CHICAGO -- Left-handed reliever Jace Fry was reinstated from the 10-day injured list by the White Sox prior to Tuesday’s contest with the Twins, with fellow southpaw hurler Bernardo Flores Jr. optioned to the team’s alternate training site in Schaumburg, Ill.
Fry, 27, has been on the injured list with back spasms since Sept. 5, and he now provides even more depth to an already strong bullpen. In 13 relief appearances and 12 1/3 innings, Fry has a 3.65 ERA and 15 strikeouts. He currently has an 8 1/3 scoreless-innings streak, but more importantly, he has consistently attacked the zone after making some mechanical tweaks during the extended offseason.
“It was muscle memory. A lot of reps and staying true to the work,” Fry said Tuesday. “I never really took a break during the quarantine.
“I stayed on my Spring Training schedule and was at the ballpark [in Arizona] six or seven days per week. So putting that work in had made it where the mental clarity was there and there wasn’t anything other to think about than executing a pitch.”
The White Sox went slow with Fry's return: He had an epidural for his back and probably could have returned a few days earlier. But the target was Fry being healthy for the stretch drive and the postseason as part of the American League’s best team by record.
“It’s completely opposite of what we’ve been,” Fry said. “I come to the ballpark and expect to win, even against the best teams in the division or the league. It’s fun to go out there and compete and really just take your role and try to get your job done for the team. Everyone is focused pitch to pitch, and it’s been pretty outstanding this year.
“Every level of our lineup, we are hitting, and it’s kind of that next-man-up in the order. We put so much pressure on the other team day in and day out that I can see why these pitchers are going out there and [are] usually out by the fifth inning. ... We have so much talent in the clubhouse. It’s the most talent I’ve seen. We are just doing what we are supposed to do.”
Playoff schedule set
Major League Baseball announced the 2020 postseason schedule Tuesday, with the playoffs beginning on Sept. 29 with Game 1 in all four AL Wild Card Series. The lack of days off in the three playoff series that a team would have to win to reach the World Series caught the attention of White Sox manager Rick Renteria, but staying true to form, he didn’t want to address the matter until the White Sox were officially playoff bound.
“Whatever the schedule is set up to be without any days off, you're still trying to win each game, so it's going to be just like it is right now,” Renteria said. “It's like the regular season in which we don't have a whole lot of days off in between but you're still trying to win every game and you're trying to do the best of your ability, and hopefully the flexibility and the performance and the ability for these guys to execute and pick each other up on certain days continues to play itself out.
“Hopefully, we perform well. I believe in these guys as much as anybody. You've got to go out and play and deal with it as it comes.”
Third to first
• The White Sox announced Tuesday that the team’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot sits at three, based on tiebreakers. Chicago won nine out of 10 from the Tigers in head-to-head competition and has a 23-10 interleague and interdivision record, which are the same this season. Seattle sits at 16-17 and Baltimore has an 11-18 mark.
• Renteria praised Luis Robert’s 10-pitch walk drawn off Taylor Rogers in the eighth inning Monday, helping set up the team’s two-run victory rally.
“It was one of the better at-bats he's had over the course of the last 10-15 at-bats,” Renteria said.
He said it
“Definitely a lot of confidence, but in reality, we haven't really done anything. Yeah, we've got the best record, but that's not putting any trophies in our pocket. That's not doing anything for us. But hopefully, we can keep building off the momentum that we have heading to where we're going.” -- shortstop Tim Anderson