Sox No. 4 prospect Schultz sharp in professional debut

June 4th, 2023

CHICAGO -- The first professional outing for Class A Kannapolis’ Noah Schultz, the No. 4 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, began with Fayetteville’s Zachary Cole doubling to left on Friday night.

The Woodpeckers made very little contact the rest of the evening against Schultz. The 19-year-old struck out five over two innings before he was replaced by Mason Adams in the third.

Schultz was the team’s top pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. He was slowed a bit in Spring Training by a left flexor strain but starting Schultz in June was the organization’s plan all along to help manage his first-year innings.

“Yes, which is good,” Schultz told during Spring Training about his first-year workload management. “First season, have good coaches around me. Great teammates. Just looking forward to the season.”

Early Schultz comparisons to Chris Sale and Randy Johnson -- based on his 6-foot-9 frame, impressive stuff and the lower arm angle of his delivery -- certainly were not altered by his first start.

Working with Liam
Triple-A Charlotte manager Justin Jirschele was talking with Liam Hendriks during the closer’s injury rehab assignment with the Knights when Hendriks came to a startling but humorous realization.

Hendriks is 34 years old, and Jirschele -- his boss for that short time -- was 33.

“He asked me one day during BP what year I was born, and he was not happy to hear I was born in 1990,” Jirschele said with a laugh during a recent phone conversation. “He didn’t go a day after that without letting me know that he was older than me.”

Hendriks struck out five over five innings during his six games with the Knights as he worked his way back following treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But the numbers did not matter compared to Hendriks’ ongoing preparation for an inspiring return.

His first appearance came on May 5 in Gwinnett, and both teams gave Hendriks a standing ovation in front of the dugouts before he threw a pitch.

“It was special,” Jirschele said. “I think it was good for everybody to kind of take a step back and really think about and realize everything he’s been through.

“For the most part, we know Liam as a closer, a pitcher, a serious competitor. To become emotional and take that step back and put things in perspective of what he has gone through and what he continues to go through and where he got himself in a short period of time, it takes your breath away a little bit.”

Hendriks also paid for food trucks three or four times during his injury rehab stint, featuring everything from Mexican food to soul food.

“You know, I joked with him toward the end, ‘You gotta stop because I continue to gain weight while you're here. The food is too good to not eat,’” Jirschele said. “But not only did he buy for our team, but he bought for the umpires, the visiting teams and the entire Charlotte Knights front office. Just an incredible gesture by him multiple times.”

Montgomery making progress
Colson Montgomery, the No. 1 White Sox prospect and No. 27 prospect overall per MLB Pipeline, is doing baseball activities at extended spring training in Arizona and making progress, according to general manager Rick Hahn. The shortstop has yet to get into game action this season due to a mid-back strain.

Ramos returns
Bryan Ramos, the No. 3 White Sox prospect, is 4-for-13 over four games with Double-A Birmingham entering play Sunday. Ramos has one RBI, one stolen base and two runs scored after missing time due to a groin injury.