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Giolito showcases increased velocity in debut

Right-hander pitches two innings vs. Rangers on Wednesday
MLB.com @RichardJustice

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito discussed his first spring start Wednesday afternoon, he kept taking peeks at the clubhouse television to see how teammate Dylan Cease was doing in the team's 5-4 win over the Rangers.

The White Sox are rolling out the young arms this spring, allowing them to get a feel for the Major Leagues, and in doing so, giving fans an opportunity to see why the franchise's future is so bright.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito discussed his first spring start Wednesday afternoon, he kept taking peeks at the clubhouse television to see how teammate Dylan Cease was doing in the team's 5-4 win over the Rangers.

The White Sox are rolling out the young arms this spring, allowing them to get a feel for the Major Leagues, and in doing so, giving fans an opportunity to see why the franchise's future is so bright.

View Full Game Coverage

Three White Sox right-handers -- Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen and Cease -- are among MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects. If things work out the way the White Sox think they might, they could all be in the Major Leagues at some point during the next 18 months.

Along with Carson Fulmer, Reynaldo Lopez and Giolito, the White Sox could have the framework of a terrific rotation.

Video: TEX@CWS: Giolito discusses spring debut vs. Rangers

Giolito had a 95-mph fastball on display Wednesday during a two-inning stint in which he allowed two runs (one earned), walked two and struck out one.

"I'd say that, for the first outing, it was pretty solid," Giolito said. "Some of my pitches were working really well. I know what I did wrong on a few. It was a little fast, first one out, a little adrenaline going, working a little too fast. Good one to build off of, a lot to take away and build on for the next one."

Giolito, 23, made seven starts for the White Sox late last season, and he was as good as advertised, allowing less than a baserunner per inning (0.949) and compiling a 2.38 ERA.

Video: Giolito and Fulmer on the youth of the White Sox

Giolito's mission this spring is to build off that experience and to continue to polish his secondary pitches, especially his curveball. His fastball averaged 92 mph, and Giolito hopes for a bit more than that in 2018.

"I'm hoping that'll be more the norm, throw some 95's in there, start sitting a little bit of a higher velocity," Giolito said. "I feel like I'm using my body a little bit better than I was last year. But at the same time, I did get a little out of sync today. So I'm going to keep working on that."

Cease closes it out
Cease got the final four outs and was credited with the victory, as the White Sox scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth, including a two-run homer by Jose Abreu.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Cease entered the game with two outs in the top of the eighth inning and struck out Rangers second baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa on three pitches. He allowed a single in the ninth, but then picked the runner off.

Hansen set for spring debut
Control his nerves? Hansen, 23, isn't sure that's possible as he prepares to make his first spring appearance -- and his first in a Major League uniform -- Thursday against the Reds.

"I don't know if you can," Hansen said. "You can try all you want, and I think that probably just makes it worse."

Hansen is 6-foot-7 with a fastball that sits at 94-97 mph, a hard slider, a curveball and a work-in-progress changeup. As MLB Pipeline says, "Hansen could be the steal of the 2016 Draft."

Video: Top prospect Hansen primed, ready for spring debut

MLB Pipeline has Hansen ranked No. 54 overall and No. 6 in the White Sox system. His challenge is controlling his electric stuff, and as he said, "That's the thing I've worked on my whole life, and the thing I want to prove."

Hansen finished last season with Double-A Birmingham, and he will likely start the 2018 campaign there. But like Kopech and Cease, he's on a fast track to the Majors.

Injury updates
Minor League outfielder Micker Adolfo is ready for pinch-hit or DH duty in a Cactus League game. He was diagnosed with two elbow ligament tears last week, but he can swing a bat without pain. The White Sox are hoping to avoid season-ending surgery.

"We feel very good about where he's at right now," manager Rick Renteria said.

Camp battles
Competition for available bullpen spots is just getting started. Among those aiming for a job is right-hander Jeanmar Gomez, a non-roster invitee who has made 273 Major League appearances for three teams.

"All of them just have to continue to do what they're doing, throw strikes, attack the strike zone," Renteria said. "[Gomez's] off-speed and secondary pitches are working very, very well. I think we have a lot of guys that are probably going to do reasonably well, so we'll ultimately have to have a difficult decision to make."

Up next
Lopez makes his first start of Spring Training when the White Sox travel to Goodyear Ballpark to face the Reds on Thursday at 2:05 p.m. CT.

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

Chicago White Sox, Lucas Giolito