White Sox

Bad luck keeps plaguing the White Sox starting rotation as Miguel Gonzalez hits disabled list

Bad luck keeps plaguing the White Sox starting rotation as Miguel Gonzalez hits disabled list

TORONTO — Maybe someday soon the White Sox will have their entire original starting rotation at their disposal but today is not that day.

The White Sox activated James Shields off the 10-day disabled list before Sunday’s series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays. But to make room for Shields, the White Sox placed starter Miguel Gonzalez on the DL with A/C joint inflammation in his right shoulder. Gonzalez — who is 4-8 with a 5.49 ERA in 13 starts in 2017 — is the fourth White Sox starting pitcher to be placed on the DL this season. Gonzalez said Sunday he played catch from 60 feet and has begun to feel better after he received a cortisone shot.

“It’s been bothering me for a while,” Gonzalez said. “Thought it was going to get better with the time, but it just didn’t. We decided to give it some rest and had a cortisone shot. Hopefully that helps. Feels better today. Went out and played some catch. No pain. Pain free so that’s a plus.”

Gonzalez said he has felt the pain in the joint, which is on the top of the right shoulder, for “at least a month.” The right-hander pitched very well through his first six starts but has struggled since. Over his last seven turns, Gonzalez has a 7.85 ERA with 51 hits allowed and 16 walks in 39 innings. The same injury previously sidelined Gonzalez for several starts in September 2015 with the Baltimore Orioles.

“When you’re not right, the ball doesn’t do what you want it to do,” Gonzalez said. “It’s always good to ... get it together and strong. I’ll do it day by day and see what happens. It feels good already.”

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The White Sox have been on the run from injuries since the season began. Carlos Rodon, who made his third rehab start on Saturday at Triple-A, was the first to fall. He started the season with bursitis in his left shoulder and is only now close to returning. Shields went on the DL after three April starts, which prompted Mike Pelfrey’s addition to the rotation. Rule 5 draft pick Dylan Covey replaced Rodon and made eight starts before he suffered an oblique injury. Covey’s injury resulted in David Holmberg moving into the rotation from the bullpen. Holmberg and Pelfrey, who delivered six sharp innings on Saturday, will stay in the rotation for now, though Rodon could return after one more rehab start.

Coupled with underperformance by Jose Quintana, the White Sox rotation has struggled. The rotation has only five quality starts in the last 25 games. Overall, White Sox starters are 18-31 with a 4.71 ERA.

“Every club goes through it,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We just happen to be dealing with it right now. If we continue to get outings like we just did from Pelfrey and Q and if Shieldsy jumps back in there to give us a nice outing, that helps us lessen the usage of our bullpen in certain situations, and that’s very helpful.  Everybody goes through it. You just deal with it.”

Reported promotion of Zack Collins adds another piece to White Sox rebuilding puzzle

Reported promotion of Zack Collins adds another piece to White Sox rebuilding puzzle

The White Sox rebuilding puzzle is getting closer to completion.

Zack Collins is reportedly en route to the major leagues, according to a report from Miami talk-show host Andy Slater. That adds another one of the White Sox highly rated prospects to the growing list of them at the big league level as the franchise’s contention window looks set to open relatively soon.

Collins was the team’s first-round draft pick in 2016, selected with the No. 10 pick that year out of the University of Miami. Currently ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the farm system, he’s always been praised for his offensive abilities. Last season at Double-A Birmingham, he finished the year with a .382 on-base percentage and launched 15 homers, also winning the Home Run Derby at the Southern League All-Star Game.

In 48 games with Triple-A Charlotte this season, Collins owns a .258/.382/.497 slash line with nine homers, nine doubles, 38 RBIs and 35 walks.

Collins has been lauded as a big bat, but there have been questions about other parts of his game as he’s risen through the system. From the day he was drafted, there were questions about his defensive ability, leading to speculation that he might one day end up at a position besides catcher. He’s also racked up the strikeouts in the minors, with 396 of them in 322 games over his four minor league seasons.

But the White Sox haven’t wavered in their confidence that Collins can be a big league catcher, and it looks like that’s the position he’ll fill should the White Sox call him up before the start of next week’s Crosstown series with the Cubs. Welington Castillo was removed from Sunday’s loss to the New York Yankees with back tightness. The team said Castillo will be reevaluated on Monday. With this report of Collins’ promotion, it looks like Castillo could be headed to the injured list.

Another top prospect reaching the majors adds another tangible example of rebuilding progress. Fans have been clamoring for the promotions of Dylan Cease and Luis Robert all season long, and while Collins might be a little further down in the rankings than those two, this should still please fans who, even in a season filled with positives, want to see a more rapid advancement toward the rebuild’s ultimate goal.

Collins will perhaps benefit from a lack of pressure, what with James McCann in the midst of a potentially All-Star season as the White Sox primary catcher. The White Sox could perhaps continue to lean on McCann, allowing Collins to ease into the major leagues.

But just like Michael Kopech last August and Eloy Jimenez in March, Collins’ mere arrival is a step forward in this process, one that should please fans immensely.

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Yoan Moncada continues battle with back issues


Yoan Moncada continues battle with back issues

Yoan Moncada's battle with his back issues might not be as over as we thought.

The third baseman made his return to the White Sox starting lineup Sunday following a four-game layoff due to a mild back strain. But his return didn't last long. After a fourth-inning strikeout in his second plate appearance of the 10-3 loss to the visiting New York Yankees, Moncada was removed from the game with what the team announced as upper back tightness.

Moncada is described as day to day. The White Sox have an off day Monday ahead of the start of a two-game Crosstown series at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.

"He's doing good. I think I'm not the only one who noticed his grimace in the swing. It made no sense to continue to expose him to that," manager Rick Renteria said after Sunday's game. "All indications are he should be ready to go on Tuesday.

"Didn't seem to put him in any predicament. Hopefully it didn't set him back. All indications are that hopefully he'll be back on Tuesday."

Moncada was removed from Monday's game against the Washington Nationals with what was initially described as back spasms. Renteria updated the verbiage to a back strain in the following days. Moncada missed Tuesday's game against the Nationals, went through a Wednesday off day and then missed the first three games of the four-game weekend set with the Yankees. His return lasted all of four innings Sunday before he was taken out again.

"Just watching the swing, watching the finish, which is what I was concerned with, getting through the ball. He's ready to get through the ball, it's just the finish. He's feeling a little something there," Renteria said. "You can't replicate it in any drill work. We've tried to do it. Everything he did was good. All the work he did was good.

"Everything we tried to do to replicate it, it wasn't existent until you get into the game, then you know. That's why I think it was a good — I don't know if you want to call it a test, but it was a test. We wanted to see where he was at. Didn't make any sense to continue to push him. Get him ready and calm it down and get him ready for the series against the North Siders."

Moncada wasn't the only White Sox hitter removed from Sunday's game. Welington Castillo, who was the designated hitter, was taken out with what the team announced as lower back tightness. Renteria confirmed after the game that Castillo's injury came on his swing in the second inning, a line drive off the center-field wall that ended up as only a single. Castillo will be reevaluated during the off day Monday.

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