White Sox

Sick bay: Danks on track for at least one rehab start

719296.png

Sick bay: Danks on track for at least one rehab start

John Danks threw a side session prior to Saturday's matchup with Houston that went well, according to White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper.

The lefty, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder soreness May 24 and hasn't started since May 19, is slated to make a rehab start with Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday in Columbus.

"Things seem to be going well," Cooper said. "Head trainer Herm Schneider got him on the mend, and now it's getting him back into pitching shape and now he's going to get out and throw in a game."

The Sox had Danks go through a game routine on Wednesday, having him warm up and throw two innings in the bullpen. He cleared that hurdle and the one on Saturday, so the next step is at least one rehab start in the minors. Both Cooper and Robin Ventura said that could be extended to two starts in the minors before he returns.

Brent Morel's status is less clear. The third baseman pulled himself out of a minor league game on Thursday after re-aggravating his back injury and was in Chicago yesterday for further tests. Ventura is hopeful the Sox can finally get to the bottom of Morel's back issues with this latest round of examinations.

Ventura added there's no chance Dayan Viciedo will be moved back to third base any time soon, noting the Sox have options at the hot corner. It doesn't help that Viciedo himself is in the infirmary with a pair of tight hamstrings.

Viciedo says he's ready to pinch-hit on Saturday, although Ventura would rather give him the day off after he pulled himself out of Friday's game.

"We got a long way to go, and I don't want to push it for him to go out there," Ventura said, adding that it's a nice chance for Jordan Danks to get a start. "If a guy feels he needs to pull himself out, I don't necessarily want to put him right back in there the next night if he feels it's bad enough to come out the night before."

Viciedo similarly doesn't want to take the chance of aggravating his injury further.

"Theres one thats tighter than other," Viciedo said through a translator, noting his left hamstring is the tighter of the two. "They both are tight, but its something that Im working through it right now, just being cautious. Its something that I dont want to risk anything."

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

0521-welington-castillo.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

For the first time since new rules came into effect in 2005, the White Sox will reportedly see a major league player suspended for violating baseball’s ban on performance-enhancing drugs.

Welington Castillo, the team’s biggest offseason addition, will be suspended for 80 games, according to a pair of reports.

Manager Rick Renteria said after Wednesday's win over the visiting Baltimore Orioles that he couldn't comment on the reports. Castillo played in Wednesday's game, during which the news broke.

"For me, those at this particular moment are rumors," Renteria said. "MLB is the one that is in charge of that type of stuff. Until they release anything officially I can’t really comment on that."

The veteran catcher, slashing .267/.309/.466 with six home runs and 15 RBIs in 33 games this season, was brought in over the winter to help the rebuilding White Sox in both the short and long term. He had a career year offensively and defensively in 2017, and he was acquired to help develop a young pitching staff featuring big pieces of the future like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, and also to swing a solid bat and help this young team learn how to win.

If Castillo proves productive over the course of his two-year deal, the White Sox have a team option that could keep Castillo on the South Side for the 2020 season. That could make him a piece of the puzzle for when the rebuild reaches its apex and the team is ready to start contending for championships. But this news has the potential to change that dramatically.

Zack Collins and Seby Zavala are both having strong offensive seasons at Double-A Birmingham and figure to be the long-term answers behind the plate. But Castillo’s absence from any long-term picture could leave the White Sox without a veteran safety net in the years ahead, depending on how the team decides to react to this news now and in the coming seasons.

Castillo’s absence for the next 80 games could also have an impact on the development of aforementioned pitchers like Giolito and Lopez. Lopez, in particular, has been throwing really well this season, and Giolito has control issues to work through, as he leads the American League in walks. Without the veteran catcher brought in to help those guys transition to the major league level, how will the transition change for those two pitchers?

Omar Narvaez would be the logical choice to take over as the No. 1 catcher. As for who could take Castillo's place on the major league roster, the options are limited. Kevan Smith, who was edged out by Narvaez for the backup-catching job in spring training, is on the disabled list at Triple-A Charlotte, placed there Tuesday. The aforementioned Zavala is also injured at Double-A Birmingham, and it seems far too early to rush Collins to the big leagues. Alfredo Gonzalez is a catcher on the roster at Charlotte. A spot on the 40-man roster would need to be freed up to bring him to Chicago.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

rick_hahn_usa_today.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

SportsTalk Live is on location for White Sox Authentic Fan Night. Phil Rogers (MLB Network), Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David DeJesus and Ozzie Guillen join Kap to talk about Manny Machado Mania, Anthony Rizzo’s struggles and the White Sox plans for calling up their best prospects. 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: