White Sox

Sox Drawer: For starters, Peavy will... Sale won't

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Sox Drawer: For starters, Peavy will... Sale won't

Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011
Posted 9:05 p.m.

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

Glendale, Ariz. - When Jake Peavy arrived for his physical Thursday at Camelback Ranch a towering figure hovered a few feet away, anxiously hoping the doctors wouldnt find any snags in the comeback of his 55 million dollar pitcher.

Fortunately for White Sox GM Kenny Williams, Peavy received a clean bill of health, and Day One of White Sox spring training was underway.

Peavy went to his locker and spoke to the media about patience, a word that had never existed in the mans vocabulary until reality struck his body like a lightning bolt last July when the former Cy Young winner tore the lat muscle in the back of his shoulder - a clean rip off the bone.

His season over. His career? Still to be determined.

And yet there was Peavy taking the mound, throwing 40 pitches to catcher A.J. Pierzynski, a session Peavy described as free and easy, and added, Were going ahead and feel like Im one of the guys.

Good sign. And then came another.

WATCH: Thornton wants to close

Chris Sale is going to be in the bullpen. That was Williams, around five minutes into his media session, announcing that Sale (the perceived Peavy insurance policy), would not be needed in the rotation after all.

Why the quick and sudden turnaround? Heres one reason:

I wanted three lefties (in the bullpen) because there are a few players in the division that get on my nerves, and Im tired of watching them run around the bases, Williams said.

Oh, you mean Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Shin-Soo Choo? Got it.

And heres the other reason: The Sox are quietly and cautiously optimistic that Peavy will be able to return sooner rather than later. Williams even mentioned the possibility of Peavy taking the mound when his first start comes up April 10th... if things went his way.

But considering the severity of the injury and the Sox priority to be very cautious with him, Peavy will more than likely miss the first month of the season (2 or 3 starts), and hopefully be ready by May.

It's our job to make sure that competitive nature doesn't get the best of him, and get him to point where he's doing something more premature than he should," Williams said. "We will watch him closely and be very cautious dealing with him as I explained to him today. Whenever he gets out there we want him at 100 percent. We don't want him to start at 80 percent and then stay at 80 percent because he hasn't given himself that extra three weeks or a month."

Williams cautioned that there could be some blips along the way in Peavys recovery.

"That's obviously not what you want to hear, but I'm going to listen to my body, Peavy said. At the same time, I'm going to push it as hard as I can push it to get back out there. But at the same time, I have to be honest with myself and the staff. I'm excited. I really don't think I'm going to be that far behind."

For a competitor like Peavy, talking over and over again about injuries and not victories has burned the fire inside him even more. But it's also changed his perspective about his baseball career.

"The last few years have been tough for me," Peavy admitted. "To be healthy for eight years in your career and never miss any significant time, and then be traded and miss all the time that I've missed here, it's been frustrating. But at the same time, I have a greater appreciation to be here, to play the game and be healthy when you are healthy."

So White Sox fans, keep your fingers crossed, and believe in the power of healing.

"I have a lot of motivation to get back out there and play, and be who I can be."

He's not close. But closer.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.

Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one

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USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one

Carlos Rodon's return to the South Side is coming soon.

The top-five draft pick recovering from last fall's shoulder surgery made his first rehab start Saturday with Class A Kannapolis and threw well. Rodon allowed just one run on three hits in his five innings of work, striking out six and walking none.

The White Sox announced Sunday that Rodon's second rehab start will come Thursday with Triple-A Charlotte.

As for the exact date Rodon returns to the big league roster, it's unknown at this point. General manager Rick Hahn said that Rodon will make multiple rehab starts. One might look to the pitcher's recovery from a spring injury last year as a guide. Rodon made four rehab starts in June before debuting with the White Sox on June 28.

This recovery is different, of course. Rodon is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on May 28.