Notes: Encarnación injury, rainout, Kopech

March 11th, 2020

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox designated hitter is taking a few days off, this time because of a sore right hip, but he is expected to resume swinging after Thursday’s team off-day.

The veteran remains on track for Opening Day on March 26 against the Royals.

“For all the torque that he creates, they're just making sure they continue to immobilize him and get him back on track,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “I think we have him swinging again after we come off the off-day to get him back on track, and then we'll work toward getting him back in there. We should be able to get him quite a few games before we leave here healthily and moving in the right direction for him.”

This week’s ailment marks the second time Encarnación has been slowed this spring. He was scratched from the game against the Mariners on Feb. 27 because of a back issue. He resumed play on March 3.

“There's nothing wrong with his back, thankfully,” Renteria said. “Knock on wood.”

Encarnación, 37, went 0-for-3 against with two strikeouts against the Royals in his last game Sunday. Overall, he is hitless with eight strikeouts in 15 at-bats, a span of six Cactus League games. That said, the slugger’s recent history shows that he doesn’t need many Spring Training at-bats to be ready for the season. He had only 33 at-bats in big league Spring Training games with Seattle last season and has averaged about 43 at-bats in each of the last three springs.

The club has the option of using , and at designated hitter if Encarnación starts the season on the injured list.

Wednesday’s game against the Rockies at Salt River Fields was cancelled because of the rain, but the White Sox were still able to have a productive morning.

“We were in the cages, [what] it just kept us from doing was taking ground balls in the half field and maybe getting the pitchers to do some PFPs,” Renteria said. “Other than that, we were scheduled to work in the cages today as it was.”

, and were all scheduled to pitch Wednesday against the Rockies. Renteria said his pitchers and hitters would work out at the club’s facility in the event of a rainout.

Kopech on track
, who returned to action from Tommy John surgery and rehab on Tuesday with several fastballs hitting 100 mph or greater, is scheduled to pitch again Sunday and will pitch every five days, Renteria reiterated Wednesday.

The club will not alter Kopech’s road to recovery and he will not break camp with the big league team.

“All it did was validate that he’s healthy,” the manager said. “He still has to get out there, back on the mound. He lost a whole year of performing and competing. Another year for life for him and maturity has certainly played a really good role for him.

"He’s still on the same path that he always has been. He’s working to put himself back here at the Major League level, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure he follows the process that’s been going to be laid out for him.”

Roster moves
The White Sox made a series of roster moves Wednesday. The club optioned catcher to Triple-A Charlotte, while right-handed pitcher , left-handed pitcher and outfielders , and were optioned to Double-A Birmingham. The team also reassigned right-handed pitchers and , as well as left-handed pitchers , and Matt Tomshaw to Minor League camp.

The White Sox now have 49 players remaining in big league camp.

White Sox continue to monitor coronavirus
The White Sox addressed their upcoming spring and regular-season schedule amid concerns about the coronavirus in a statement on Wednesday:

“Obviously, this is a quickly evolving, very fluid situation. The White Sox, like the other 29 teams, remain in daily contact with Major League Baseball, which also is communicating with the CDC, WHO, other sports leagues, as well as local, state and federal authorities. Any decisions about our schedule, both in the spring and regular season, or venue changes will be made by MLB, and while there is understandably a lot of speculation going on right now, any direct discussion of cancellations or venue changes for the White Sox would be premature. Thankfully, we do have some time remaining before Opening Day and will continue to work with MLB to keep our fans informed of any changes to future plans should circumstances require. For both MLB and the White Sox, the health and safety of our players, staff, employees and fans remains a top-most concern.”

Up next
The White Sox have a scheduled day off Thursday. The club will resume play Friday against the Cubs at Camelback Ranch at 3:05 p.m. CT, with on the mound for the South Siders, available live on MLB.TV.