But that one rough inning won’t deter Cease from what has been a positive overall Spring Training.
“It wasn’t very sharp, but if you look at positives, I threw good changeups,” said Cease, who entered Monday with eight strikeouts and no walks in six innings. “For the most part, besides the one inning where I lost my command, it was decent.
“I didn’t feel like I was rushing. I’m going to have to talk to Coop [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] and see. It felt like I was hitting my spots, just up. I was leaving everything way up or just yanking it. I have to talk to Coop, but it was just one of those innings.”
Cease threw 36 of his 64 pitches for strikes over 3+ innings, striking out three and allowing three earned runs. One of those runs came via a Nick Senzel home run to open the game on an 0-2 pitch.
Leury Garcia helped Cease in the three-walk third, making a nice play up the middle with the bases loaded to turn a double play on Alfredo Rodriguez.
“Any time you give free passes or put them in hitters' counts, you’re asking for trouble,” Cease said. “At the end of the day, if I execute pitches better I throw more strikes, I’m not going to waste that many pitches that inning and it’s probably not going to be as bad of an inning as it was.”
Madrigal exits with bruise
Second baseman Nick Madrigal departed Monday’s contest after a hard-hit Michael De Leon grounder bounced up and deflected just above his left eyebrow. Madrigal was checked out by manager Rick Renteria and head athletic trainer Brian Ball and left under his own power with a bruise but no signs of concussion. Madrigal, the No. 4 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, entered the game in the top of the eighth.
White Sox might play the weather waiting game
Cactus League rain delays are few and far between. But with inclement weather forecast through Friday morning, the White Sox might wait out a storm Tuesday featuring the best chance for action in the next three days.
“You might have to linger just in case there’s a window for us to be able to get these games in,” Renteria said. “It would be foolish for us to prematurely make a decision unless it’s something where the forecast is just totally unacceptable, or the possibility of playing doesn’t seem to be in the cards. But we’ll do everything we can to do all the work we have to in order to not skip a beat.”
Third to first
Yasmani Grandal launched his first Cactus League home run with the White Sox Monday, connecting off an Amir Garrett offering in the sixth inning. A fan made a nice running catch of Grandal’s blast to left-center, following up his double leading off the second. Grandal caught Sunday and started at designated hitter Monday.
Yermin Mercedes’ two-out home run in the ninth brought about Monday’s deadlock. It was Mercedes’ fourth home run of the spring as he pushes for the 26th man spot on the roster.
Eloy Jiménez left early in Sunday’s victory over the Royals because he was battling a cold. He wanted to play even with the cold, according to Renteria, and was back in Monday’s starting lineup.
Renteria still mum on No. 26
With two weeks left in Spring Training, Renteria wouldn’t tip his hand as to what he was looking for in filling the 26th roster spot.
“People have asked [if] you use the spring to make determinations on how a guy is or isn't, and, well, that just depends on the individual and what you're actually looking for,” Renteria said. “So, in this instance, I hope they're making my life as extremely difficult as possible, because that means we're in a really good place.”
They said it
“They are a good group. You're trying to make it an environment that’s inviting. The players make it inviting. They make it a good place to be.” -- Renteria, on the team’s Spring Training bonding, including their entertaining morning clubhouse meetings.
“He looked very confident. He was very happy. He came off the field very happy about his outing.” -- Renteria, on Reynaldo López’s strong start Sunday against the Padres.
Michael Kopech, the No. 20 prospect overall per MLB Pipeline, is scheduled to make his 2020 Cactus League debut Tuesday afternoon against the Rangers at Camelback Ranch. It’s a first pitch of 3:05 p.m. CT, with the game broadcast on WGN Radio and via a whitesox.com webcast. Kopech is scheduled to pitch one inning, although the weather forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of rain.