White Sox

Too cold for baseball: White Sox series finale with Royals gets postponed

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USA TODAY

Too cold for baseball: White Sox series finale with Royals gets postponed

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — "Bitter cold." Or as us Chicago natives know it, "April 1."

No matter how used to cold temperatures you are, though, you probably don't want to play baseball in them. And that's what happened Sunday in the Show Me State, as the White Sox series finale with the Kansas City Royals got postponed. Bitter cold — temps were in the high 20s — and expected snow accumulation was the reasoning from the Royals, who blasted out the postponement announcement three and a half hours before the scheduled first pitch.

"I think for all the guys that are out there on the field, your body's restricted a little bit, it seems like," manager Rick Renteria said of playing in the cold weather. "For the pitchers, it's probably the most difficult thing because of the feel. The ball feels slick. It doesn't matter what you do. You're cold. It's obviously something that's of concern. When you've got guys throwing 90-plus miles per hour and you're in the box, you probably want them to know where the ball's going as much as you possibly can."

For the White Sox, the pitching rotation will remain the same, not surprising considering 60 percent of the team's starting pitchers have yet to make their 2018 debuts. Sunday's scheduled starter, Reynaldo Lopez, will now pitch Monday night in the first of three games against the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada. That domed stadium in Toronto ought to prevent any further weather delays. Miguel Gonzalez will throw in the second game of that series, and Carson Fulmer will pitch the third. That sets up James Shields, rather than Lucas Giolito, for the White Sox home opener Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

While it could be viewed as a potential silver lining that a team gets more time to rest early in the season because of more scheduled off days and weather-induced ones, Renteria — whose team is off to a 2-0 start — said his players would rather just play.

"I think you just want to play," he said. "So any interruption in that kind of changes the direction you're going in a little bit. We would rather play. I know everybody on the West Coast is playing every day without any problems. It is what it is. It's just the weather. You can't control that.

"We are routine-driven. Fortunately, we'll just have this break today and we'll go to Toronto and play underneath the roof and we'll be able to get those three days in. It is about consistency and routine. If this was a three- or four- or five-day break, these guys aren't able to continue to do what they do, that would be more concerning to me than one day. Even two days, you're still trying to manage whatever you can to stay ready. Playing the games is the biggest thing. It's the test, and that's what they prepare for and they want to do it as consistently as they possibly can."

After homering for his first MLB hit, Zack Collins was 'in shock'

After homering for his first MLB hit, Zack Collins was 'in shock'

The young players that figure to feature heavily in the future of the White Sox have had quite a week.

It started with Lucas Giolito being the first pitcher in the majors to reach 10 wins, then Eloy Jimenez blasted a big go-ahead home run in the ninth inning in his first crosstown game against the Cubs. Now, Zack Collins has added his own blast of optimism to the White Sox young core.

The 24-year-old made his first major league start on Friday in Texas and delivered a three-run home run in his first at-bat. It was his second MLB plate appearance after he drew a pinch-hit walk Wednesday in Wrigley.

After the White Sox beat the Rangers 5-4 in 10 innings, Collins talked to Jason Benetti and Steve Stone on the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast.

“Honestly I was just in shock,” Collins said. “I was running around the bases. It seemed like it lasted like three seconds and I felt myself sprinting around second so I had to slow it down and enjoy the moment, but it was an awesome time.”

Collins finished 1-for-5 with three strikeouts, but that is Collins’ game. He’s going to strikeout a lot and his batting average probably won’t be pretty. He has a career .234 batting average in the minors (.250 in Triple-A Charlotte this year), but he coupled that with a .378 on-base percentage and big power.

In his five trips to the plate on Friday, Collins saw 22 pitches. He’s going to work the count and sometimes he’s going to run into home runs.

“It was smooth,” Collins said. “I just kind of put the ball in play and the ball flew. I really don’t know. It was kind of a blur to me. It was obviously a big moment for me.”

Collins was called up Tuesday morning ahead of the first game against the Cubs. He didn’t play that game, but the pinch-hit walk on Wednesday helped take out some of the nerves.

“On Wednesday night I stepped up, I had a little bit of jitters, had a little bit of butterflies and stuff, but I think that was the point of getting in there on Wednesday and getting all that out,” Collins said. “It felt good tonight.”

Collins still hasn’t played catcher since he got called up. He was the DH in Friday’s lineup. That didn’t stop his dad from being excited about his first start.

“I was pumped,” Collins said of when he saw he was in the lineup. “I immediately texted my dad and told him I was in there. He told me good luck, play hard, do your thing. Obviously it started off well and we got a big win tonight so it was fun.”

As of the postgame interview, Collins didn’t yet have his home run ball. However, it sounded like he was able to make a deal with a fan for it.

“Somebody said they did get the ball,” Collins said. “I think I have to make a little trade with somebody.”

 

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WATCH: Zack Collins hits a three-run homer for his first MLB hit

WATCH: Zack Collins hits a three-run homer for his first MLB hit

Zack Collins started his MLB career in fitting fashion, with a walk.

In his next trip to the plate, he hit a home run.

Collins came on as a pinch-hitter Wednesday at the Cubs and drew that walk. Friday's game at Texas was his first start. The 2016 first-round pick entered the lineup as a DH and batted eighth.

He came up with two on and two out against Rangers starter Ariel Jurado. Collins, as he is known for, took the first three pitches before fouling off a curve on a 2-1 count. Then he took a slider deep to right-center.

Watch Collins' home run in the video above.

Collins is known for three things as a hitter: home runs, walks and strikeouts. Before getting called up from Triple-A Charlotte, Collins was hitting .250/.374/.482. He had nine home runs in 50 games with 36 walks and 66 strikeouts. He was sixth in the International League in walks while playing fewer games due to splitting time at catcher.

In a very short time period, Collins is showing what the White Sox thought they were getting when they drafted him 10th overall in 2016.

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