Giolito trimmer, more prepared for Spring Training

Righty eyeing better 2023 campaign; White Sox get crash course on MLB rule changes

February 19th, 2023

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A lean-looking Lucas Giolito came to White Sox Spring Training at 245 pounds. The right-hander arrived for 2022 Spring Training at 280 pounds.

“So, a little different,” said a smiling Giolito.

“His body is in a much better spot than it was last year after everything we went through,” pitching coach Ethan Katz said. “That was the goal to kind of get it back to where it’s been. And you know, he’s in phenomenal shape. His strength numbers are as good as they were last year with all that weight.”

Giolito, 28, posted a 4.90 ERA over 30 starts last season, but he never made excuses for the dismal campaign. He took it instead as big-time motivation to get back to similar form from the previous three seasons, when he was one of the top starting pitchers in the American League.

“I worked really hard in the gym,” Giolito said. “Kind of revamped, just the focus and attention to every little area when it comes to getting my body in the correct shape, so my muscles are strong, loose. I’m able to explode when I want to, and I did a lot of work on the throwing side.

“Getting my mechanics back to a nice, fluid state, getting everything on time and firing correctly. The combination of all that stuff, just worked really hard in the offseason and feel like I’m in a much better and more prepared spot, currently.”

Cutting down on fat and following a healthier diet helped Giolito get to this point. He earned rave reviews from Katz and manager Pedro Grifol after his bullpen session on Saturday.

“Last year there was injuries, there was COVID, there was a bunch of different things,” Katz said. “Everything he was trying to do, he was trying to correct while trying to compete at the Major League level which is very hard. Right now, he has a clean slate.”

“My pitches are in a lot better spot than last year, but in general my body just feels better,” Giolito said. “I feel like I can go out and get after it with all my pitches.”

Know the rules
The White Sox held a meeting Saturday morning to go over the rule changes being employed by Major League Baseball this season.

“Disengagements were a hot topic,” said Grifol, referring to pitchers getting two pickoff attempts or step-offs per batter, with violations resulting in a balk. “The clock is what it is. Guys will get used to that. There were some questions about that, but the disengagements were a hot topic.

“You only have two of them. The third one, you better make an out or it’s a balk and depending on where the runners are it can cost you a run. That was one we spent some time on. We have a lot of games here in the spring and we’ll hopefully touch every little thing we need to touch before we embark to Houston.”

Proof is in the play
Katz hasn’t paid attention to preseason predictions selling the White Sox short in the win column.

“Whatever, honestly. I don't care. Project whatever, we've got to play games,” Katz said. “There's a lot of teams that have done really well and the projections weren't good, and a lot of teams that were projected to do well and didn't do well.

“We've got to play 162 games. Our guys will be ready and play hard and give everything we have, and at the end of the day, hopefully we're in a really good spot.”

Third to first
• Grifol praised reliever Jose Ruiz, who touched 95 mph and featured a good sinker during his live BP.

• Lance Lynn will build up to four innings with the White Sox before he embarks for the World Baseball Classic, so he can pitch four to five innings for Team USA.