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  3. article_body => "<p>Reynaldo L\u00f3pez used the phrase \"arm action\" so much Saturday that it seemed he was trying to sell a new karate-chopping action figure.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>But no, L\u00f3pez is trying to do the same thing he's been trying for years now: pitch consistently well as a member of the White Sox starting rotation.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>This might be his last chance, coming off back-to-back tough seasons and the White Sox officially out of \"let's see what he can do\" mode with their sights set on winning the World Series.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p><strong>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href=\"https:\/\/www.nbcsports.com\/chicago\/white-sox\/white-sox-righty-dylan-cease-wows-jonathan-lucroy-devastating-stuff\">Dylan Cease wows Jonathan Lucroy with 'devastating' stuff<\/a><\/strong><\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>With the top four spots on the starting staff well spoken for by Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Lance Lynn and Dylan Cease, L\u00f3pez finds himself in a spring battle with Carlos Rod\u00f3n and a couple other youngsters for the fifth-starter job. With the team eyeing rotation spots for young fireballers Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet come&nbsp;2022, this could be L\u00f3pez's final opportunity to live up to the hype he brought with him when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals back in 2016.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>\"Honestly, I've always thought about this game as a competition,\" L\u00f3pez said through team interpreter Billy Russo on Saturday, after he threw two perfect innings in the White Sox first win of the Cactus League schedule. \"That's the way that I see it, a competition with the other team and a competition with yourself.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>\"One thing that keeps me motivated, besides the competition, is how good this team looks. I think we are looking very good, and that is something that is making me even more excited.\"<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>L\u00f3pez, who's made at least eight starts in every season since the White Sox rebuild began, clearly wants to be part of the approaching good times.&nbsp;But he'll have to earn that shot. How? Well, that's where \"arm action\" comes in.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>So much focus has been on what sort of magic new White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz might be able to work with Cease and Kopech. But L\u00f3pez, too, is a pupil of Katz, who already has some career-resurrection cred after helping Giolito turn things around after the righty's ugly 2018 campaign.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>White Sox fans who were&nbsp;frustrated with L\u00f3pez the past two seasons might not want to go another round. But L\u00f3pez is one of several South Side hurlers who&nbsp;got an offseason overhaul from Katz, and he's claiming it's improved just about everything.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>\"As soon as he was hired, (Katz) reached out to me,\" L\u00f3pez said. \"He had some ideas, he had some videos from the last couple of years. He showed me the videos, and he told me that I was tipping my pitches, that was one of the problems. I was leaving my arm behind my body. ... Then we tried to correct all those little things and also to shorten my arm swing. That was why we started working on the change with my arm action.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>\"With the new arm action, all my pitches are better. They're going to have better action, more life, especially my fastball. I've been more consistent with it. But I think, overall, all my pitches are going to be better.\"<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>L\u00f3pez, who's always spoke openly about focus and the mental side of the game, didn't limit his knowledge intake to just White Sox employees, either. He spent the offseason with San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto, a World Series winner with the division-rival Kansas City Royals, a two-time All Star and a three-time top-10 Cy Young finisher.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>\"The things that he told me were how he approaches the game, how he sees the game. And that was something that helped me to see the game with a different or better perspective,\" L\u00f3pez said.&nbsp;\"Just being around a guy like him with experience like he has is something that you grab knowledge from.\"<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>So is it working? Will it be enough to land a spot in the rotation come Opening Day?<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>Certainly he looked good in his first Cactus League outing of the spring, setting six Cleveland Indians batters down in order in his two innings of work. That's a great sign, of course, but&nbsp;roster-construction realities could still point to <a href=\"https:\/\/www.nbcsports.com\/chicago\/white-sox\/10-things-know-about-spring-battle-white-sox-fifth-starter-spot\">Rod\u00f3n as the potential favorite<\/a> to win the job: L\u00f3pez has minor league options remaining, while Rod\u00f3n was signed to a guaranteed major league deal this winter.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>Of course, even if L\u00f3pez misses out on an Opening Day roster spot, that doesn't mean he can't be of service to the White Sox at some point over the course of the 2021 season. After all, the White Sox have shown how critical starting-pitching depth is.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>And L\u00f3pez has impressed one of the team's key decision-makers, too.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>\"He's impressed everybody,\" White Sox manager Tony La Russa said before Saturday's game.&nbsp;\"I think his willingness to work with Ethan, in particular, also Curt (Hasler, assistant pitching coach), the way he's concentrated in bullpens and batting practice. ... He's done everything, and by what we've seen, it's a lot of plusses.\"<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/www.nbcsports.com\/chicago\/podcasts#SoxTalk\"><em><strong>Click here to subscribe to the White Sox Talk Podcast for free.<\/strong><\/em><\/a><\/p>\r\n\r\n<drupal-url data-embed-button=\"url\" data-embed-url=\"https:\/\/art19.com\/shows\/white-sox-podcast\" data-entity-label=\"Embed social\" data-timestamp=\"1610387981\" data-url-provider=\"ART19\"><\/drupal-url>\r\n\r\n<drupal-entity data-embed-button=\"app_promo_embed\" data-entity-embed-display=\"view_mode:block_content.full\" data-entity-type=\"block_content\" data-entity-uuid=\"84a634bd-85a1-4e39-9e2a-7d404e5646e3\" data-langcode=\"en\"><\/drupal-entity>\r\n"
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Sox Insider

Sox Insider

Reynaldo López used the phrase "arm action" so much Saturday that it seemed he was trying to sell a new karate-chopping action figure.

But no, López is trying to do the same thing he's been trying for years now: pitch consistently well as a member of the White Sox starting rotation.

This might be his last chance, coming off back-to-back tough seasons and the White Sox officially out of "let's see what he can do" mode with their sights set on winning the World Series.

RELATED: Dylan Cease wows Jonathan Lucroy with 'devastating' stuff

With the top four spots on the starting staff well spoken for by Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Lance Lynn and Dylan Cease, López finds himself in a spring battle with Carlos Rodón and a couple other youngsters for the fifth-starter job. With the team eyeing rotation spots for young fireballers Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet come 2022, this could be López's final opportunity to live up to the hype he brought with him when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals back in 2016.

"Honestly, I've always thought about this game as a competition," López said through team interpreter Billy Russo on Saturday, after he threw two perfect innings in the White Sox first win of the Cactus League schedule. "That's the way that I see it, a competition with the other team and a competition with yourself.

 

"One thing that keeps me motivated, besides the competition, is how good this team looks. I think we are looking very good, and that is something that is making me even more excited."

López, who's made at least eight starts in every season since the White Sox rebuild began, clearly wants to be part of the approaching good times. But he'll have to earn that shot. How? Well, that's where "arm action" comes in.

So much focus has been on what sort of magic new White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz might be able to work with Cease and Kopech. But López, too, is a pupil of Katz, who already has some career-resurrection cred after helping Giolito turn things around after the righty's ugly 2018 campaign.

White Sox fans who were frustrated with López the past two seasons might not want to go another round. But López is one of several South Side hurlers who got an offseason overhaul from Katz, and he's claiming it's improved just about everything.

"As soon as he was hired, (Katz) reached out to me," López said. "He had some ideas, he had some videos from the last couple of years. He showed me the videos, and he told me that I was tipping my pitches, that was one of the problems. I was leaving my arm behind my body. ... Then we tried to correct all those little things and also to shorten my arm swing. That was why we started working on the change with my arm action.

"With the new arm action, all my pitches are better. They're going to have better action, more life, especially my fastball. I've been more consistent with it. But I think, overall, all my pitches are going to be better."

López, who's always spoke openly about focus and the mental side of the game, didn't limit his knowledge intake to just White Sox employees, either. He spent the offseason with San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto, a World Series winner with the division-rival Kansas City Royals, a two-time All Star and a three-time top-10 Cy Young finisher.

"The things that he told me were how he approaches the game, how he sees the game. And that was something that helped me to see the game with a different or better perspective," López said. "Just being around a guy like him with experience like he has is something that you grab knowledge from."

So is it working? Will it be enough to land a spot in the rotation come Opening Day?

Certainly he looked good in his first Cactus League outing of the spring, setting six Cleveland Indians batters down in order in his two innings of work. That's a great sign, of course, but roster-construction realities could still point to Rodón as the potential favorite to win the job: López has minor league options remaining, while Rodón was signed to a guaranteed major league deal this winter.

 

Of course, even if López misses out on an Opening Day roster spot, that doesn't mean he can't be of service to the White Sox at some point over the course of the 2021 season. After all, the White Sox have shown how critical starting-pitching depth is.

And López has impressed one of the team's key decision-makers, too.

"He's impressed everybody," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said before Saturday's game. "I think his willingness to work with Ethan, in particular, also Curt (Hasler, assistant pitching coach), the way he's concentrated in bullpens and batting practice. ... He's done everything, and by what we've seen, it's a lot of plusses."

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