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Cease's sharp spring brings 'confidence boost'

White Sox prospect holds Mariners to 1 hit over 3 shutout frames
MLB.com @RichardJustice

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A top prospect the White Sox acquired in the Jose Quintana trade has had a tremendous spring and could be on the fast track to the Major Leagues.

Right-hander Dylan Cease, ranked as Chicago's No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline, pitched three shutout innings in a 4-2 win over the Mariners on Monday night, touching 98 mph in the first inning and striking out four of the first six hitters he faced.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- A top prospect the White Sox acquired in the Jose Quintana trade has had a tremendous spring and could be on the fast track to the Major Leagues.

Right-hander Dylan Cease, ranked as Chicago's No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline, pitched three shutout innings in a 4-2 win over the Mariners on Monday night, touching 98 mph in the first inning and striking out four of the first six hitters he faced.

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In four spring appearances, the 22-year-old has pitched 6 1/3 innings without allowing a run. Cease has allowed three hits, walked three and struck out nine.

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"I feel great," he said. "I feel like I'm getting more comfortable as every start goes on. It's definitely been a really big confidence boost just to see that I can come in, be with these guys. It's fun to see how everyone works and what it takes to be up there."

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He finished last season at Class A Kannapolis, but he appears to have pitched well enough this spring to earn a promotion to Double-A. He said he will check with coaches on Wednesday to find out how many more, if any, Major League appearances he has this spring.

"I'll be leaving the camp feeling good about what I have to work on to keep progressing," he said.

Video: CWS@SEA: Cease sets Ford down on strikes in the 2nd

Star in the making?
Eloy Jimenez might be that magical player a franchise acquires every generation or so if it's lucky. So far, he has given the White Sox no reason to think otherwise.

His talent is the kind that can do more than change games. It can change franchises, change them dramatically. He has reminded the White Sox of that these last three days.

Since returning from a bout with left knee tendinitis, this is what the 21-year-old did in his first six plate appearances:

- Home run

- Home run

- Triple 

- Walk

- Walk

- Single

His streak of reaching base ended at six plate appearances when he struck out in the top of the fifth inning on Monday night. He grounded out in the seventh inning to drop his spring batting average all the way to .571.

Video: ARI@CWS: Jimenez opens scoring with a solo smash

Given that he has never played above Class A, he seems likely to begin the season in Double-A Birmingham, but his track to the Major Leagues could not be faster.

Jimenez also was acquired from the Cubs in last season's Quintana trade. MLB Pipeline has him ranked No. 4 on its Top 100 Prospects list, and on a team with seven players on the list, he's the best of the best.

Good news after collision
The White Sox received positive news on both left fielder Nicky Delmonico and shortstop Tyler Saladino, who were injured in a frightening outfield collision on Sunday.

Delmonico will resume swinging the bat on Wednesday and he said he'll be ready to go Opening Day. Meanwhile, manager Rick Renteria said Saladino is "day to day" after suffering a mild concussion.

Video: Delmonico on his shoulder injury after hard collision

Delmonico underwent an MRI after landing hard on his left shoulder after the collision. He said the MRI showed no damage.

"I feel like I can go out there and play today," he said Monday. "Tomorrow get treatment. Swing the bat Wednesday and see how it feels. I think it was more of a scare than anything else. I went down, and obviously I have a recent injury with my left shoulder. Now everything feels good. I didn't wake up sore. It's good."

As for Saladino, who was at Camelback Ranch for evaluation, Renteria seemed confident he would not be sidelined long-term.

"Tyler is OK," Renteria said. "He came in today. We saw him, he looked good. He said yesterday he was a little shaken. But he feels better than anticipated, I guess, after what occurred. But we're hoping that's also a day-to-day situation. We're very fortunate with both of them."

Worth noting
• Third baseman Matt Davidson doubled and singled on Monday and is hitting .375 this spring.

• Center fielder Adam Engel led off the game with a home run and added another in the ninth, giving him four this spring.

Video: CWS@SEA: Engel belts a pair of homers vs. Mariners

Camp battles
Miguel Gonzalez, competing for a rotation spot, allowed two runs in four innings (47 pitches) Monday morning in a "B" game against the Dodgers. Joakim Soria, Nate Jones and Luis Avilan each pitched one inning.

Next up
The White Sox have Tuesday off, but right-handers James Shields and Michael Kopech will pitch in camp games. The next Cactus League game is at 3:05 p.m. CT Wednesday on the road against the Brewers, with right-hander Carson Fulmer getting his fourth start.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

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