Engel (hamstring) will be out a couple weeks

Rodón tosses 4 dominant innings; López's offspeed stuff keeps improving

March 22nd, 2021

Adam Engel’s right hamstring strain, sustained during Saturday’s win over Cleveland, will keep the White Sox outfielder out of action for at least a couple weeks, manager Tony La Russa said Sunday.

“Hopefully, not longer,” La Russa said. “But we’ll see."

Engel entered Saturday’s game as a replacement for Eloy Jiménez in the seventh inning. The injury came in the eighth when Engel made a running catch on Bradley Zimmer’s sacrifice fly to center. Engel threw home before falling to the ground and staying down for a few seconds. He then limped off the field.

“Well, he made an absolutely great play on a short fly ball,” La Russa said. “He got a great jump, went all out for it and caught it. One of the things that caused the hamstring, the strain, was he made kind of an acrobatic move as he caught it to make the throw to the plate. So they are examining it now. He’s in great shape. He’s a fast healer.”

In Cactus League games on Thursday and Friday, Engel had five combined extra-base hits. He came a single short of the cycle Thursday and homered in both games. Engel has always had exceptional value from his Gold Glove-caliber defense across the outfield, but his offensive side has developed as well, and he’s especially tough against left-handed pitchers.

“It’s not a good break for us. Adam does so much, and he was really coming,” La Russa said. “It’s a tough time to pull the plug on it, but he knows what he was working on, and when he comes back, he’ll be ready to go.”

Rodón knocks down D-backs
Carlos Rodón tossed four scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out five, in a 4-4 tie against the D-backs on Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz. He's now pitched nine scoreless frames in Cactus League play, allowing four hits and striking out 10 in three games (two starts), to further push his bid for one of the final two spots in the White Sox rotation.

But Rodón isn’t ready to get on the campaign trail.

“Listen, that’s what they have to figure out. I just go out there and pitch. Whatever happens, whatever role I’m in, I’m in,” Rodón said. “It was good. Good outing, we attacked and just got outs.”

Rodón threw 49 pitches, focusing on his four-seam fastball, which he used 26 times and got 11 swings and five whiffs on, per Baseball Savant, to go with his slider and changeup. Having command of the four-seamer allows other pitches to play off it and “makes all my pitches better,” Rodón said.

Being healthy also makes a difference for the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 MLB Draft.

“Obviously, No. 1, it’s health. When you feel good, obviously you can play well,” Rodón said. “No. 2 is the work we’ve put in. … My close group, including [pitching coach Ethan] Katz and the guys back home, to get me to this point and to become more consistent as a pitcher. Those two things together have got me this far.

“Now, we’ve just got to keep going. As a competitor, as a professional athlete, anybody who does this for a living, they’re always going to have confidence in themselves. And if they don’t, they probably shouldn’t be playing professional sports.”

López finding his offspeed
The results weren’t perfect for Reynaldo López on Sunday, as he allowed four runs in three innings of relief, which included giving up a two-run home run to Nick Ahmed. But the right-hander still feels good on the mound, especially with his offspeed pitches.

“All my breaking pitches are better than last year,” López said through an interpreter. “For example, last year, I wasn’t using my curveball because I lost my confidence in that pitch.

“This year, I’ve been throwing the curveball a lot. I’ve regained the confidence in my curveball, and I’ve been throwing it early in the count. I’ve been throwing it for strikes, and that’s good. I’ve been using my curveball as a strikeout pitch or an out pitch, and that’s good.”

Third to first
• Catcher Yasmani Grandal had the day off on Sunday and will be back behind the plate on Monday against the Giants at Camelback Ranch. Grandal has been working back from a twisted right knee sustained on Feb. 24 during running drills and responded well to catching Saturday.

“We're encouraged,” La Russa said. “He's taken game at-bats, and [Saturday], he caught. We're encouraged because he's held up very well and had no setbacks.”

• The White Sox claimed left-hander Nik Turley off waivers from the A's. To make room for Turley on the 40-man roster, right-hander Jimmy Cordero was placed on the 60-day injured list. Cordero underwent successful Tommy John surgery on March 18.

• Left-hander Garrett Crochet struck out two in a scoreless eighth against Arizona.

• Tim Beckham made his first White Sox appearance of Spring Training on Sunday. He pinch-hit for Andrew Vaughn in the ninth, drew a walk and scored during a four-run frame.

He said It
“About my role, I don’t know. I just have to keep working and keep improving. I could be in the rotation or the bullpen, that’s something I can’t control. I just want to help the team and be part of the team." -- López, on his spot with the team