White Sox

Lucas Giolito not sure MLB can complete 2020 season amid COVID-19 challenges

Lucas Giolito not sure MLB can complete 2020 season amid COVID-19 challenges

If you’re expecting to challenge the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central title, no reason to mess around. Why not face them on Opening Day?

“Sounds like fun to me,” Lucas Giolito said on the White Sox Talk Podcast.

But while Giolito will likely be starting for the White Sox that night — July 24 on NBC Sports Chicago — ask him how, or should we say if, this season actually finishes in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and you get a much different answer, one layered with doubt about possible problems that could lie ahead for the entire league.

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“I’m not 100-percent confident that we’re going to get through a season this year, but I have to prepare for it mentally, physically and be ready to go. We all have to,” Giolito said. “I’m trying to follow the rules, protocols, do everything that I can, communicate to others to do it as well. I think if we can do that and guys are being pretty safe away from the field, then there’s a pretty good chance we can at least get it started.”

Not exactly a quote the league wants to put on a billboard, but it’s baseball’s unfortunate reality.

The players know what they’re up against: a battle against a virus that doesn’t care who’s pitching or hitting, who’s home or away.

“For me, I’m all for whatever keeps us safe. We’re not going to be safe, (so) I guess as safe as possible. So far, I’ve seen no issues with my tests or any of my teammates,” Giolito said. “I just think it’s important that we do everything we can, which by looking around the clubhouse these last few days in our 'Summer Camp,' I feel like everyone on the team is taking it seriously. We’re doing a pretty solid job adhering to all the rules.”

Last week, White Sox players held a Zoom call to discuss not just the rules, but how every single person is responsible for their actions. One bad decision by one player could put the whole team and season in jeopardy.

“When we are away from the field, are we socially distancing? Are we wearing our masks when we go to the grocery store? Or going out to bars or restaurants and hanging out with a bunch of random people? That’s going to be the biggest challenge, I think, for everyone involved with this. Coming together and saying, 'This is the normal right now. This is what we’ve got to do if we want to make this work,'” Giolito explained. “I think it’s going to be important that team leaders, both coaches and players, continue to reiterate that.”

So far, two White Sox players have tested positive for COVID-19. Both positive tests came during the team's intake period, before workouts began at Guaranteed Rate Field last Friday.

Giolito said he’s been tested two to three times.

“If we could (be tested) every day, I would do it every day.”

RELATED: White Sox trust MLB protocol as positive COVID-19 tests, player concerns grow

Watching the workout on Monday, other than the sight of coaches wearing masks, everything looked normal with the White Sox. Eloy Jiménez was laughing and smiling. Luis Robert was roaming center field like a gazelle. Edwin Encarnación was crushing balls deep into the seats.

Despite the pandemic, the goal for 2020 remains the same.

It’s time to start winning.  

In this case, Giolito says that means beating their opponents, as well as the virus.

“It’s unfortunately a risk that I’m taking and many of my teammates are taking," he said. "At the same time, we’re interested in winning, and we’re not going to win if we’re not playing.”


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Detroit Tigers' C.J. Cron hit by ball, needs to be helped off field

Detroit Tigers' C.J. Cron hit by ball, needs to be helped off field

A scary scene unfolded during the 4th inning of Monday’s series opener between the White Sox and Tigers.

C.J. Cron needed to be helped off the field after he got hit by a sharp ground ball while fielding at first base.

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Cron lay on the ground for several minutes after the play and limped off the field with the help of Tigers staff.

Amazingly, pitcher Daniel Norris was able to corral the ball and tag out Danny Mendick to end the inning.

Cron has been one of the Tigers’ best power hitters, tied for the team league with four home runs.


RELATED: Aaron Bummer latest to join big White Sox contingent on injured list

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White Sox' Luis Robert not feeling pressure of Rookie of the Year hype

White Sox' Luis Robert not feeling pressure of Rookie of the Year hype

Of all the White Sox players this season, the spotlight has shined brightest on Luis Robert, but he says that’s not the reason for his recent five-game slump. In fact, Robert doesn’t even see himself as a new face of the franchise, despite all the hype surrounding his MLB debut and hot start to the season.

“I honestly don’t feel that way,” Robert said via team interpreter Billy Russo. “I just think that I’m the new guy.”

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It’s clear the pressure didn’t affect Robert earlier in the year as he notched at least one hit in his first six games, and racked up 14 hits through 10 games. As the impressive performances at the plate mounted, so did the buzz around the young centerfielder. But Robert insists he doesn’t think about it, even though he’s slashing a lowly .158/.200/.211 over his last five games, and out of the lineup for the first time in his career on Monday.

“I know everyone’s trying to talk about me, about my option for Rookie of the Year and that kind of stuff,” Robert said via Russo. “But for me I just feel like another guy for this team. I don’t feel that pressure, that attention. I know that it’s there, but I don’t think about that.”

So is this mini-slump due to an adjustment in the way pitchers are approaching Robert at the plate? Again, Robert says no.

“Pitchers have been attacking me the same way since the season started. I didn’t have good results the last few days, but I just have to keep working. There’s nothing different that they have done against me. It’s just a matter of results.”

Robert has shown a remarkable ability to adjust to a pitcher’s approach mid-game. Now it’s time to see how he adjusts to a little major league adversity.


RELATED: White Sox at quarter pole: Injuries, starting-pitching woes cloud rest of 2020

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