It might just be a Cactus League contest in late February, but folks, White Sox baseball is finally back! With the energy and excitement surrounding this team coupled with the fact that it’s been five months since we’ve seen the White Sox in action — Cactus League action will do just fine for now, Just ask Sox skipper Ricky Renteria, “We’re excited, I think the guys are excited,” Renteria said. “Seems like it came upon us quickly. Last spring we had a little bit more time, but in general I think everybody is ready to start playing the games.”
The White Sox will host their Camelback Ranch counterparts, the Los Angeles Dodgers at 2:05 (CT) this afternoon in Glendale, Arizona, and Renteria is sending Dylan Covey to the mound for the first start of the spring. Covey, 26, went 0-7 with a 7.71 ERA (60 ER/70.0 IP) and 41 strikeouts over 18 games (12 starts) last season, his first with the White Sox. He was selected by Chicago from Oakland in the Rule 5 Draft on December 8, 2016.
The club outrighted Covey to Triple-A Charlotte just five days ago, but that’s not stopping the 26-year old righty from being excited about today’s start, “I’m always thankful for any opportunities I get,” Covey said. “I’m happy they want me starting, that’s where I feel comfortable.”
Covey told the media that he has been focusing on limiting his counts and trying to use his fastball and sinker to get ahead early and force contact this season. Covey said that he is at his best when he’s forcing ground balls and letting the defense work behind him, and said that he believes he has the stuff to stick around at the major league level if he can avoid getting behind in counts and getting into predictable hitting situations.
“I think that they know I have the stuff, I know I have the stuff,” Covey said. “I just need to trust it a little more and maybe not try to pick corners so much. A lot of my struggles came from falling behind in counts, or walks, or getting into a predictable pitch situation where they can kind of just gear up for a fastball.” – Covey on his struggles in 2017.
Covey said that White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper has been in his ear this spring, drilling home that same emphasis for him, “Coop has been talking to me lately,” Covey said. “He says that I have the stuff and I just need to control the counts and try to get them out in three pitches or less, so that’s what I’m gonna do, just try to get it over the plate and let my movement and my stuff just do the work.”
As far as when we can expect to see some semblance of Rick Renteria‘s 2018 starting rotation, Renteria said that it’s “safe to say” that shouldn’t expect that until at least the first week of March, “Give me another week or 10 days,” Renteria said. “If I have it before then, I promise I’ll give it to you guys.”
The White Sox will go with a lineup close to what we can expect to see to start the 2018 season today, which you can check out at below. The White Sox will also be sporting Stoneman Douglas high school caps today in honor of the 17 students and civilians tragically killed in last week’s mass shooting at the Parkland, Florida school. Manager Rick Renteria had this to say about the sentiment, “We can empathize and sympathize with everything going on down there,” Renteria said. “That’s a difficult situation. You feel for the parents and the friends and the family members that have lost children in any of these situations. So for Major League Baseball to recognize and want to make them aware that we all are aware, I think it’s a kind gesture — it’s just common sense to be able to do that and show them that we’re all connected in some way.”
Be sure to check out our Cactus League tracker with updating listings of probable starting pitchers, broadcast information and roster movement throughout the duration of spring training.
Starting Lineup – 2/23 vs. LAD
|1. Yolmer Sanchez||3B|
|2. Tim Anderson||SS|
|3. Jose Abreu||1B|
|4. Avisail Garcia||RF|
|5. Yoan Moncada||2B|
|6. Nicky Delmonico||DH|
|7. Ryan Cordell||LF|
|8. Kevan Smith||C|
|9. Adam Engel||CF|
|SP – Dylan Covey||SP|