Notes: Mazara to IL; Rodón gets emotional

July 23rd, 2020

CHICAGO -- White Sox right fielder was placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday and is expected to miss the start of the 2020 regular season.

No reason was given for the powerful left-handed hitter being taken out of action, aside from White Sox manager Rick Renteria speaking the past few days about Mazara feeling under the weather. The White Sox looked at Mazara as an everyday player, though his splits against left-handed pitching were not as strong as when he faced righties.

“He was doing well,” Renteria said. “He put in his time in Arizona. He continued to stay active [during] the shutdown that we had. ... Obviously, doing everything as safely as possible and was progressing well. So, he’s a young man who is going to be extremely helpful to us. The sooner we get him back the better.”

Renteria certainly has options in Mazara’s absence.

Nicky Delmonico, who has played third, first, second and left during Summer Camp action, started in right field for Wednesday night’s exhibition against the Brewers at Guaranteed Rate Field. Adam Engel and his Gold Glove Award-caliber defense was looked at as the team’s fourth outfielder, but he could be the right-handed-hitting platoon with Delmonico to open the season.

“Everybody wants to be an everyday guy. Everybody wants to be the main contributor,” Engel said. “Everybody wants to be able to have that kind of responsibility, and that's what we all work for. One thing that I've learned is being that guy off the bench on and off the last few years, you prepare like you're a starter and you're always ready to start and you always get those reps.”

Leury García is projected as the team’s Opening Day second baseman, but he certainly could move to right field. That switch also could open up a roster spot for Nick Madrigal, the team’s No. 4 prospect, per MLB Pipeline.

“Without telling you what our roster shakeup is going to be, just know we've got guys in camp here,” Renteria said. “You know one of them will be in right field for us. We'll have somebody. If the question is, 'Do we have options?' Yes, we do have options. We're comfortable with the options we have and we're going to proceed with those options.”

Rodón gets emotional
Carlos Rodón
has truly battled adversity for the first time in his life, by the left-hander’s own admission, fighting his way back from arthroscopic shoulder surgery in 2017 and Tommy John surgery last May 15. So, it was understandable to see the southpaw tear up and became emotional after throwing five innings in Chicago's 5-3 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday, its final exhibition before the regular season. Rodón actually left the Zoom setup for a few moments before coming back to finish the interview.

“I think about this every day. I've gone through a few things, granted [it's] in the sports world. People have gone through a lot more in the real world,” Rodón said.

“To be honest, I never had to deal with much adversity growing up. I was fortunate. My parents provided everything for me. I had a great childhood. Played baseball through all of high school, got drafted out of high school, didn't sign, became a great pitcher at NC State and waltzed into the big leagues. Through my time with the White Sox, we've had a few ups and downs, and that's kind of where I've had to learn how to mature, and I think I've grown a lot through them.

“It hasn't been easy, especially [Tommy John surgery] coming off a shoulder [surgery]. Honestly, having my baby girl, Willow, kind of got me through the TJ. And it's been a ride, man.”

Working exclusively out of the stretch Wednesday, Rodón struck out seven and walked one over five innings. He yielded home runs to Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura, but Rodón praised catcher Yasmani Grandal for his game calling and exceptional pitch framing. Rodón threw 47 of his 67 pitches for strikes, primarily featuring a fastball/slider mix. He appears ready for his first start of the regular season next week in Cleveland, capping a throwing process that he began as part of his rehab on Oct. 1.

“Getting a chance to not only be able to pitch and come back, but to be able to start the season with my teammates is a blessing,” Rodón said. “I've been saying this a long time, it feels like it's been three or four years, but I keep saying this: 'It feels like I've got something to prove, just being hurt all the time.' It's not fun, that's for sure.”

Third to first

• Yoán Moncada remains on track to start at third base on Opening Day Friday against the Twins. Moncada rejoined the team last Thursday after testing positive for COVID-19, but Renteria’s biggest concern is watching for fatigue setting in with Moncada as he ramps up activity.

“It’s just amazing the talent that he has,” Renteria said. “You obviously see him performing even though he has been down.”

• Over nine games, covering four in the regular season and five in Cactus League/exhibition contests, Eloy Jiménez is hitting .292 (7-for-24) with four home runs, 10 RBIs and six runs scored against the Cubs, who traded him to the South Side as part of the José Quintana deal in 2017.

“I enjoy playing against my ex-team on the other side,” Jiménez said with a broad smile during a Zoom call on Wednesday. “I like to play against them. I like to play against everybody, but I came from the Cubs. I enjoy playing against them.

Up next

After an off-day Thursday, the White Sox open the 2020 regular season Friday night at home against the Twins, with first pitch at 7:10 p.m. CT, live on MLB.TV. Lucas Giolito will make his first career Opening Day start.