White Sox

White Sox rookies revel in costume tradition

9-18-tyler-saladino-white-sox.png

White Sox rookies revel in costume tradition

CLEVELAND -- Few things could probably lessen the sting of Thursday’s tough loss as the sight of White Sox rookies in costume for the team flight, including Carlos Rodon in a revealing nurse outfit.

Rodon was one of a dozen White Sox players and personnel who partook in the tradition where travel clothes are replaced with outrageous costumes.

While the 6-foot-3, 255-pound rookie was dressed as a nurse, Frankie Montas was Superwoman, Erik Johnson was Popeye, several players were dressed as pirates and Trayce Thompson was dressed like fictional basketball player Jackie Moon. Infielder Tyler Saladino, who was dressed as a geisha, said he only needed between 5-10 minutes to prepare his costume.

“I’m pretty good with makeup, I guess,” Saladino said. “It’s nothing but a bunch of white paint smeared all over your face, throw some red on the lips.”

[MORE: White Sox rookies dress up in amazing costumes before road trip]

While Saladino and Thompson felt like they got off easy -- “I kind of had an easy costume but they wanted to go with the whole basketball theme,” Thompson said -- others weren’t afforded that luxury.

Asked about his outfit, Rodon grunted as he walked by and shook his head several times. Fellow southpaw John Danks followed by telling Rodon he’d ask doctors to pull the plug if he was his nurse.

Veteran players were assigned the task of finding costumes for their younger counterparts. White Sox manager Robin Ventura declared catcher Geovany Soto, who picked the costumes for Saladino and Thompson, the victor.

He agreed the tradition offered some levity after a difficult 4-2 loss to the Oakland A’s.

“They did a good job,” Ventura said. “There were some good ones in there we haven’t seen before. Yesterday it helps. As tough as the game was, they can put it behind them and find a way to have a little fun going on the road, and they made the most of it.

“Geo was really the big winner.”

[NBC SHOP: Get your White Sox gear here]

The experience included a team dinner Thursday night and Saladino enjoyed it even though he had to apply makeup, which he did without the aid of others. He felt fortunate his outfit wasn’t skimpy like that of Montas, Micah Johnson, Carlos Sanchez and Rodon.

“My outfit wasn’t too revealing so I don’t know exactly how some of them felt, but everyone was in good spirits,” Saladino said.

“(Rodon is) a big boy getting fixed up in something they make for a petite girl is probably not the most comfortable. But we all had a lot of fun.”

Daily White Sox prospects update: Zack Collins hits a pair of homers

white_sox_prospects_update.jpeg
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Daily White Sox prospects update: Zack Collins hits a pair of homers

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Double-A Birmingham

Zack Collins hit two home runs as part of a three-hit day. He drove in two runs, scored two runs and walked once in a 10-4 loss. Collins now has seven homers on the campaign with an ungodly .421 on-base percentage. He's batting .326 over his last 25 games. Eloy Jimenez had two hits and a walk, and Jordan Guerrero gave up four runs and walked five in four innings.

Class A Winston-Salem

The Dash lost both games of a doubleheader, 10-5 and 7-0. Luis Alexander Basabe, Alex Call and Gavin Sheets each picked up two hits on the day.

Triple-A Charlotte

Charlie Tilson had a hit and scored a run in a 2-1 loss.

Class A Kannapolis

Luis Gonzalez had a hit in a 2-1 win.

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'

0520-reynaldo-lopez.jpg
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.