White Sox coach blowing the whistle on Adam Engel

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MINNEAPOLIS — First base coach Daryl Boston tried all he could to learn how to whistle, including watching instructional videos on YouTube.

Nothing seemed to work.

A former first-round draft pick as a player, the White Sox’ first base coach found his skill set running thin when it comes to whistling, which, for a coach in charge of positioning outfielders from the dugout, was a problem.

Enter Sox pregame instructor and winter basketball official Mike Kashirsky, who solved the problem by setting up Boston with a couple of referee’s whistles.

“I had started with a couple little ones that didn’t work too well and Kash said ‘you need to get a real whistle,’ ‘’ Boston said.

Throughout the year, Boston’s whistle has been that one heard round the American League. Not only when positioning outfielders but when anyone on the field makes a good defensive play, it can be heard in the 500 level at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“When I’m trying to get their attention it’s just a nice ‘beep-beep’ but if somebody makes a nice defensive play I hit it hard,’’ Boston said.

White Sox first base coach Daryl Boston. (AP)

There is no official record of Boston’s whistles, but it’s safe to say rookie center fielder Adam Engel has generated as many as anyone.

“He’s been playing Gold Glove caliber center field,’’ said Boston, who spent mot of his 11-year career in center field. “He’s relentless. He’s fearless. Any time a ball goes up in that area you think it’s going to be caught.’’

Before the Sox bolstered their farm system with prospects in numerous trades, Engel entered the season as their 12th-ranked prospect. Baseball America tabbed him as the best defensive outfielder in the system.

“It’s all instinct,’’ Boston said. “We’ve had guys like Adam Engel who could run as well as anybody but didn’t have the same instincts and reads and routes that this kid has. It’s a joy to watch.’’

Engel 25, doubled in a run against Bartolo Colon in the second inning of the Sox’ game Thursday afternoon at Target Field. His offensive moments have been few and far between, though, as he’ll took a .179 average with four homers and 13 RBI over 233 plate appearances into the game.

“He’s a work in progress,’’ Boston said. “One thing for sure is he’s going to compete. He might not have it figured out now but he’s going to find a way to figure it out and survive.’’

As good as the defense has been, Engel knows he won’t survive in the majors unless his hitting line gets closer to what he produced in the minor leagues (.264/.298/.369). Injuries to Charlie Tilson and Leury Garcia and the demotion of Opening Day center fielder Jacob May opened a door he hopes to keep open.

“Struggling a little bit at the plate but it’s a very valuable time for me to feel what I’m going to feel and work on the things I’m working on,’’ Engel said. “And go out and play defense and help the team win.

“It’s been great to play every day and get a feel for what the big leagues is all about. With this last month and the offseason I have a pretty good idea what I need to do to have success at this level. Not everyone gets that opportunity. So it’s been great so far.’’


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