Gio progressing; Kopech, Grandal connect

February 16th, 2020

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When first felt a little shoulder discomfort during a recent workout, he let the White Sox know right away. That quick move to treatment helped keep the issue a small one, with González planning to throw from a little longer distance starting Sunday, followed soon by actual long toss.

“It’s good progress. We got it right before it started progressing a little bit longer,” said González Saturday from Camelback Ranch. “Everyone has been very helpful and keeping me in the right path.

“I told them right away, I go, ‘Listen, this is something I think is minor.’ I didn’t get to throw as much as I wanted to. And once things started popping up, I said, 'Let me address this, tell them something minor.'”

González, 34, is projected to be part of the Opening Day White Sox starting rotation. This will be the free agent addition’s third stint on the South Side behind trades to Philadelphia in 2005 and to Oakland in 2008.

In González’s younger days, he would have forced the issue and got himself back on the mound immediately even in the early stages of Spring Training. But after being on the injured list from May 27 to July 20 last year with Milwaukee due to what he termed as a similar issue -- and with 12 big league seasons already on his resume -- slow playing the start of Spring Training is not the worst idea.

The White Sox had an MRI done on González’s shoulder following the initial discomfort.

“Yeah, we nipped that in the bud. We wanted to double check it,” González said. “It was pretty similar from the first MRI that I had before Chicago got me.

“That’s why I say it’s not that big, not that big of a deal. It’s very minor. We’re back to throwing, no issues. Tomorrow we stretch it out and the next day we stretch it even further.”

González also has noticed some of the talented younger arms with the White Sox during this stretch.

“We’ve got some guys that can throw the ball,” González said. “So, it’s just get healthy, get ready and do your part as much as you can. I’m excited about Spring Training, excited to see what we have in store.

“Some of these arms now are just insane. Sometimes it sounds too loud. Some of these guys are throwing harder than I’ve ever seen. With that being said, it helps me get a little peace of mind and work on my own terms and get ready to go.”

The pitcher/catcher bond is building

threw a side session Saturday at Camelback Ranch in a morning workout featuring live batting practice also thrown by Reynaldo López and Dylan Cease. Kopech threw to catcher Yasmani Grandal, and the two had a good talk in front of the mound after the session was complete.

It’s a small early example of Grandal’s guidance counted upon when the White Sox brought him in on a four-year, $73 million free agent deal.

“He’s kind of another guy who can see a lot of things from behind the plate,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “And more than anything, becoming more familiar with the personalities. They’re just starting to get a feel for each other, and it’s pretty nice to see.”

Renteria thought the ball came out of Kopech’s hand really well Saturday. Kopech’s competitive fire also was on display, getting frustrated with himself when missing location on a few pitches in his second bullpen on the fourth day of Spring Training.

“He looks like he’s understanding a lot more about who he is,” said Renteria of Kopech. “He’s understanding also there’s a controlled aggression you can take when you’re doing your work. And it’s evident in his work. He’s growing up, he’s learning. He’s going to be really good.”

Renteria not worried about sign stealing

The Astros’ sign-stealing scandal won’t cause the White Sox to become any more diligent in combating that issue than what they already have been doing.

“We’ve been very vigilant,” Renteria said. “We use techniques to try to offset things like that. You always assume it, and then you try to prepare and do everything you can to make sure you can minimize whatever damage might occur to you on the other side.”

They Said It

“Why not? It got me the batting title. So, why not? I’m not going to change anything.” -- White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, who walked 15 times over 518 plate appearances last season, on staying aggressive

“It’s definitely in my goals. I’m not saying I’m going to get it this year. Not saying next year. We don’t know when it will be, but I know I will get one.” -- Anderson, who made a Major League-high 26 errors in 2019, on eventually winning a Gold Glove