GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Zack Burdi had the baseball present meet the past during his appearance against the Royals on Tuesday.Salvador Perez, an All-Star catcher the White Sox right-hander has long admired, was at the plate with runners on first and third and one out. The runner on first, Nicky Lopez,
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Zack Burdi had the baseball present meet the past during his appearance against the Royals on Tuesday.
Salvador Perez, an All-Star catcher the White Sox right-hander has long admired, was at the plate with runners on first and third and one out. The runner on first, Nicky Lopez, was a player Burdi had gone against for much of his formative baseball years in the western suburbs of Chicago.
Burdi, the White Sox No. 7 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, struck out Perez swinging and stranded his friend at first, striking out the side in fact. It was a great finishing moment for the hard-throwing right-hander's first big league camp before beginning the 2017 season as Triple-A Charlotte's closer.
"Man, it's been crazy," Burdi said. "Coming in and being the young guy in the locker room, and then just progressing and showing a little bit more comfort around the guys and the veterans, and then just being able to pick their brains and go out every day and try to progress.
"You get to the innings, and you are facing guys you've watched your last 10 years of your life. It has been crazy and definitely something I won't forget."
The goal for Burdi in Charlotte is to take care of what he can control and not worry about outside expectations. His performance in the Cactus League left the White Sox believing his big league time is not too far away.
"Everybody gets excited when you see 99, 100, 101," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "You can't not see the stuff. But you still have to throw it to the glove, command, change speeds, all that stuff. Obviously he's a big part of our future going forward."
"Once you get a feel for all this stuff and you feel how cool it is to be in the locker room with all these guys and play with them, of course you want to get back up here," Burdi said. "But at the same time, a lot of my really good friends are on Charlotte, and I couldn't be more excited to go down there and play with them and make the most of the season down there."
Roster all but set
The White Sox pitching staff will consist of Jose Quintana, James Shields, Derek Holland, Miguel Gonzalez, Dylan Covey, Anthony Swarzak, Player Page for David Robertson, Nate Jones, Zach Putnam, Jake Petricka, Dan Jennings and Michael Ynoa. On the position player side, Matt Davidson, Cody Asche and Rymer Liriano seem to be in a battle for two spots, with Davidson and Asche having the edge.
Jones making a change
Jones has been focused this spring on his changeup, which he only threw 0.6 percent of the time last season according to FanGraphs. He's even adjusted the grip a bit in working on it with Robertson, his throwing partner.
"That's a deadly pitch for anybody," Jones said. "It's just another change of speed and [it] looks just like my fastball. It's something we've talked about and tried to incorporate more into the game. Getting that consistency and getting that good feel for it."
The right-hander threw his fastball last season 63.1 percent of the time, with an average velocity of 96.8 mph, and he threw his slider 35.7 percent of the time.
Third to first
Extra White Sox Minor League players going for the two exhibition games in Milwaukee are infielder Eddy Alvarez, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, left-handers Aaron Bummer and Brian Clark, and right-handers Gregory Infante and Connor Walsh.
Tyler Saladino will be the White Sox starting second baseman as confirmed by manager Rick Renteria.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.