Cease (11 K's) gets 'confidence booster'

White Sox right-hander goes 5 1/3 in spring finale; Giolito mixes it up

March 31st, 2021

's final tuneup before the start of the regular season was a success.

On Tuesday afternoon, the White Sox right-hander struck out 11 over 5 1/3 innings in Chicago's 2-1 loss to the Rockies in the Cactus League finale at Salt River Fields. Cease, who is on track to start the fourth game of the season against the Angels on Sunday in Anaheim, allowed one run on six hits with no walks.

“At the end of the day, I try not to get too high and too low, but having more outings like this, as opposed to poor outings, is definitely a confidence booster,” Cease said. “I feel truly ready to go.”

Cease’s lone blemish was a home run by Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron in the second inning.

Giolito mixing it up

Right-hander Lucas Giolito will have a familiar weapon, but a new approach when he takes the mound on Opening Day against the Angels on Thursday.

In each of his last two seasons, the White Sox ace has thrown his fastball at least 50 percent of the time. He threw a changeup 34 percent of the time in 2020 and 26 percent in '19.

“The priority for him was getting his slider more consistent, and now, I think he really was able to tee it up to Spring Training,” pitching coach Ethan Katz said. “Now, teams are going to have to honor his three-pitch mix instead of just the fastball-changeup combination. He’s where we want him to be, so we go from here.”

Giolito has thrown his slider 14.7 percent of the time in each of the previous two seasons, but expect that percentage to increase in 2021. It’s also worth noting that only 12 of his 1,214 pitches thrown last season were curveballs.

Dallas Keuchel, Lance Lynn, Cease, and Carlos Rodón will follow Giolito in the rotation. Liam Hendriks, Aaron Bummer, Garrett Crochet, Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer, Matt Foster, Michael Kopech and José Ruiz comprise the bullpen.

“I think we're going into the season in a good spot,” Katz said. “The starters have had a very nice Spring Training. The relievers have all got their work in and all bounced back great. I feel like we are in a really good spot from top to bottom. Now, it’s go time.”

Worth noting

• The White Sox signed infielder Jake Lamb on a Major League deal and left-handed pitcher Nik Turley was designated for assignment prior to Tuesday’s game.

Lamb, 30, who spent parts of seven seasons with the D-backs and A's, has a career batting average of .239 with 101 doubles, 21 triples, 84 home runs, 312 RBIs and 290 runs scored in 609 games. He was a National League All-Star in 2017.

As for Turley, he made just one Cactus League appearance with the White Sox after being claimed off waivers from Oakland on March 21.

Additionally, the club optioned infielder Danny Mendick to the alternate training site. The White Sox also reassigned right-hander Ryan Burr, infielders Tim Beckham, Zach Remillard and Matt Reynolds, along with outfielder Nick Williams, to Minor League camp. Veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy was also released.

• Outfielder Eloy Jiménez (ruptured left pec) was scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday. Jiménez will be out of action for five to six months.