Giolito bulks up in hopes for healthier 2022 season

Harrison a multi-tasker; Velasquez all about communication; Hahn feels good about offense

March 16th, 2022

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Here are five takeaways from Tuesday’s Spring Training action for the White Sox.

Giolito gains mass
Lucas Giolito, the team’s Opening Day starting pitcher in each of the previous two seasons, added 20 pounds during this extended offseason.

“Kind of bolstered up my weightlifting routine, put on some mass,” Giolito said following Tuesday’s workout at Camelback Ranch. “For me, it kind of puts me in a position where, I'm already very tall, but now I have more stability, more strength.

“Especially with the last couple years having those minor [health issues], the hamstrings. Just having that strength and stability surrounding it so that I can feel strong and at the end of the day, pitch to the best of my ability and maintain health throughout the season.”

If the extra strength -- noticeable in Giolito’s upper body and legs -- brings on extra velocity, that’s great for the right-hander. But he already likes how he works with the given repertoire.

“I didn't go into the offseason like, ‘Oh, I want to go out and throw 100,’” Giolito said. “It's just a matter of, as I progress throughout my career, getting stronger, finding the areas that need to be tightened up and tightening them up. A big one for me was putting on a little more mass and having that stable body.”

Giolito is scheduled for “three ups” on Wednesday, when he works off the mound against hitters for the first time in camp. He had already built up on his own with live bullpen sessions coming into Spring Training.

Play Ball!
Manager Tony La Russa had two lineup cards in his hands when talking to the media on Tuesday, featuring the players who will take part in Thursday’s split-squad action against the Cubs in Glendale and Mesa, Ariz.

“It’s in pencil,” La Russa said with a smile.

“Guys have said they’re ready to play,” La Russa continued. “They have to get the official OK from the trainer as far as arm and legs, but there are guys like [Gavin] Sheets and [Andrew] Vaughn, [Jake] Burger, [Danny] Mendick, [Romy] Gonzalez have all said they’re ready to play. So, they’re in there, one of the two places.”

Some of the players from the Minor League minicamp also will be in action against the Cubs.

Harrison, the multi-tasker
The past three months were geared toward fatherly duties for Josh Harrison, the new White Sox second baseman. But the past three days? Well, things got quite a bit busier.

“Last three months was all right, Daddy Uber,” Harrison said. “Drop my kids off to school and get my workout in, go home and go pick up my kids.”

Harrison was in Gatlinburg, Tenn., for his daughter’s dance competition when his free agency started to hit full stride.

“So, I was a dance dad over the weekend when I was fielding calls. That was hectic,” said Harrison, who has two daughters, ages 8 and 4. “It was, ‘Hold on I need to take this call.’ ‘OK, I have to hang up because my daughter is about to go on stage.’

“I don’t want to say I’ve been through this before, but I have. When I signed with Detroit in ’19, I think I had three weeks to prepare. Games had started when I signed. It’s not an unfamiliar territory for me. I’m always ready to play. But hectic three months? No. The past three days? Yes.”

Velasquez’s new environs
Right-hander Vince Velasquez is all about transparency and likes the interactions and communication he’s had since joining the White Sox as a free agent.

“I’m all about having open communication and getting on the same terms of what we’re trying to attack here,” Velasquez said. “I just think right off the bat, we’re trying to accomplish some goals.

“Even though we have three weeks, we’ve got to find something to attack and get ready for it as soon as possible. The mindset coming into this is just having a clean slate, and also having that transparency of knowing what to attack and how to get better.”

Championship offense?
The White Sox have a championship-caliber offense as currently constructed, per general manager Rick Hahn.

“At this time, it can be, absolutely,” Hahn said. “It’s going to require some growth from our young guys if this is the group we go with in three weeks or three months or six months when the playoffs start.

“But certainly, we feel good about what we are capable of doing offensively today. It doesn’t mean we won’t continue to look at ways to potentially get better, but yeah, we feel good about this group.”

He said it
“You can’t have the opening meeting until Pito is here.” -- La Russa, who gave his opening comments after José Abreu arrived in camp on Tuesday