Odrisamer Despaigne

A couple former White Sox are about to start their seasons in Korea

A couple former White Sox are about to start their seasons in Korea

American fans looking to get their fix while they wait to learn the fate of the Major League Baseball season have to look overseas, specifically to South Korea, where the top pro league is set for Opening Day on May 5.

Fortunately for White Sox fans, there are a couple familiar faces playing in the KBO who they can direct their rooting interests toward — even if South Side fans would rather forget one of them.

Odrisamer Despaigne, just one in the parade of ineffective fifth-starter options the White Sox tried out during the 2019 season, plays for the KT Wiz. And while "Seinfeld" taught us that nobody beats the Wiz, don't blame those who saw Despaigne's brief tenure on the South Side last season for being skeptical. He made three starts in a White Sox uniform, giving up 14 runs in 13.1 innings for a nasty 9.45 ERA.

White Sox fans likely have fonder memories of Tyler Saladino, the utility infielder who spent parts of four seasons on the South Side. He appeared in 246 games with the White Sox before going to the Milwaukee Brewers, and now he's with the Samsung Lions. His .231/.281/.330 slash line is probably not as memorable as his fantastic mustache, and we'll see how that facial hair goes over in Korea.

Following these two and the rest of the KBO might be made easier if the games come to American TV. ESPN reportedly tried to acquire the broadcast rights for free, which unsurprisingly did not immediately produce a deal.

Obviously watching Saladino face off against Despaigne is not what White Sox fans had in mind coming into the most anticipated season of South Side baseball in years. But with Major League Baseball still on hold indefinitely while the world battles the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this is the highest level of pro baseball happening right now.

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After short stint with White Sox, Cuban pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne is headed overseas

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USA TODAY

After short stint with White Sox, Cuban pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne is headed overseas

Odrisamer Despaigne’s tenure with the White Sox was short and unusual. Now the Cuban pitcher is heading to Korea.

Ken Rosenthal reported that the 32-year-old has agreed to a one-year deal with KT Wiz of the Korean league.


Despaigne joined the Triple-A Charlotte Knights in May and joined the White Sox less than a month later when the pitching staff was in dire need of starting arms. He was known for not wanting to warm up and throwing junk pitches (his curveball averaged 73 mph).

After three starts with the White Sox with a 9.45 ERA, the White Sox designated him for assignment, removing him from the 40-man roster. Despaigne pitched the rest of the season for Charlotte.

He elected free agency in October and now, according to Rosenthal, he is headed overseas. 

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Jon Jay finally joins White Sox after months battling injury

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AP

Jon Jay finally joins White Sox after months battling injury

Jon jay is finally ready for his White Sox debut.

The veteran outfielder was recalled from his rehab assignment and activated from the 60-day injured list Monday, joining the team's active roster for the first time this season ahead of their three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Jay has been on the injured list since the season began in late March, bothered by an injury that at various times was attributed to his hip, back, groin and leg. He's been working his way back since the end of spring training and recently completed a rehab assignment split between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. All in all, he played in 16 minor league games and got 63 at-bats, posting a .333/.354/.365 slash line.

Jay was brought in during the offseason to provide veteran leadership in the White Sox clubhouse, as well as to bring on-base skills to the lineup and a defensive presence to the outfield. Being injured this whole time, obviously Jay has been unable to provide anything on the field. But there's still plenty of baseball left to play, and the White Sox would surely love to insert him into the lineup on a regular basis. Manager Rick Renteria hinted even during spring training that Jay might not be an everyday player, though Jay's outfield versatility could allow Renteria to try out many different kinds of lineups.

That being said, Leury Garcia has been a pleasant surprise as the team's everyday center fielder. Garcia's .285 batting average and .324 on-base percentage both rank fourth among the White Sox qualified hitters. With Eloy Jimenez entrenched in left field, Jay could become the team's third regular outfield. That job has belonged mostly to Ryan Cordell in recent weeks, though he's struggled at the plate with a .224/.287/.336 slash line in 49 games this season. We'll have to wait and see how Renteria plans to use Jay, who missed the team's first 75 games of the campaign, but he included the veteran in Monday night's lineup as his starting right fielder.

While many fans chose to associate Jay's signing with the team's failed attempt to land mega free agent Manny Machado during the winter, Jay was a Gold Glove finalist last season and owns a career .352 on-base percentage over nine years in the big leagues. He's earned rave reviews as a clubhouse presence, including from his time with the Cubs during the 2017 season. There's still plenty he can bring to these White Sox over the next few months.

To clear room for Jay, the White Sox designated starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne for assignment. The team brought him in as a minor league free agent and used him to aid their depleted rotation. But things didn't go so well, with Despaigne tagged for 14 runs in 13.1 innings in his three starts with the White Sox.

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