GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For the fourth straight year, the Chicago White Sox's training camp is Matt Davidson's proving ground.
It's Davidson's chance to show the Sox they made the right move on Dec. 16, 2013, when they acquired the third baseman in a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks for closer Addison Reed.
But this spring is different.
Davidson finally proved himself last year, posting a .268/.349/.444 hitting line at Class AAA Charlotte while cutting down his chronically high strikeout total.
"I made some swing changes," the 25-year-old Davidson said. "Just getting in a better position, trying to get there every pitch. There were a couple of cues that I focused on. Keep it simple, and it was a daily routine so it became ingrained. I wasn't searching for things every day."
Davidson also was sitting on 10 home runs and 46 RBI through 75 games with Charlotte last season when he got the call to join the White Sox.
In the starting lineup at designated hitter in a June 30 game against the Minnesota Twins, Davidson singled in his second at-bat and wound up scoring.
That's the good part.
The bad? The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder fractured his right foot after rounding first base on the hit, and it's actually remarkable he was able to stay in the game and continue running.
"I didn't hear it break or anything, but I remember it went numb right away," Davidson said. "I thought I was going to fall down at any moment."
Davidson was lifted from the game as soon as he got back to the dugout, and he had season-ending surgery.
"It was tough, but I had my son (Wake) three weeks later so that kind of took my mind off things," Davidson said. "It was definitely a tough pill to swallow, but I felt I did everything I was capable of doing and you can't control getting hurt. I took last year as a complete positive and I kind of left it at that.
"I didn't let that injury affect my confidence. It was very unfortunate, but luckily they kept me around and they're giving me another opportunity, so I'm just going to focus on that."
Davidson is out of minor-league options, so he would be available to the other 29 major-league teams if he doesn't break camp on the Sox's 25-man roster.
That should work in his favor, but White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Davidson's contract status is not a factor this spring.
"I think he's getting a look because he's earned the look," Renteria said. "He's been chipping away and growing in his performance. He's swinging the bat really well."
Davidson's versatility should also be a plus. In addition to being a third baseman, he can play first base and DH.
"He moves very well," Renteria said. "He's a big man, but he's very agile."
This spring, the only thing Davidson is trying to prove is he's 100 percent healthy. Considering he took so much time to recover, Davidson's not worried about any setbacks.
"I've been full go since mid-December," he said. "You hear about guys that did what I did and they rush back too soon and the foot breaks again. It took a long time to heal and get back, but it was worth it. Now I can just focus on playing baseball and doing the same things I was doing last year."
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