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White Sox notes: Giolito, Moncada, Kopech

@scottmerkin
July 13, 2020

CHICAGO -- Lucas Giolito seemed very satisfied with his four-inning start during the White Sox intrasquad game Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field. His only issue was a 27-pitch first inning, which he settled down from quickly. “I’ve got to come out with a little bit more sense of urgency,” Giolito

CHICAGO -- Lucas Giolito seemed very satisfied with his four-inning start during the White Sox intrasquad game Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field. His only issue was a 27-pitch first inning, which he settled down from quickly.

“I’ve got to come out with a little bit more sense of urgency,” Giolito said. “A little better rhythm and tempo, which we did find going into the second, third and fourth innings. But yeah, I mean, the emphasis has been working on my breaking balls. Today was more of a curveball practice day, just throwing a lot more curveballs than I usually would in a start, and in counts that I usually wouldn’t throw them.

“I thought today, the way I was throwing my heater and my changeup was one of those days where I could really rely on just those two pitches to get through the outing. [Yasmani Grandal] wanted to have an emphasis on the breaking ball and mixing more of those in, so that’s what we did.”

White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing, filling in for manager Rick Renteria who left Thursday for California for a family funeral, thought his team’s projected Opening Day starter could have gone back out for the fifth. But they wanted Giolito to exit with a feeling of success, and of not being overworked.

“Stamina was there throughout,” McEwing said. “He attacked the zone with all four pitches and did an outstanding job.”

“I’m trying to go out there and to the best of my ability, treat it like a big league start during the regular season,” Giolito said. “You have to prepare for that if you want to be successful in those situations. Even though I’m facing a bunch of teammates, I’m going out there and trying to make pitches like I would in a regular-season game.”

Practice makes perfect
The White Sox put a runner on second to start the sixth inning in Monday’s contest, practicing for this extra-inning situation under the new rule for the 2020 season. They played through the situation with Jimmy Cordero on the mound and Luis Basabe bunting the runner over to third.

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Steve Cishek replaced Cordero to face Nicky Delmonico, who drove home the run with a two-out single.

“I’m from the old-school mentality of letting it all play out; let’s see how it all plays out,” said McEwing of the new rule. “But if we’re put in a situation, we’re going to work on it.

“We’re not going to go out there for the first time once the season starts and run through it. We were able to create a couple of situations today with individuals that are going to be up in that situation.”

Could Moncada be ready for Opening Day?
McEwing said nothing was new concerning Yoán Moncada, placed on the 10-day injured list Friday with no specific reason given by the team. But McEwing believes Moncada still could return in time to be ready for Opening Day on July 24.

“When he gets back, we'll see where he's at as far as where his legs are at,” McEwing said. “Special talent like that, won't take too long.”

Kopech missed and supported
Michael Kopech’s electric stuff on the mound will be missed during the 2020 season, as the right-hander has elected not to participate in this campaign. But Giolito certainly understands Kopech’s decision.

“We as a team, as an organization, especially us as players, we support Michael in everything he’s going through,” Giolito said. “It’s just one of those things ... and it’s a very strange season to begin with.

“It is what it is, and yeah, I think the depth we have starting-pitching-wise is great. Guys in the bullpen have been looking fantastic; some of the new additions as well. So, it [stinks] not having him. But he’s going to come back strong, ready to compete next season. We just keep moving forward.”

Third to first
• Three umpires were used for Monday’s six-inning contest, taking the balls and strikes duties away from the White Sox catchers.

“It's always better when you have the umpire back there. You don't have to wait [to find out the result of the pitch],” Giolito said. “You throw a pitch, and you're like, ‘What was that? Was that a strike? A ball?’ It helps with the pacing. It helps with the rhythm and tempo, which I feel we built that up. As the outing went on, the rhythm and tempo got better and better.”

• Giolito wore a red mitt Monday and plans to use it on Sunday home games when the White Sox sport their throwback uniforms with red and navy blue.

“My glove's got red and navy blue,” Giolito said. “I just wanted to add a bit more flair to what I usually use. Today I was just using it to get used to it, break it in more.”

• Reliever Aaron Bummer will start during Tuesday morning’s intrasquad game that's scheduled for three innings. Dallas Keuchel gets the start Wednesday when the White Sox play their first intrasquad night game.

They said it
“I love the fans. I know Chicago fans love me. They want me to play here in Chicago. The only thing I want to say is, 'Just wait. Wait for the team, wait for everybody.' When they give me the opportunity, I promise I want to do the best for me, for my fans.” -- Yermin Mercedes, on being a sort of cult hero with White Sox fans

“If I went out there, I would probably throw, but I might not get back off the mound because they might hit a couple homers off me. I am going to stay off the bump if I can.” -- Andrew Vaughn, the White Sox No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, who pitched in his younger days but doesn’t intend to take that skill to the Majors

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.