Charlie Tilson

What Michael Kopech has done to impress the White Sox front office

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USA TODAY

What Michael Kopech has done to impress the White Sox front office

MINNEAPOLIS -- If Buddy Bell could only see one more game in his life in his life, he’d pick to watch a Michael Kopech start.

The White Sox assistant general manager said Tuesday he loves watching the way the franchise’s top pitching prospect finishes innings. Kopech, who is scheduled to make his final start of the season on Friday at Triple-A Charlotte, was mentioned earlier Tuesday in a 670-AM interview with amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler as a candidate for the 2018 White Sox starting rotation. Kopech is the No. 12 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.

“I was telling Ricky today if I had a chance to see one more game in my life, it would be with him on the mound,” Bell said. “I love watching young kids, it’s my job. But just his presence, the kind of teammate he is and the way he finishes innings is exceptional. But the thing I like most about him is he’s much more mature than his age. He’s way ahead of the curve. Has obviously had a great upbringing, has got some confidence. But the way he finishes innings is something that’s --- he’s got much better as the year has gone on, too.”

Kopech had been scheduled to start Thursday’s game for Triple-A Charlotte. But the White Sox have opted to give the right-hander, who has pitched a career-high 129 1/3 innings, an extra day before his final turn of the season. Kopech is 9-7 with a 2.85 ERA and 165 strikeouts this season.

“A lot of pitchers get impatient with two outs,” Bell said. “So they’re (messing) around out there, they won’t throw strikes, they won’t stay aggressive. He just keeps going right after them. He’s actually better in that situation. All the good pitchers are like that but most pitchers seem to have trouble when they get to two outs because they don’t have the patience to get through an inning. He’s really a fun kid to watch.”

Bell noted how much more entertaining his job has been this season with a minor league system stuffed full of high-end talent. He confirmed that prospect Eloy Jimenez is set to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Bell also noted that the White Sox originally planned for Charlie Tilson to play in the Arizona Fall League but he has been replaced by Double-A outfielder Tito Polo. Tilson is currently rehabbing in Chicago.

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Bell said he’s intrigued to see how catcher Seby Zavala fares in the AFL. Since he was promoted, Zavala is hitting .309/.388/.511 with eight home runs and 37 RBIs in 49 games at Single-A Winston-Salem.

“He’s having a really, really good year,” Bell said. “Our catching went from kind of scarce to not too bad. (Zack) Collins has had a really good year overall and Zavala has kind of stayed right there with him.”

Why top prospect Yoan Moncada has struggled to rebound after thumb injury

Why top prospect Yoan Moncada has struggled to rebound after thumb injury

After returning from a thumb injury, Yoan Moncada is still working to rediscover the form that got him off to an outstanding start at Triple-A Charlotte.

The team’s top prospect has struggled since he returned to the Knights’ lineup on May 26. Moncada’s hitting just .153/.311/.271 with four extra-base hits and four RBIs in 74 plate appearances since he returned. The health of the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball is one of many players whose wellness general manager Rick Hahn discussed on Tuesday.

“It took a little bit,” Hahn said. “He was a little rusty when he got back. He’s fortunately pain-free, and we think with some padding issues with the batting glove, we’ve been able to resolve that from recurring. Although he initially was a little bit rusty, he has gotten back to form now in the last few days.”

In the 22 games leading up to his stint on the disabled list, Moncada hit .352/.412/.505 in 102 plate appearances. He didn’t play from May 16-26 and has only rediscovered his eye the last four games, walking seven times and striking out five.

Reliever Nate Jones will continue to be shut down for a few more days as symptoms of his right elbow neuritis still haven’t disappeared. Jones hopes to resume throwing in the next five days, though Hahn said he wouldn’t ramp up activity until after that. Shutdown since before the team began its last three-city road trip, Jones had a second MRI, which showed his previously repaired tendon is clean and strong, the reliever said. Still, Jones is being cautious after symptoms returned several weeks ago in his rehab.

“It started creeping back,” Jones said. “We decided it was better to get me back and not get halfway back and have to deal with it the whole season. We got out in front of it and got shut down for a little bit and hoping that helps and that works.

“We had thrown four or five, six bullpens and the symptoms weren’t going away.”

Hahn said Zach Putnam (right elbow inflammation) has had trouble becoming pain-free but is “climbing.” If everything works out, Putnam could throw again starting this weekend, Hahn said.

Tyler Saladino’s sore back has improved — he took grounders on Tuesday — and the hope is he could head to Arizona while the team is on its upcoming road trip to continue his rehab.

Outfielder Charlie Tilson (torn hamstring, sore foot) has made steady progress as he rehabs at the club’s Arizona facility. Tilson has appeared in “controlled environment intrasquad games” with the belief he could start a rehab assignment at the end of June or by early July.

Late June could also see the return of Carlos Rodon, who is scheduled for a third rehab start later this week at Charlotte. Hahn made it sound as if Rodon could be headed for a fourth rehab start after which the White Sox would determine the left-hander’s next course of action. Rodon also started in a pair of simulated games in Arizona before he began his assignment.

“He’ll certainly have the one that is coming up here, and there may well be another one after that,” Hahn said. “Then we’ll decide what’s next for him.”

White Sox agree to trade outfielder Peter Bourjos

White Sox agree to trade outfielder Peter Bourjos

The White Sox have agreed to trade outfielder Peter Bourjos to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash considerations late Monday, according to multiple major league sources.

Bourjos was signed to a minor league contract and invited to camp with the White Sox. He was expected to see a good amount of playing time in center field in the wake of Charlie Tilson’s injury.

Trading Bourjos improves rookie Jacob May’s chances of making the Opening Day roster.

Bourjos, 29, has played for the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels over the span of his career. His best season came with the Angels in 2011, when he hit .271 with 12 homers and 43 RBIs.