GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Morning rain in the Phoenix valley area canceled Tuesday’s White Sox Cactus League split-squad action at home against the Mariners and in Surprise against the Royals. But Carlos Rodón, scheduled to start at Camelback Ranch against Seattle, still put in his work by throwing to hitters in the White Sox batting cages.
Rodon got up and down six times and threw somewhere around 85 pitches. He was focused on front-door sliders to lefties and two-seam fastballs.
“It’s funny, because I walked in there and [Matt] Skole was talking about how I think that’s better than almost throwing in a game,” Rodon said. “I can get the input from not only the catcher, from Wely [Welington Castillo], but the hitter as far as where to start pitches and where they need to end up and what it looks like out of my hand.”
White Sox manager Rick Renteria hopes to announce the 2019 rotation in the next week or so. But studying the current Spring Training pitching grid, Rodon is aligned for Opening Day in Kansas City, followed by Reynaldo Lopez, Ivan Nova, Lucas Giolito and currently Manny Banuelos.
Working in Tuesday’s cooler conditions gave Rodon a hint of what it might feel like in Kansas City on March 28.
“I know in K.C., it’s going to be 40 degrees and super windy, and probably a nice little cold drizzle,” Rodon said. “It’s good to see how the arm feels and the body feels in that kind of weather.”
Minaya has time to get back on track
Juan Minaya has not had a good showing during Spring Training 2019.
The White Sox reliever has allowed 11 earned runs on 12 hits and six walks over 4 2/3 innings covering five games. White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper was very direct when asked if he liked the way Minaya was throwing despite the very rough results.
“No, absolutely not,” Cooper said. “And he doesn’t either, so I’m not talking out of school here. He knows it’s not getting done. We gave him a sideline a couple of days ago to try to see if we can get him back on track.
“Listen, we want it all to go well for everybody. I’m coming here expecting that we pump strikes in, do well, get the job done in the inning. We are still working on stuff with some guys individually going out there with that.”
Minaya, 28, has shown flashes of excellence in the past. He posted a 2.70 ERA over his last 47 appearances with the White Sox last season and had nine saves in 2017. The right-hander, who is out of options, still has time to get things right in Arizona.
“It hasn’t been going so well for him,” Cooper said. “It hasn’t happened as of yet. But it’s the [12th].”
Cooper provides his 2019 'pick to click'
“I saw him on video and said, ‘Oh, I like him,’” Cooper said.
So, who is his pick to click for this season? None other than Jimmy Lambert, the No. 19 White Sox prospect currently in big league camp. Lambert, 24, finished the 2018 season with a 3-1 record and 2.88 ERA over five starts after a promotion to Double-A Birmingham.
“He’s got Major League pitches, and where he’s at in the process, he needs more consistency like Dylan,” Cooper said. “He’s in the starting gate. Cease is a little ahead of the starting gate. It’s all a process to me, because nothing happens in a day.”
Lambert reminds Cooper of Brad Radke, who was a Minnesota rotation staple from 1995-2006.
Sanchez ready to return
Yolmer Sánchez, who irritated his left shoulder diving for a ground ball in Sunday’s Cactus League contest at Camelback Ranch, hopes to be back in action for Wednesday's contest against the Dodgers. Renteria wasn’t quite as certain as his second baseman, smiling when adding Sanchez wanted to play in one of Tuesday’s originally scheduled split-squad contests.
“I’m going to take liberties and control when he gets back in there,” Renteria said. “He’s a very valuable piece to us. I’m going to make sure he’s doing fine. But he is doing well.”
They said it
“He has expectations of himself to be a great player. I think time will ultimately tell us. But I don't think great players worry about expectations." -- Renteria, on whether Yoán Moncada’s 2018 struggles were influenced by lofty outside expectations_
It’s a night game for the White Sox and Dodgers on Wednesday, with a first pitch of 9:05 CT at Camelback Ranch. Banuelos, trying to further establish his spot in the rotation, gets the start against the organization he was with last year. Alex Colome and Kelvin Herrera also are scheduled to pitch.