Notes: López among cuts; Gio praises Yaz

March 23rd, 2021

will not break camp with the White Sox, as he was optioned to the club’s alternate training site following Monday’s 7-2 victory over the Giants.

Dylan Cease and Carlos Rodón round out the White Sox starting rotation, which is no surprise, but a slight surprise is that López will not open as the team’s long reliever. The right-hander, who was the team’s best starter in 2018, has struggled the last two seasons and did not have a good 2021 Cactus League showing, with a 9.00 over four games and two starts.

López was happy that his curve was reintroduced to his repertoire, but his velocity also was down a tick from years past.

“He’s getting into the right place with everything,” White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz told of López on Monday morning. “It’s just some bad luck thrown his way, but he’s putting in the work to put himself in the best position he can be.”

Outfielder Luis González also was optioned to the club’s alternate training site, while the team reassigned right-handed pitchers Tayron Guerrero, Alex McRae and Connor Sadzeck and infielder Marco Hernández to the club’s minicamp. With the moves, the White Sox have 36 players remaining in camp: 16 pitchers, four catchers, 10 infielders and six outfielders.

Left-handed reliever Nik Turley, who was claimed off waivers Sunday from the A’s, emerges as a candidate for the team’s eighth reliever. Katz talked extensively to Turley’s Pittsburgh pitching coach Sunday night and had ideas for his Monday bullpen from that talk and watching video.

“We are excited to get him in here and get him acclimated,” Katz said.

Giolito and Grandal work together
Right-hander and catcher worked together Monday, with Giolito striking out four and walking three over 4 2/3 scoreless innings. Grandal had been slowed by a twisted right knee sustained on Feb. 24 but looks ready to form this Opening Day battery.

“It was great. Yaz has been doing his homework big time, a lot of communication early in camp,” said Giolito, who threw 49 of his 85 pitches for strikes. “Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to be in game action from the get-go, but he was great back there.

“The targets, the pitch-calling, I didn’t shake him at all today. We were very much in sync on the game plan. It was just the execution sometimes, it would have been nicer to get ahead of guys, put them away a little more efficiently, but that’s on me."

Engel looking at 2-4 weeks
’s right hamstring strain, sustained during the eighth inning of a 6-2 victory over Cleveland on Saturday, will have him out anywhere from 2-4 weeks. That timetable is set up for this type of injury, although Engel added that the ailment will be viewed day by day in terms of how his body responds.

“I've had plenty of people talk to me, even my dad called me the other day and said, ‘Hey, make sure you don't come back too soon,’” said Engel during a Monday Zoom. “People have obviously seen people come back a little bit too quickly from hamstring issues and what that leads to.

“I trust our staff. I trust my body, and I'm pretty in tune with my body and injuries and pain. Unfortunately, that's part of the athlete's life, so I've got some experience dealing with injuries. We've got a great staff here, and we've got a really good plan. The communication's been great so far, and I'm sure it will continue to be that way. Obviously it's a topic of discussion, but it's not something I'm worried about.”

Engel was running for a fly ball hit by Bradley Zimmer when the center fielder felt a grab in his right hamstring during the last couple of steps before he caught the ball. He knew there was a runner on third with less than two outs, so he tried to get rid of the ball as quickly as possible.

That throw looked a little awkward. But Engel stressed the injury happened on his way to the baseball.

“When it happened, I knew it was definitely more severe than a cramp because the position that it happened in wasn't really a cramping position, if that makes sense,” Engel said. “I was hoping it was just going to be a quick, fall down to the ground, stand back up, walk it off. Obviously it wasn't that, it was a little more severe than that.”

An MRI showed it wasn’t a complete tear, so Engel felt as if he dodged a bullet. He felt better on Monday and was optimistic for a quick recovery, while still wanting to be around the team even if he figures to miss Opening Day.

“Selfishly, I want to be out there with the guys. That's the most fun part of this game, is being with your teammates,” said Engel, who had five extra-base hits combined in the two games prior to the injury. “So I'm going to do everything I can to get out there whenever I can.”

Third to first

launched a mammoth two-run home run to center against Kevin Gausman Monday. added his first home run of Spring Training to start the victory.

• Manager Tony La Russa has praised catcher Carlos Pérez all Spring Training and continued that trend Monday after Perez delivered a run-scoring double during a four-run ninth on Sunday against the D-backs.

“The best part was, the way the spring has gone, when he got the base hit, nobody was surprised,” La Russa said. “Just impressed all over again.”

He said it
“I know you can’t describe the importance of your best player setting the best example. And he does that every day.” -- La Russa, on Anderson’s energetic style