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Confident Lopez turns up heat in uneven debut

MLB.com @RichardJustice

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez allowed a run over two innings in an uneven spring debut in Thursday's 8-7 loss to the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark. He started the game and gave up the run after issuing two walks and a single to the first three hitters he faced.

Lopez said that after three weeks of throwing batting practice and simulated games, the adjustment to competition took some time. However, he settled down and touched 96 mph with his fastball in the second inning.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez allowed a run over two innings in an uneven spring debut in Thursday's 8-7 loss to the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark. He started the game and gave up the run after issuing two walks and a single to the first three hitters he faced.

Lopez said that after three weeks of throwing batting practice and simulated games, the adjustment to competition took some time. However, he settled down and touched 96 mph with his fastball in the second inning.

View Full Game Coverage

"It was a good outing," Lopez said. "I think at the beginning, I felt a little low energy. But the second inning was much better. I felt good. I was more into the rhythm of the game. My velocity right now doesn't matter. What matters about this inning was that I was able to command all my pitches and throw them for strikes."

Lopez, 24, was acquired with right-handers Lucas Giolito and Dane Dunning in the trade that sent center fielder Adam Eaton to the Nationals in December 2016.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Lopez began last season in Triple-A Charlotte and finished it with eight starts for the White Sox, walking 14 and striking out 30 in 47 2/3 innings.

"I feel more comfortable and confident right now," Lopez said. "But at the same time, even though I don't feel I have to prove anything to nobody, I'd just like to show myself that I can get better and that I can improve and still develop as a pitcher and as a baseball player. That's why I always try to find new ways for me to get better and to improve."

Hansen's debut
Right-hander Alec Hansen, who is 6-foot-7, had a rough debut for the White Sox, surrendering three runs in 1 2/3 innings on Thursday. The White Sox No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, was touched for three hits, walked one and struck out three.

Hansen's fastball sat around 91-92 mph, but as White Sox manager Rick Renteria said, "Alec has a really live fastball. You look at the numbers, doesn't seem like much, but the ball gets on top of you. He was a little erratic, but settled down and got through his two innings of work. They were fine for his first outing.

"[His fastball] doesn't play 91-92. It plays 95, 96, 97. When he was throwing, I was thinking of [6-foot-10] Chris Young. It's the angle and release that seem to create more deception."

Video: CWS@CIN: Renteria on Lopez and Hansen's outings

Robert exits
White Sox No. 3 prospect Luis Robert left Thursday's "B" game after being hit in the head on a slap tag at second base. He doubled, grounded out and walked in three at-bats.

"I felt good, comfortable and relaxed at the plate," Robert said. "I don't know what happened on that play. When I was sliding in to second [base], I saw the ball coming at me, and then I just felt the hit to my head. But I'm good. I feel good."

Added Renteria: "He stayed down there for a little bit, rung his bell a little bit. A good strong tag, hit him in the helmet. As soon as I said, 'I'm going to take you out,' he stood up, 'No, you're not.' 'Yeah, we're going to take you out, make sure you're OK.'"

Injury updates
Third baseman Jake Burger on Thursday underwent successful surgery to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon, the team announced. Dr. Simon Lee performed the procedure in Chicago. Burger is expected to return to full baseball activities by 2019 Spring Training.

Video: Burger discusses his season-ending Achilles injury

Outfielder Eloy Jimenez remains sidelined with a sore left knee. "He's improving, but we want to make sure when we put him on the field he's able to keep working and play," Renteria said. "It's just some soreness on top of the knee. We'll know more tomorrow."

Camp battles
Leury Garcia had a solid day in the multi-player competition for the center-field job by reaching base three times with a triple, single and walk.

Up next
Miguel Gonzalez makes his spring debut at 2:05 p.m. CT on Friday against the Dodgers (live on MLB.TV). Gonzalez made 22 starts for the White Sox in 2017 before being dealt to the Rangers.

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

Chicago White Sox, Reynaldo Lopez