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.