BOSTON -- Dylan Covey's extremely tough 2017 season, featuring a 7.71 ERA over 70 innings, was optimistically termed by the right-hander as a tremendous learning experience.And one of Covey's many teachers was James Shields, a 13-year veteran and his rotation mate. Shields did more than provide encouraging words for the
BOSTON -- Dylan Covey's extremely tough 2017 season, featuring a 7.71 ERA over 70 innings, was optimistically termed by the right-hander as a tremendous learning experience.
And one of Covey's many teachers was James Shields, a 13-year veteran and his rotation mate. Shields did more than provide encouraging words for the 26-year-old, according to Covey.
"Last year, he was talking to me more about mechanical things, like really getting over my front leg was one of them," Covey explained Saturday after throwing six shutout innings during Friday's 1-0 victory. "Having a fluid landing. Last year, I would land and kind of, I wouldn't get over my front side, so it would be like a ton of momentum, and I would stop myself in mid-delivery almost.
"Toward the end of the year, he had me working on some things in the weight room, just like getting my glutes and hamstrings more active in my landing leg so it wasn't like a bunch of force on a dead leg. I worked on that a lot this offseason, just making sure my left leg was strong.
"I still have the same delivery, the same stiff landing," Covey said. "But I'm getting over that front side a lot better this year, which is allowing me to be a lot more consistent."
Consistent, as in seven earned runs allowed over 28 1/3 innings, with 28 strikeouts, 11 walks and no home runs permitted. As a Rule 5 selection with six starts of prior experience at the Double-A level or above, Covey was overmatched in '17. He clearly didn't let that experience shake him, with Shields providing valuable assistance.
"He's a great veteran guy to have on the staff," Covey said. "He has all kinds of little tidbits. He talked to me last year about some pitch sequencing and stuff like that.
"If you throw this pitch, and you see this reaction from the hitter, you can go to this pitch just like a game plan. He's helped me a lot with just maturing as a pitcher. My stuff is going to be what my stuff is. It's different than his, but he's helped me with kind of learning how to read the hitters, just like game-awareness type of stuff."
Sanchez gets extra day of rest
Yolmer Sanchez received a second straight day off Saturday, but White Sox manager Rick Renteria said it was just a small break for the third baseman. Sanchez, who is hitting .276 with six triples and 27 RBIs, will be back in the lineup for Sunday's finale at Fenway.
"He is one of my hardest working, most hustling players on the team," Renteria said. "They all give us a really good effort, but if you see him -- and Engy (center fielder Adam Engel) -- it's hard to pull them back.
"Honestly just trying to give him a breather. Keep him as fresh as possible. We have another 15 days left of [consecutive] games. And give Jose Rondon an opportunity to get some at-bats against a lefty and play in the field."
Engel's right hamstring, which he tweaked during Wednesday's victory in Minnesota, cost him a third straight game. But it has improved with each day.
"Today was a really good day," said Engel, who talked about keeping things small and not trying to do too much too soon.
Right fielder Avisail Garcia (right hamstring strain) and right-handed starter Miguel Gonzalez (right rotator cuff inflammation) are making progress working with the team in Boston. Garcia hopes to go on a rehab assignment early next week, while Gonzalez continues to move forward playing catch.
Outfielder Leury Garcia (left knee sprain) also is working in Chicago per Renteria.
"We're getting close to doing something with both Leury and Avi," Renteria said. "But they have to get their work in and get cleared before we have a definitive move for getting them back on the field."
Third to first
• Chris Sale made a brief pregame appearance in the White Sox clubhouse Saturday. He humorously spoke of looking for Trayce Thompson to ask if Thompson's family really had enough to celebrate Friday without Trayce's game-winning single off of Sale. Klay Thompson, Trayce's older brother, won his third NBA title with the Golden State Warriors on Friday.
• Left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. was released by the organization. Ross had an 11.81 ERA over 11 games with Triple-A Charlotte.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.