White Sox

White Sox notes: Jacob Turner touched up by Royals

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White Sox notes: Jacob Turner touched up by Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Rght-hander Jacob Turner, who’s in the mix for the final spot in the White Sox rotation, gave up home runs to Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain as he allowed four runs over three innings of work Monday against the Kansas City Royals. 

Turner allowed six hits and issued one walk with two strikeouts in the White Sox 9-3 loss to the defending World Series champions. At a time of the year when plenty of established pitchers are just looking to get their work in, Turner isn’t taking that approach. 

“I’ve never said that,” Turner said. “Every time I pitch I try not to give up any runs, I don’t care if it’s spring training or Game 7 of the World Series. Every time I pitch I’m trying to get results and execute pitches.”

[MORE: All systems go for White Sox ace Chris Sale]

Turner, who underwent elbow surgery last June, allowed five runs on six hits with two walks in his last start March 9 against Oakland. With the White Sox fifth starter spot seemingly up for grabs (right-hander Mat Latos appears the favorite with three weeks until opening day) Turner’s execution will have to be better to keep him in the mix for that rotation spot. 

“The stuff has been pretty good, the execution has been a little disappointing at times, especially out of the stretch, I feel like,” Turner said. “Coming off the injury I’m happy to be pitching, happy to be competing. A few balls have found holes but obviously when that happens you have to bear down and get the next guy out. That’s what I’ll focus on next time.”

Briefly

— Manager Robin Ventura said Adam LaRoche (back) could play Tuesday when the White Sox face the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. LaRoche, who’s been sidelined since suffering back spasms March 5, will most likely return to the lineup in Glendale so he can receive treatment at the White Sox facility as soon as he exits the game. 

— Catcher Dioner Navarro bruised his foot when he fouled a ball off it in Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Both the veteran backstop and Ventura didn’t sound concerned it’d take away much playing time. 

— Minor league outfielder Jason Coats hit his second home run of spring training Monday off left-hander John Lannan, while right-hander Daniel Webb issued two walks and was tagged for three runs in just two-thirds of an inning. 

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

— In Monday’s “B” game, Chris Sale picked a Dodgers minor leaguer off first base (the runner took off on Sale's move and was easily retired at second base). The left-hander’s worked a bit on his pickoff move this spring but offered a self-deprecating quote: “I don’t know how much of that was me being good or vice versa, him being bad. But it worked. We’ll take it. We’ll take it for now.”

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.