Shields sharp in first Minors rehab outing

Righty impresses coaches, managers with pitch command at Triple-A

June 4th, 2017

DETROIT -- ' first Minor League outing since 2006 was a successful one, as the veteran right-hander allowed one earned run over four innings and 54 pitches for Triple-A Charlotte while striking out three Saturday night at Buffalo.

The right-handed hurler has been sidelined by a right lat strain since April 17, but appears to be making strides toward a Major League return from his first career trip to the disabled list.

"Good stuff," said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper of Shields' rehab effort. "Next time, who knows what we are going to do? We are still going to talk about that, as far as innings and pitches.

"Commanded the fastball down to both sides. I also talked to [Charlotte pitching coach Steve] McCatty, and he verified what Shields was saying. Threw some good curveballs and changeups. His change has always been a big pitch for him. He had a real nice first one."

Cooper gives credit to Shields for "killing the conditioning program while he was hurt."

"When he first started throwing and getting on the mound, it was like, 'Holy cow, this is like he picked up from where he left off as far as throwing the ball,''" Cooper said. "His conditioning really allowed him to hit the ground running.

"He's going a little stir-crazy. He's never been on the disabled list before. We were fooling around last night, and he said he thinks he's ready for The Show.

"I told him he needs more seasoning," a smiling Cooper said. "I said, 'If you keep up the good work, maybe you will get called back to the Majors.' He's anxious, but we've taken the time, and he's done everything he had to. A little more patience is involved, but he should be back here before you know it."

Shields, who was acquired from the Padres one year ago Sunday while the White Sox also were in Detroit, has a 1-0 record with a 1.62 ERA over three starts this season.

"Everybody is pretty happy with his outing. We're progressing positively, and we'll continue to see how it goes," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "We have a short-term and long-term idea of what he's going to do. There's a standard that Coop and everybody in the organization has."