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Notes: Mercedes' power; Giolito progresses

@scottmerkin
February 25, 2020

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- No official home run measurement exists during many Spring Training contests, so Yermin Mercedes’ prodigious seventh-inning blast at Camelback Ranch on Monday afternoon was only guesstimated at about 480 feet based on where it landed in left. It did officially show off the power of the burly

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- No official home run measurement exists during many Spring Training contests, so Yermin Mercedes’ prodigious seventh-inning blast at Camelback Ranch on Monday afternoon was only guesstimated at about 480 feet based on where it landed in left.

It did officially show off the power of the burly 27-year-old, who is one of five catchers on the White Sox 40-man roster.

“Yes, hard, hard, hard, every time. Every time, I’m going to swing hard in the practice and in the game, too,” said a smiling Mercedes. “I never changed my swing.”

The revamped White Sox, who have an eye on contending for at least the American League Central title as the beginning phase of their rebuild comes to a close, basically have to choose a starting second baseman, pick an eighth reliever and decide the final spot on the 26-man roster, barring any injuries during this Spring Training. Mercedes’ big bat is on that list for No. 26 candidates.

“He's made a nice impact on the organization since he's come over,” said White Sox manager Rick Renteria. “He's grown; he's developed into what the organization likes to see him doing offensively. He's been doing a very nice job, and he's a pretty nice receiver. So he's a little bit of a complete package and, hopefully, continues to have a nice spring as we move along.”

Said Mercedes: “I’m just doing my job right here, keep working hard every day. I’m waiting for the White Sox to give me the opportunity to be that 26th man on the roster.”

Giolito throws another side session
Right-hander Lucas Giolito, the projected White Sox Opening Day starter, threw his second side session of Spring Training on Tuesday. He had been slowed early on by a mild chest strain near his right rib cage.

According to Renteria, Giolito was able to incorporate sliders and curveballs in this outing in comparison to his first trip to the mound on Saturday.

“He's moving along very well, will throw another side on Friday,” Renteria said. “He's moving in the right direction.”

A fully healthy Giolito, who finished tied for sixth in the 2019 American League Cy Young voting, is essential for the White Sox in improving their lot from last season’s 72 victories. It’s far more important than a set amount of Cactus League starts, but Renteria stressed Giolito’s need to face some batters in Arizona to get ready for March 26.

“So that's progressing to that point. And today was another nice step,” Renteria said. “Again, I think the side on Friday will take us even closer.”

Return of Yolmer
It was only a Cactus League contest, but Yolmer Sánchez made his first appearance against the only team he has known since beginning his professional career with the White Sox in 2010. Sánchez finished 0-for-1 with a walk for the Giants in their 4-3 loss to the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

“I'm a professional, and you have to imagine at some point in your career that this is going to happen,” Sánchez said. “I feel good to see them, the guys and to play against them. It was a cool moment.”

The switch-hitting Sánchez won the 2019 AL Gold Glove at second base in his final season with the White Sox. Despite his great defense and his ability to keep the clubhouse light, his sluggish offense (each season with a slugging average under .415) and the impending big league arrival of Nick Madrigal pushed the White Sox in a different direction.

“I knew in September I was at the front for a Gold Glove, and I think that gave me a bit of a chance to come back. But it is what it is,” Sánchez said. “I can't control that. I'm just happy to be here in this organization. They gave me an opportunity.

“I'm not disappointed at all. That's part of the business. That's their decision. My focus right now is [to] prepare myself to put [on] a good performance every day. I feel great with this organization so far. I'm happy right now.”

The White Sox scored two in the ninth for the victory at Glendale, with Adam Engel’s double tying the game and Seby Zavala’s single bringing home the game-winner. Luis Robert also tripled in the victory.

In Goodyear, a White Sox split squad dropped a 10-2 decision to the Indians.

Up next
The White Sox hit the road for a 2:05 p.m. CT contest Wednesday against the Royals at Surprise. Left-hander Matt Tomshaw will start for the White Sox. With most of the regulars playing Tuesday at home, it’s uncertain how many will make the trip.

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