Chicago White Sox manager Pedro Grifol gives an offseason update — including what he recently told starter Dylan Cease

Chicago White Sox players participated in an obstacle course with kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago during a surprise visit Thursday in Bridgeport.

The Sox experienced several hurdles last season on the way to 101 losses. They’ll attempt to find the path to improvement with pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to spring training Feb. 14.

Manager Pedro Grifol isn’t thinking about the first game of the season or beyond.

“I’m thinking about the first week of spring training and we’ve got to win that first week,” Grifol said at Thursday’s event. “We’ve got to go into spring training and prepare ourselves to win baseball games. We’ll take it five to seven days at a time and we’ll continue to evaluate the week and correct the things we need to correct and go from there.

“There’s a lot of work to be done before that first game. There’s a lot of conversations between our staff and the players and we’ll be ready to play come day one.”

There have been pitching and hitting summits since the final out of the woeful 2023 season.

“Once that last game was over, the calendar changed for us,” Grifol said. “There’s been really good communication. (General manager) Chris (Getz) installed the pillars he wants the organization to abide by. I’ll have my style of play I want to see on the field and the players will be a part of the process.

“There is a lot of things that are different (this spring compared to last). The energy in spring training I thought last year was OK, but it’s hard to evaluate it because we had so many guys who weren’t there (with the World Baseball Classic taking place). But that’s something we’re going to focus on, the details are something we’re going to focus on.”

Grifol knows it has to be more than just talk.

“When I put myself in the eyes of the fans, we’ve got to prove it on the field,” he said. “I can stand here today and say, ‘We’re going to do this or do that.’ That’s not what this is about. This is about us preparing ourselves to play and prove to our fans — they had a difficult year last year — that we’re going to come out and play a different style of baseball.”

Grifol said he’s most excited about getting to spring training “because the energy we have, that our players are showing, the energy that our front office and coaching staff is showing. We have five new coaches on our staff. And plus what we did last year. We’re motivated, we’re excited to come back and prove to this league that we’re capable of doing some good things. I just feel it, there is a good vibe.”

Grifol likes the moves the team has made this offseason and anticipates a lot of competition at camp.

“Last year we went into spring training probably six or seven starters deep, this year you’re probably looking at 15-16 starters,” he said. “Some of these guys are young, some ended the year in Double A, some in Triple A. Just to look at our depth compared to where we were at this time last year is really encouraging for us.”

One of those experienced starters could be Dylan Cease, who has been mentioned in trade speculation throughout the offseason. Grifol said Cease has been “unfazed” by the chatter.

“I talked to him yesterday, it was a great conversation and we talked about him (pitching) opening day,” Grifol said. “And he’s preparing himself for that and he feels great. He’s throwing pens, he doesn’t have any soreness, he’s excited about this club. He’s excited about the guys we’ve acquired, excited about our catching. Brian Bannister is part of the organization (as senior adviser to pitching), he’s excited to get to work with him and (pitching coach) Ethan (Katz).

“He’s unfazed by all these trade talks and all this stuff. If it happens, he understands the business. But like I told him and he told me, right now he’s our opening-day starter and get ready to do that.”