White Sox

Why White Sox are sending Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey to the Arizona Fall League

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USA TODAY

Why White Sox are sending Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey to the Arizona Fall League

MINNEAPOLIS — Dylan Covey is headed back to the Arizona Fall League and he’s OK with the reason for his trip.

In order to make up for the innings he lost to injury this season, the White Sox Rule 5 pick will pitch as a starter for the Glendale Desert Dogs. It’s the same role in which Covey performed last year in the AFL. Covey is one of seven White Sox players who was announced to the AFL on Tuesday. The others include pitchers Jace Fry, Connor Walsh and Matt Foster, catcher Seby Zavala, infielder Danny Mendick and outfielder Tito Polo.

“I look at it as a good thing,” Covey said. “It means they want me to be a starter, so I need to get those innings up. I’ve started my whole career. I’m kind of looking forward to it. It was a good experience for me last year. It’s what got me to the White Sox. It’s an extra six weeks of baseball, but it’s also going to get me ready for next season.”

An oblique injury in May that sidelined Covey for three months has limited him to 56 innings between the minors and majors this season. Covey also suffered an oblique injury in 2016, which limited him to 54 frames. He pitched 140 or more innings in each of the previous two seasons, making a combined 51 starts.

“We’re trying to get him to get a few more innings,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Obviously he’s been down a while. Try to get him a few more innings, continue to command the zone, continue to develop and use what we consider to be a pretty good sinker effectively. I think that just getting a few more innings for him will be good to extend him a little bit longer.”

Covey went 4-0 with a 4.74 ERA in six AFL starts in 2016.

What will Steve Cishek's role be with White Sox? 'Get three outs, any inning'

What will Steve Cishek's role be with White Sox? 'Get three outs, any inning'

It's safe to say the White Sox wanted to add Steve Cishek to their bullpen.

"According to my agent, within five minutes after the World Series, the White Sox called and expressed some interest," Cishek said Wednesday. "So when you get a call that soon, you know the team is up to something. Then of course with what they did this offseason, it made signing here very intriguing."

So what will Cishek's role be at the back end of that bullpen? For the newest member of the South Side relief corps, it's really not that difficult.

"I would assume it would be the same as it was with the Cubs," he said. "Get three outs, any inning."

Cishek is aboard to bolster that back end, one that heads into 2020 with some concrete names but some mystery, as well. Alex Colome will be the team's closer after racking up 126 saves over the past four seasons, and Aaron Bummer figures to be a frequent presence in the eighth inning of games after posting a 2.13 ERA last season.

Cishek was extraordinarily reliable for Joe Maddon and the Cubs in his two seasons on the North Side, with a 2.55 ERA in a whopping 150 appearances, many of them coming in high-leverage situations.

While Evan Marshall and Jimmy Cordero will start the season as options for Rick Renteria in high-leverage situations, too, that pair doesn't have quite the track record of Cishek. With Rick Hahn quick to remind about the volatility of relief pitching from one year to the next, adding a dependable arm in Cishek is an important complement to what the White Sox already had in the 'pen.

"I am fortunate enough now that we have guys that have all been at the back end of a ballgame and have had success in that particular role," Renteria said Wednesday. "I've got flexibility now and strength and hopefully having guys being able to take advantage of high-leverage situations. I use a guy two, three, four days (in a row), it's nice to have another guy I can probably slot in there to be able to do things like that. I have a little bit more flexibility right now."

Cishek's contributions on the pitcher's mound will obviously be of great import, but like every other veteran addition the White Sox have made this winter, he's also expected to do plenty in the clubhouse. While the Cubs teams he was a part of played in just one postseason game the past two seasons, he's no stranger to dealing with big expectations. The White Sox have those now after years of rebuilding, and Cishek should be able to help guide the players new to such an environment.

"With expectations, as long as we stay together as a team we can accomplish a lot," Cishek said. "A lot of the guys we've brought in have been through the fire. As a matter of fact, most of the guys have played in the playoffs the last four or five seasons even. So they have the playoff experience. They know what it takes to win and get to that level, and I think that's going to bode well for these young guys to see how they work, how us older veteran guys get after it and hopefully follow suit.

"I think we can teach these guys how to win."

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White Sox Talk Podcast: The person making the boldest White Sox predictions

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: The person making the boldest White Sox predictions

Chuck Garfien is joined by the man who predicted a White Sox division title for the 2020 season before the Sox made any moves, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. Castrovince also discusses his other bold White Sox predictions and why he's making them.

(2:48) - Why Castrovince selected the Sox to win the AL central

(7:03) - Why Castrovine selected Rick Renteria as AL Manager of the Year

(9:56) - Yoan Moncada will challenge Mike Trout for AL MVP

(12:43) - Will Luis Robert win Rookie of the Year

(13:54) - Why the Padres missed and the White Sox won last winter on Manny Machado

(18:57) - Was the Astro punishment enough?

(23:30) - For the love of Bruce Springsteen

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