GLENDALE, AZ – Saturday was the first day of full-squad workouts for the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, and while it was sunny and beautiful in Chicago, it was cloudy and rainy at Sox camp in Arizona.
Brett Lawrie arrived to White Sox camp on Saturday, healthy and ready to redeem himself for his dreadful 2016 performance in which he missed over a quarter of the season to injury. The 27-year-old infielder played in just 94 games for the White Sox in 2016, missing much of the second half of the season with a string of lower-body injuries that Lawrie credits to the use of orthopedic shoes,
“I was put into orthotics for the first time in 26 years, and it definitely threw me through a loop,” Lawrie said. “It was the worst time of my life to be honest with you. Moving forward from here, it’s about getting back to my flat feet and stabilizing that.”
Lawrie was initially listed out with a hamstring injury by the White Sox last season and eventually a back injury, and wouldn’t play another game shortly after the all-star break. Lawrie says that after having the orthopedic insoles placed in his shoes, his workouts began to negatively affect his body,
“(The orthotics) took me from my flat feet and pushed me to everything lateral, and that’s not how I move,” Lawrie said. “I’m supposed to use my calves and legs, and if it puts me on the outside it stretches the Achilles, all the way up the chain so things aren’t working how they are supposed to. When stuff starts to stretch, it puts stress on areas it’s not supposed to. Then you compensate, and once that happens you’re waiting for the bomb to go off.”
Lawrie, now minus the orthopedics and healthy from the nagging injuries that plagued him in 2016 says that he is ready to get back to work this spring and help the White Sox in 2017. As for his infamous high-energy antics that were met with mixed reviews on the south side in 2016, Lawrie says that he is just being himself, and that’s not going to change.
Reynaldo Lopez Adjusting Well to his New Team, Drawing Praise in Camp thus Far
When Reynaldo Lopez was traded to the White Sox in December in exchange for Adam Eaton, there may have been no one more surprised that the 23-year-old pitching prospect. Lopez said that he got a call from the Nationals front office advising him that he had been traded, and in dismay Lopez actually called his lawyer, who explained the situation to him, and provided a calming affect by letting Lopez know that the move to the White Sox would be a good one for him.
Lopez, who tossed 44 innings for the Nationals in the second half of 2016, posing a 5-3 record with a 4.91 ERA, while striking out 42 hitters, credits his short stint at the major league level for teaching him “how to pitch”. Lopez has drawn some positive reviews in White Sox camp thus far, including one from White Sox Manager Rick Renteria,
“Lopez is a guy who maybe goes under the radar a little bit, but when you see his bullpen work, he’s pretty clean, pretty efficient,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He hits his spots.”
Lopez said that while he learned last season that pitching at the major-league level isn’t all about throwing hard, but utilizing a complete arsenal and locating, he still likes to have an aggressive mindset on the mound,
“I like to be aggressive,” Lopez said. “I like to get ahead in the count, throw strikes as soon as possible because that’s going to give me some leverage to throw my other two pitches (curveball and changeup).”
Chris Getz Speaks on the Key to Player Development Under his Watch
New White Sox Director of Player Development, and former White Sox infielder, Chris Getz said that the key to the White Sox developing the plethora of talent within the minor-league system is going to be creating individualized plans and regimens for each of the players.
Getz is taking the reins this season as the head of the player development department, and knows all too well that simply acquiring the prized talent is not where the job is complete,
“First of all, we’re dealing with individuals,’’ Getz said. “The key is getting to know the individual’s strengths and weaknesses and putting a plan together for that player.
“Where people fall in trouble is when they try to blanket and monopolize the whole deal. You can have your organizational philosophies, but within that, we are dealing with human beings here, and everyone needs to be treated differently. Buttons have to be pressed differently, so you have to be creative with teaching and coaching.’’
Getz came to the White Sox this offseason after spending time within the Kansas City Royals player development system, and is excited for the task of leading the efforts in developing the next generation of White Sox impact players,
“To bring in this type of talent and to be a part of it, help to develop them into championship-type players, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do,’’ Getz said.
Matt Davidson Will Likely Get His Final Chance at Sticking in 2017
Matt Davidson, a one time highly touted prospect begins this Spring Training with his best chance to break camp with the major-league club to date, and it might be his final chance to stick with the White Sox.
The 25-year-old infielder is coming off of a broken foot, suffered in his first major-league game of the season on June 30, 2016 after spending the first three seasons with the White Sox at the minor-league level. Now healthy in 2017, Davidson is out of minor-league options, and looks like a prime candidate to break camp with the team as the everyday designated hitter in 2017. Davidson is a natural third-baseman, and could also spend time at first base for the White Sox.
Davidson reported early to camp this week, and looks strong so far in what is most certainly the biggest spring of his career to this point.
Stay with us here at The Loop Sports all spring as we will be providing frequent updates of the happenings around Camelback Ranch, Cactus League game recaps and analysis, and deep-dive analysis into the story-lines to watch for this spring!