White Sox

Heading to the World Series, Addison Reed is thriving after return from minors


Heading to the World Series, Addison Reed is thriving after return from minors

Five months ago, Addison Reed was en route to the minors and searching for answers. Next week, he’s headed to the World Series with the New York Mets.

Whereas he had no idea where the ball was going when the Arizona Diamondbacks optioned him to Triple-A on June 22, the former White Sox closer has thrived since he joined his new team on Sept. 1.

Reed has taken ownership of the seventh inning and posted a 1.45 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings with the Mets. He credits his turnaround to a positive frame of mind after he learned he was headed for Reno.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Reed said. “I could have been pissed off and been bitter at Arizona and just went down there and not had fun and done whatever. I just had fun with it. This game is crazy. You never know what’s going to happen. I was in Triple-A only two-and-a-half to three months ago and now we’re going to the World Series.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Reed had a pretty good idea he might be headed to the minors. He lost his job as the Diamondbacks’ closer in May and then came the low point. On June 20, Reed, who had given up 31 hits and 11 walks in 24 1/3 innings, only recorded two outs as he allowed four runs, including an RBI triple to opposing pitcher Tyson Ross.

“That’s about how things were going at the time,” Reed said. “I was kind of everywhere. I had no idea where the ball was going.”

The Diamondbacks were set to begin a road trip in Denver two days later. But the right-hander wasn’t meant to join his teammates.

“They asked if I’d come to the field early one day before we left on a road trip and that’s never happened,” Reed said. “Nobody is going to call you to ask you to come early for a road trip to hang out and have coffee.

“I was disappointed but there was no part of me that disagreed with their decision. I was throwing the ball terribly. It was probably the worst I’ve thrown the ball since I was in the big leagues.”

Reed made one bigger mechanical adjustment in the minors and mostly focused on fastball command. Whereas the San Diego State product had always used a high leg kick in his delivery, the Diamondbacks worked with him on a slide step in June and it produced results -- for a time. But once he reached Reno, Reed and the club compromised.  

“We kind of met in the middle,” Reed said. “Not the high leg kick, not the slide step but lifting it quick and just going. That kind of got me a little bit more going into my delivery and going as opposed to the slide step, you’re just falling forward. This kind of got me to gather everything on my back leg and then shoot toward home plate.”

[MORE: Rick Renteria reportedly being considered for Sox bench coach]

Once he arrived at that, Reed began to divide the plate into quadrants and worked on his fastball command. Whether it was up or down, in or out, Reed rediscovered his fastball and cleaned up his slider, which hitters were able to ignore in the first half because he couldn’t throw it for a strike.

But Reed -- whose wife gave birth to the couple’s first child shortly after he went to the minors -- thinks his attitude was equally important to his success.

“I went down there and actually had a blast,” Reed said. “The guys were awesome and it kind of brought me back to the days I was in the minor leagues and coming up and having all that fun.”

He has had an even better time since the Mets acquired him on Aug. 30 for a pair of minor leaguers, neither of who is ranked in the team’s top 30 prospects by MLB.com. Reed, who saved 69 games in two-plus seasons with the White Sox, said the Mets have had an air of confidence about them, one he immediately felt when he joined the team.

Now, he’s only four victories away from earning a World Series ring.

“Unbelievable,” Reed said. “This is why you play. You play for the position we’re in and I’m having a blast. It’s been nothing but fun since I’ve come over here.

“There’s been that feeling since I came over that we had a pretty good team. I won’t say we knew we were going to be here, but I think we expected to be here, where we’re at right now. Everything has kind of clicked.”

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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