The season-opening three-game home series for the White Sox this past weekend didn’t exactly represent the best message sent of impending contention to the defending American League Central champion Twins.
Minnesota scored 27 runs in 27 innings, giving the White Sox the worst ERA in the Majors through a 1-2 start. But this competition marked only three of 10 scheduled games between the two teams in 2020, providing the young White Sox a good learning experience and chance for growth.
“Even though there were just three games, I think everybody knows and we know that we didn’t play our best baseball this past weekend,” White Sox first baseman José Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo in an interview with MLB.com. “We are a better team than what we showed this past weekend.
“Our pitchers are going to get better because they are very talented, and I believe in them and I trust them. The offense, the hitters, are going to take better at-bats. They are going to have a better performance. I think overall, our team is just going to get better.”
White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing acknowledged the Twins are a very good ballclub. He added the White Sox better understand the team they need to be within their division coming off opening weekend.
“Make the proper adjustments moving forward and learning from what happened in the past,” McEwing said. “This club, inside that clubhouse, is very resourceful to make those adjustments.”
“What happened this past weekend, it already happened,” Abreu said. “It’s not in our mind. It’s not something that’s going to hold us back. But it’s definitely a call for us to push harder, to do the things we know we can do because we are a good team. We are going to show that. We are going to be good.”
White Sox manager Rick Renteria was not part of the Tuesday afternoon pregame media Zoom, with McEwing filling in for that session. But Renteria was cleared through Major League Baseball protocol and back at Progressive Field for batting practice prior to the start of Tuesday’s doubleheader against Cleveland. He managed both games.
Renteria awoke Monday morning with a slight cough and nasal congestion, per a statement from general manager Rick Hahn released by the team. After consulting with team doctors, Renteria underwent precautionary testing at a Cleveland hospital. He was to remain at the team hotel for Monday’s game, but it was postponed due to inclement weather.
“They have the protocol in place,” Renteria said after Tuesday’s 4-3 loss in Game 1 of the doubleheader. “I had a stuffy and runny nose. I was coughing. We have our intake questions that they asked us. Obviously, they are consulting with our doctor in Chicago, and they said, 'Make sure that you get checked out before you get back on the field.'
“So everybody followed protocol that was required. We were able to thankfully test, and it showed negatively that I was OK. Thank God it’s just a natural household chest cold.”
Despite Renteria’s health situation and what’s transpiring in relation to the Marlins, the White Sox are trying to stay focused on baseball.
“Guys are focused on what we can control here,” McEwing said. “Taking the right precautions, safety measures to put ourselves in the best position to go out and compete here in Cleveland. Guys are focused and preparing to go out and play today.”
Eloy Jiménez remains day to day after experiencing lightheadedness and leaving in the second inning of Sunday’s loss to the Twins. Jiménez ran into the left-field wall while chasing Jake Cave’s grand slam in the first and was down on Guaranteed Rate Field for a few minutes after the collision.
“He’s going to go through all activities today: BP, throwing, running,” McEwing said, “and we’ll see how he feels afterwards and reevaluate after he goes through it.”
They said It
"It feels amazing. I can’t really describe it. It’s better than getting called up the first time. I had to put in a lot of work just to get back to here. It feels great.” -- Reliever Ian Hamilton, who returned to the White Sox Monday after battling through a shoulder issue early in 2019 and then having his season end when he was hit in the face by a line drive in Triple-A Charlotte’s dugout and sustained multiple facial fractures
“You don’t want to tame that tiger. You want to let him go. That’s the communication aspect of it that we worked on and will continue to work on throughout. We want him to go after everything.” -- McEwing, on not restricting the immense amount of ground Luis Robert covers defensively in center