I know he's excited to get back out on the field and so we're both excited to get going,'' Fields said.
he could play every day.
``I'm going to do what I have to do to get ready to play a season, wherever I'm playing this season, Chicago or Charlotte or wherever. It doesn't matter,'' Fields said.
``I have to prepare like I'm going to play a big league season, no matter. Even if I go back to Triple-A. ... I could still be back in Charlotte. If that is the worst-case scenario I'm looking at, it's really not a bad situation.''
Fields certainly has nothing to prove at Triple-A, other to refine some aspects of his game.
``I want him to be hungry. ... I want him to keep the mentality that he's going to work here every day and with his mind that he is going to be in Chicago,'' Guillen said.
Fields played 21 games in left field last season, but the White Sox ditched that experiment and decided that he was going to play third base. And as Guillen pointed out earlier, there isn't room for two third baseman on a major league team.
``I talked to him about the situation and I talked to Joe Crede about the situation,'' Guillen said. ``I told them be prepared because there are going to be a lot of questions everyday. ... Make (GM) Kenny Williams and myself make the decision we have to make. We are going to make decision to make this ball club good.''
Fields knows something about competing. As Oklahoma State's quarterback, he went up against Eli Manning in the 2004 Cotton Bowl. He did just fine, passing for 307 yards, even though Ole Miss won the game 31-28. Fields had 55 TD passes in his career with the Cowboys, including seven in one game.
Later in 2004, Fields was picked in the first round of the baseball draft by the White Sox and has been one of their top prospects. He said he's ready for any eventuality.
``Anything is a possibility. Like I said, I'm still young and I guess still kind of unproven,'' said Fields, who did have 125 strikeouts last season while batting .244.
``Sometimes weird things happen. ... I'm preparing for everything.''
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