Dylan Covey threw about 85 pitches in an extended spring training game Saturday in Arizona and said he feels confident heading into what could be his major league debut later this week.
The White Sox are still deciding whether Covey will start Friday or Saturday against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, but the anticipation is the Rule 5 pick from the Oakland Athletics will pitch in Minneapolis.
While most pitchers worked on specific things -- pitches, mechanics, etc. -- during spring training, Covey felt he had to focus on getting outs as he pushed to make the White Sox Opening Day roster. As a Rule 5 pick, Covey would've been placed on waivers and offered back to the A's if he didn't make the White Sox major league roster out of spring training (the same would be the case if he ever were to be removed from the White Sox major league roster this season, outside of a stint on the disabled list).
"We’re glad he’s feeling more comfortable in terms of being able to work on certain things and not worry about trying to make a club," manager Rick Renteria said. "Hopefully that pays some dividends for us moving forward."
With the A's backed up with pitchers across their minor league system, Covey saw making the White Sox roster as his best shot at breaking through in the majors. An example of his out-focused efforts: He had to largely ditch one of his go-to pitches -- his split-changeup -- because it wasn't working well during spring training.
Covey's simulated games in extended spring training this month allowed him to re-introduce that pitch and get a feel for it again. With the pressure of making a major league roster off Covey, he's been able to do what most other pitches did during February and March and work on some things to get him prepared for his first start next weekend.
“I've been able to really focus on (the split-change) my last couple sim games,” Covey said. “It's a lot better than it was in spring training. … I feel like my stuff is refined now in where I want it. I feel like I'm ready to go.”