Catcher Korey Lee is ‘ready to get at it’ after joining the Chicago White Sox from Triple-A Charlotte

Korey Lee crashed at his former college roommate’s place the night before his Chicago White Sox debut.

That roommate: Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn.

“Talked to him, talked about the team, talked about what we want to do,” Lee said before Thursday’s game against the Oakland Athletics at Guaranteed Rate Field. “It’s good to see a familiar face, and I’m excited to see what he does on this stage.”

The Sox promoted the catcher, who was acquired last month in a trade with the Houston Astros, from Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday. They optioned catcher Carlos Pérez to Charlotte in the corresponding move.

“I’m here to contribute, I’m here to catch, I’m here to do my job and that’s control the pitching staff, doing my job on the base paths and also hitting a little bit,” Lee said. “But I’m just grateful for this opportunity and thanks to the White Sox. I’m ready to get at it.”

Lee went 1-for-4 in Thursday’s 8-5 loss to the Oakland Athletics in front of 13,247 at Guaranteed Rate Field. He reached on an infield single in the fifth and scored. Lee also caught one of the two runners attempting to steal and had one throwing error.

“He came in prepared,” Sox starter Jesse Scholtens said. “Our discussion earlier, (he) had an idea of how I liked to pitch, how we wanted to attack these guys. He did a great job behind the plate.”

The teams continued their four-game series Friday.

Lee, 25, slashed .278/.325/.386 with 19 doubles, five home runs, 36 RBIs, 39 runs and 13 stolen bases in 82 combined games this season with Triple-A Sugar Land in the Astros system and the Knights. He played in 14 games for Charlotte before joining the Sox.

Sox manager Pedro Grifol described Lee as a “a catch-and-throw (guy). He’s athletic, he’s got a really good arm, smart, loves the position, which is extremely important.”

“We’re talking about a guy who’s coming up here as a catcher that’s going to have to call a game, receive, block, throw, hit,” Grifol said before Thursday’s game. “There’s a lot going on. We’ll have our ups and downs and we’re going to teach and educate and develop.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what turns out, because he’s certainly athletic enough and has the tools to become who we think he’s going to become. We’re extremely happy that he’s a part of our organization.”

The Sox traded reliever Kendall Graveman to the Astros in exchange for Lee on July 28.

The Astros selected Lee with the 32nd pick in the 2019 draft out of California, where he and Vaughn were teammates.

Lee has a career .263/.329/.427 slash line with 44 home runs and 185 RBIs in 338 games during five minor-league seasons. He also appeared in 12 games with the Astros in 2022, going 4-for-25 (.160) with four RBIs in 12 games.

“It was fantastic,” Lee said of his time in the Astros organization. “It was a great opportunity for me to go over there and learn baseball at a young age. I’m going to bring the good things over here that I’ve learned over there and just continue to play my game.”

Lee has been keeping track of the Sox since the deal.

“There are some good things that are going on here and I’m excited to be a part of it,” he said. “Down in Charlotte, they’re doing their thing also. So it’s a great org to be a part of and a tremendous opportunity.”

Lee believes Grifol’s experiences as a catcher will come in handy.

“He said he’s going to hold me accountable,” Lee said. “He’s going to be hard on me. ... I’m still a rookie, I’m still learning the game and having a manager that’s also been in my position, that’s going to help me out a lot.

“Just daily conversations, picking his brain, picking my brain and just communicating together.”

Grifol said those lessons will come on and off the field.

“The catching position, for me, is really critical for what we want to do,” Grifol said. “It’s a selfless position. It’s a subservient position. I made that clear to him. We’ve got to get the best out of 13 guys (on the pitching staff) every single day. So there’s an educational process, there’s a studying process.

“It’s not just baseball, it’s not just game-planning. It’s developing instincts, it’s game management. There’s a lot to it. How much he plays? I’m looking for him to play a lot. But I’m also looking forward to the educational part of it, which at times would prevent him from playing that particular night, just to make sure that we continue teaching and teaching the way we want to do it.”

While Lee’s promotion is another step for the team’s future, the catcher is concentrating on the present.

“You’ve just got to take one step at a time,” Lee said. “This is what we have to focus on, this year. And when next year comes around, you’ve got a little bit of different focus. Right now it’s finish this year strong and have a good offseason.”