White Sox

White Sox reliever Zach Putnam said elbow responding well to surgery

White Sox reliever Zach Putnam said elbow responding well to surgery

Zach Putnam hasn’t picked up a ball in his rehab and yet he already thinks his surgery was a success.

The White Sox reliever stopped by the clubhouse on Wednesday and reported feeling great in his recovery from surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. Putnam, who had a 2.30 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings this season, expects to have a normal offseason. Though he won’t start to throw until December, Putnam said he already noticed the impact of the Aug. 6 surgery in his everyday life.

“It was about two weeks ago so I was about a month out of surgery, I started feeling like ‘Wow, this is coming back,’” Putnam said. “It was nice because at times I was forgetting I had surgery. I felt that good. I’m definitely better than I was before already. I’m excited to see what the next four to six weeks hold as far as where I’m going to be at.”

General manager Rick Hahn said earlier this month he thought both Putnam and Jake Petricka, who is recovering from hip surgery, would be ready in time for spring training. The White Sox bullpen would be in much better shape if both are available. The two combined for 100-plus innings last season and are trusted members of manager Robin Ventura’s bullpen. Without them, the White Sox have had to rely on a number of untested pitchers with mixed results.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Putnam said he had his final appointment with the doctor on Wednesday prior to coming to see his teammates at U.S. Cellular Field. He also agrees the decision to have surgery was the right one.

“There was one really good size (bone chip) and then just some pieces of debris,” Putnam said. “Definitely surgery that needed to happen and reiterated that fact after I saw what they took out of there. It was pretty gnarly stuff.

“I’ve been doing physical therapy here for a few weeks and range of motion and everything is coming back really nicely. I’m ahead of probably where I would normally be.

“I’m feeling good.”

A deeper look at why Yoan Moncada is off to a hot start this season


A deeper look at why Yoan Moncada is off to a hot start this season

Yoan Moncada continued his hot start to the season with a leadoff home run in Detroit on Friday.

He finished with two hits and a bases-loaded walk in a 7-3 White Sox win.

Moncada’s base numbers are all up this season. He is hitting .325 with a 1.002 OPS and a team-leading six home runs. Beyond that, a deeper look at the numbers show why Moncada’s production is up.

Moncada didn’t show much, if any, improvement in 2018 from 2017. Most of his numbers across the board were similar or slightly worse.

Moncada was patient at the plate, but maybe too patient in his first two seasons with the White Sox. He led the majors with 217 strikeouts last season and 85 of those were strikeouts looking. So far this season, Moncada is yet to strikeout looking.

This season, Moncada is swinging at more pitches both in the strike zone and overall, which is leading to a lower strikeout rate. A look at the advanced stats from FanGraphs shows Moncada swung at 63.9 percent of pitches in the zone in both 2017 and 2018 (these numbers are before Friday's game). That number is up to 69.1 percent this season. On top of that, Moncada is making more contact on those swings on pitches in the zone (up to 86.5 percent this season after 77.5 percent in 2017 and 79.8 percent in 2018).

His strikeout rate (32 percent in 2017, 33.4 percent in 2018) is way down at 24.1 percent. Strikeouts were the biggest red flag for Moncada last year. By being more aggressive this season, Moncada has been able to cut way down on that number.

His power has gone way up as well. He already has 12 extra base hits (in 82 plate appearances) and his home run on Friday was an absolute bomb. Moncada took it deep for 458 feet. That’s the longest White Sox home run of the season and is tied for the eighth longest home run in the majors this season.

He later showed that despite being more aggressive, he still has that plate discipline that was such a big part of what made him a coveted prospect in the first place. He drew a five-pitch bases loaded walk in which he did not swing the bat.

No matter how it's happening, Moncada’s turnaround has been one of the most important things in the young White Sox season.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk Harrelson proud of Jason Benetti for "jumping all over Joe West's ass"


White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk Harrelson proud of Jason Benetti for "jumping all over Joe West's ass"

Chuck Garfien speaks with Hawk Harrelson about Tim Anderson's bat flip and Joe West kicking Anderson out of the game (3:40), Anderson taking his game to a new level (08:50), the passing of legendary sportscaster Chet Coppock (14:30), Hawk praises Jason Benetti for criticizing Joe West on the air (17:35), how Harrelson is adapting to not calling baseball games (19:50), why he teared up watching Tiger Woods win the Masters (23:40) and more.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast