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Zavala called up with Castillo on family leave

White Sox purchase Skole's contract; Top prospect Robert named Minor League Player of the Month
@paul_casella
August 3, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- The White Sox placed catcher Welington Castillo on the family medical emergency leave list prior to Friday's series opener against the Phillies, and recalled catcher Seby Zavala from Triple-A Charlotte in a corresponding move. The club also purchased the contract of infielder Matt Skole on Friday after optioning

PHILADELPHIA -- The White Sox placed catcher Welington Castillo on the family medical emergency leave list prior to Friday's series opener against the Phillies, and recalled catcher Seby Zavala from Triple-A Charlotte in a corresponding move.

The club also purchased the contract of infielder Matt Skole on Friday after optioning AJ Reed to Charlotte following Thursday's loss to the Mets.

Castillo must remain on leave for a minimum of three days, but can stay on the list for up to seven. With that in mind, manager Rick Renteria said it made more sense to call up Zavala -- the club's No. 26 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline -- than No. 11-ranked prospect Zack Collins. Though Collins hit just .077 in his stint with the White Sox from June 19-July 15, he entered Friday hitting .383 with a 1.048 OPS and 16 RBIs in 13 games since returning to Charlotte.

"It's hopefully a very short stint for Wely," said Renteria, while adding that Zavala is expected to start either Saturday or Sunday behind the plate. "Just made sense, so it wouldn’t disrupt Zack's continued work to get him here. Just continue to work, continue to play."

As for Skole, this marks the second big league stint for the 30-year-old first baseman. He homered in his Major League debut on May 28 last season, though he played in just four games before returning to the Minors. Skole came into Friday's 4-3 win over the Phillies as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, hitting a game-tying RBI single which forced extra innings.

"So happy, feeling never changes," Skole said. "It's the same feeling, same exact feeling."

The plan is to use Skole the same way the club was using Reed -- mixing him in as a designated hitter, while also getting him some time at first base.

"He’s been doing a nice job down in the Minor Leagues for us," Renteria said. "He’s been grinding it out, basically paying his dues and doing a lot of things for us. So hopefully we can take advantage of his at-bats. He puts together really good at-bats, has some pop and can put the ball in some gaps."

Skole's numbers are up across the board this season at Charlotte, where he's hit 21 homers and has a .384 on-base percentage, thanks in part to the fact that he's drawn an International League-leading 70 walks in 92 games. Along with the boost in free passes, Skole's increased patience at the plate has helped him make the most of the balls he actually puts in play.

"It’s just kind of maturing. When you get good pitches to hit, you don’t want to miss them," Skole said. "When you’re younger, you’re swinging too hard or you’re not swinging enough or you’re swinging too much, but I think it’s just discipline. Day in, day out, coming to the park ready with a game plan each day and executing that more often than not."

Robert still raking

White Sox top prospect Luis Robert was named the club's Minor League Player of the Month for July. It's the third time this season that Robert has earned the monthly honor.

Robert, MLB's No. 5 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, hit .330 with seven homers and 17 RBIs over 23 games in July between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. He also flashed his speed by legging out three triples and swiping 10 bases.

The 21-year-old outfielder entered Friday hitting .329 with six homers in 19 games since being promoted to Charlotte on July 9. He made an immediate splash in his Triple-A debut two days later, going 3-for-5 with a pair of homers and seven RBIs. Overall, Robert is hitting .345 with a 1.029 OPS and 22 homers in 94 games across three levels of the Minors this season.

The White Sox also named left-hander Matt Tomshaw the Minor League Pitcher of the Month for July. Tomshaw, 30, posted a 1.07 ERA over five July starts, while racking up 41 strikeouts over 33 2/3 innings for Birmingham. The southpaw tossed 25 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, spanning those five outings.

News and notes

• Right-hander Kelvin Herrera, on the injured list since July 18 with a right oblique strain, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday.

• The White Sox released Minor League shortstop Alcides Escobar from the organization. Escobar hit .286 with 10 homers and 70 RBIs in 96 games with Charlotte.

Paul Casella is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.