White Sox

Jon Jay will soon head to Arizona to continue rehab, but still not totally certain when he'll return to White Sox

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USA TODAY

Jon Jay will soon head to Arizona to continue rehab, but still not totally certain when he'll return to White Sox

The White Sox put Jon Jay on the 60-day injured list Sunday, but don't let that change your thinking about the veteran outfielder, as he's already been out of commission for more than half of those days.

He's eligible to come off the IL on May 27, the White Sox said, but whether that's the day he actually returns to the team or not remains to be seen. According to general manager Rick Hahn, Jay, who is working back from a groin/hip injury that popped up during spring training and has proven significant enough to keep him sidelined for at least the first two months of the 2019 season, is heading to Arizona on Monday to continue his rehab. Per Hahn, Jay is expected to increase his workload of baseball activities over the next couple weeks and will go on a rehab assignment sometime after that.

"Jon Jay is going to join our extended spring training program in Glendale on Monday," Hahn said. "We'll start ramping up his in-game activity there over the course of the next 10 to 14 days. Hopefully at some point there after he'll be able to join one of our affiliates and start a true rehab assignment."

While that puts a little bit more of a timetable on things, the dates of that rehab assignment and Jay's return to the big league team have not been established, likely only able to be figured out once he's playing in games again.

It's tough to imagine that anyone thought the White Sox would go this far into the season without Jay appearing in a game. Injuries happen, obviously, and Jay is attempting to work his way back. But it's a sting to the White Sox that they haven't been able to add Jay to their lineup at all during the season's first 30-plus games and they won't until at least the end of this month.

Along with fellow offseason acquisition and good friend Yonder Alonso, Jay was pegged by plenty of fans as part of the team's unsuccessful quest to sign Manny Machado during the offseason, but Jay brought plenty of value all by himself, such as his ability to bring on-base skills and veteran wisdom to the White Sox. He won a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals and was in the playoffs as recently as two years ago with the Cubs. That experience figured to prove helpful to the team's young players, and Jay's versatility and strong defensive skills in the outfield figured to make the outfield a more stable place. And while Eloy Jimenez is entrenched in left field, when healthy, and Leury Garcia has certainly been capable — the owner of a .280 batting average and a .331 on-base percentage in his 28 games — other outfielders such as Daniel Palka, Adam Engel, Ryan Cordell and Nicky Delmonico have struggled to provide much offensive consistency.

Put simpler: It would've been nice to have Jay in the lineup. Surely he and the White Sox agree.

For now, the White Sox will continue the waiting game that's been going on since prior to Opening Day. Jay continues to work his way back and now will be doing so in Arizona.

When will he back? There's still no answer to that question.

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Reynaldo Lopez continues hot start to second half, helps snap White Sox losing streak

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez continues hot start to second half, helps snap White Sox losing streak

After a rough outing against the Detroit Tigers on July 4 — his last before the All-Star break — White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez vowed to be a different pitcher going forward.

“At this point, after a really bad first half, there's not much I can say about that. Starting today, you're going to see a different pitcher going forward for the second half of the season,” Lopez said after his July 4 start through team interpreter Billy Russo. “What is done is done. There's nothing else that I can do to change what is done.

“I can do different things to get better and to be a better pitcher for the year and that's what I'm going to do.”

Two outings later, and Lopez is nearing the point where he can say “I told you so.”

Lopez has come out of the break firing on all cylinders after struggling to a 4-8 record and MLB-worst 6.34 ERA before the Midsummer Classic. Friday, he tossed seven innings of two-run ball, allowing just six hits and one walk compared to eight strikeouts. This follows his brilliant outing against the Athletics on Sunday in which he pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and one run — albeit unearned — with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Lopez exited Sunday’s game in line for a win before the White Sox bullpen slipped up. The offense allowed no such opportunity on Friday, tallying 16 hits en route to a 9-2 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s Lopez’s first win since June 9 against the Kansas City Royals and the White Sox first win after the break, snapping a seven-game skid.

Lopez has received a fair share of criticism this season for his struggles, but his recent success should not come as much of a surprise considering how he fared in 2018. The 25-year-old posted a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts, striking out 151 batters in 188 2/3 innings.

Lopez’s strikeout rate in 2019 is up compared to 2018 (8.19 K/9 in 2019 vs. 7.20 in 2018) and his walk rate is down (3.32 BB/9 in 2019 vs. 3.58 in 2018). The major difference is that opponents are hitting .284 against him this season compared to .234 in 2018, while also holding a .319 BABIP, up from .260 last season.

It may just be two starts, but Lopez is backing up his vow to pitch better. Between Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and the returns of Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodón from Tommy John surgery in 2020, the White Sox future starting rotation is in good hands. Getting Lopez back to pitching how he did in 2018 will only take that group to the next level.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Interview with Hall of Famer Harold Baines

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NBC Sports Chicago

White Sox Talk Podcast: Interview with Hall of Famer Harold Baines

Chuck Garfien sits down with new Hall of Famer Harold Baines.

First, Chuck, Ryan McGuffey and Chris Kamka share their memories of watching Baines play with the White Sox (1:40). Then, Baines explains why he's always been so soft-spoken (8:45), how he was able to play 22 seasons in the majors (13:00), why he's never spoken to GM Larry Himes for trading him to Texas (15:30), the apology he received from President George W. Bush (16:30), what he thinks about the critics who don't think he should be in the Hall of Fame (18:25), a replay of Baines emotional interview with Chuck about his dad (20:50) and more.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below: