White Sox’s Tanner Banks making the most of his luck after long road to MLB – NBC Chicago

‘A remarkable story’ Banks makes the most of his luck with the Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

How would White socks pitcher Tanner Banks describes the last few weeks?

It’s a question he’s asked many times before, and it’s still hard to put into words.

“You have expectations, you have ideas about what it’s all about, and it goes beyond all of that,” Banks said. “The clubhouse, the staff, the teammates, everything is amazing.”

Speaking of amazing, look no further than Banks’ journey so far.

“In 2014 I said, ‘This guy, he’s been on my board for eight years,'” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn joked this week.

“Tanner is a remarkable story.”

No kidding.

Banks was one of the last players on the White Sox opening day roster, and in the early weeks of the season he was as reliable as he came in his bullpen. relievers.

Including a two-inning outing in Thursday’s loss to the Royals, he pitched 12 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and five walks with nine strikeouts.

“Cool customer,” said director Tony La Russa. “We brought him into situations where the game was on the line, and he didn’t bat an eyelid. He’s exactly the same every time.”

It’s been a long road for Banks, who the White Sox drafted in the 18th round of the 2014 draft from Salt Lake Community College. He was older as far as college prospects go, turning 23 a few months after the draft.

He turned 30 last October and, after seven seasons in the minor leagues, had yet to make his major league debut. What drove him forward?

Fulfilling a childhood dream, for one, but also his “incredible support system” from his wife, two children, parents, friends and family back home.

“Every day I think, ‘OK, I have to do my best, do my best for them, whether I feel 100 percent or not,'” Banks told NBC Sports Chicago. “Because I want to be able to give them the best life that I can, whether it’s here or anywhere else, in terms of work.

“Your family becomes your why and having that strong why gave me the motivation to keep working every day.”

That drive and relentlessness are embedded in Banks’ journey to the big leagues. The same goes for his openness to learning and making adjustments. Banks picked the brains of his teammates and those around him in the minors for any advice they could give.

That includes former White Sox reliever and his good friend, Jace Fry.

Banks recalled: “[Fry] said, “Find a routine and stick to it and do it every day, no matter how you feel, how tired you are, whatever, so you can go out and prepare the same every day. days and then hopefully get the same results every day.’

“Obviously it’s a tough game,” added Banks. “But if you can control the little things in your day, hopefully the big things will take care of themselves. You have your routine and your habits to rely on.

So far, the results have been the same on every outing. Banks closes teams, often over multiple innings. He went one inning-over in five of six appearances.

“He was very valuable to us,” Hahn said. “He’s the kind of guy, especially this year where you have a unique spring and guys are still building at the big league level, you need those multi-inning guys to get you through it.

“So far he has been an important part of what we needed. It has sometimes been a bit of a godsend.

Banks said he was just “grateful to be here” and was “shocked” when he got the call that he made the opening day roster. His debut came this opening weekend. He pitched two innings on April 10 in Detroit, striking out four batters without allowing a hit.

Banks said, “I thought to myself when I was running around the field, ‘This is your one and only major league debut. Take a deep breath, soak it in, enjoy it, because it will never happen again.

“I needed a drummer to set me up. But after that, it’s like, ‘Okay, I’m here.'”

And he pleads to stay a while.

“He has the eye of the tiger,” La Russa said. “He wants it to continue. He was a great help to us. »

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Lance B. Holton