Today is the day that players gather to their respective spring training facilities to open spring training camp. Spring training is a fun time as there is nothing better than hearing the sound of a crack of the bat or a baseball hitting the leather of a glove. A busy offseason for the White Sox is coming to a close as pitchers and catchers reported. General Manager Rick Hahn addressed the media and opened up with some concerning news as the club is dealing with a trio of injuries.
Before everyone pushes the panic button, these injuries are very minor and the players won’t miss much time. Yasmani Grandal and Lucas Giolito are continuing among their normal regimes while Gio Gonzalez will be slowed down but all are expected to be ready for opening day.
Hahn then discussed the plan for RHP Michael Kopech and that he is entering camp without restrictions. Although he has not pitched versus live hitters for just about 18 months, the club will proceed with caution. They will have to see how Kopech progresses and how he feels throughout camp. Ultimately, the team will make a decision on if Kopech will begin the season with AAA Charlotte or with the big league club.
Manager Rick Renteria was next up to address the media. He started the conversation with the mindset of winning baseball, alluding to the key acquisitions made over the course of the winter that put the club on the path towards contention in 2020. Ricky then proceeded to talk about the players urgency to start their preseason routines with the majority of the players arriving at Camelback Ranch as early as Feb 1. This notion of eagerness should not be a surprise given the optimism this offseason has brought.
Ricky also praised RHP Reynaldo Lopez‘s new approach to preparing for the 2020 season. Lopez took the offseason to find himself mentally to become more confident and relaxed rather than just working on his physical ability. This will be a huge for Lopez’s development as fans know he has the stuff to pitch in the big leagues but it’s also about having that mental toughness to succeed on the mound. His offseason mindset was very similar to how fellow rotation mate Lucas Giolito handled his 2019 off season after a rough 2018 campaign.
Both Hahn and Renteria stressed the importance of backup catcher James McCann‘s role after a 2019 All Star campaign. Having 2 All Star catchers is a good problem to have, especially when leading a predominantly young staff of pitchers. McCann is expected to play a pivotal role in the 2020 season, and having the quality depth behind the plate will be a plus for the club. He seems to be in a good place mentally to open camp and wants to help the team win in any way he can.
It’s all coming together. The ultimate goal of this rebuild is taking shape for the White Sox. A 2019 campaign where we saw signs of development from a rebuilding club enters 2020 with a slew of veterans brought in to bolster the budding young core. 35th and Shields at Guaranteed Rate Field will be an atmosphere filled with buzz and excitement as the 2020 season draws near. Sox fans deserved this feeling as they endured the rough years of the rebuild and the process. So as former broadcaster Hawk Harrellson would say “Sit back, relax and strap it down”. Baseball is back on the south side of Chicago.
Featured Photo: WGNtv.com