Tag Archives: Miguel Gonzalez

Upates from Glendale: Burger undergoes surgery, Giolito and Jimenez start hot

By Cat Garcia

It’s been anything but dull for the first few weeks of White Sox training camp in Glendale, Arizona. Sox fans have been able to catch a glimpse not only of live action baseball, but of their stars of the future.

With that being said, it certainly hasn’t been a Spring Training for the faint of heart. Multiple injuries have mounted on the field, Miguel Gonzalez struggled in his first outing back in a White Sox uniform, and folks caught a glimpse of the less refined version of their future superstar pitcher Michael Kopech.

From Jake Burger to Nicky Delmonico, let’s take a look at the biggest takeaways from camp so far.

Jake Burger Out For 2018

White Sox first-rounder Jake Burger ruptured his Achilles during a sprint to first base during a game against the Athletics on February 27th. Burger underwent successful surgery on his Achilles on March 1st in Chicago and is expected to miss the entire 2018 season. Despite the shocking turn of events, Burger has a positive outlook on the situation. “I can focus on nutrition, focus on my diet, focus on my body,” Burger told the media in Glendale after the injury occurred. “I actually texted my academic guy back at Missouri State, and I’m going to go back for an intersession course, get three hours in.” Burger said he spoke with newly appointed White Sox ambassador and former starter Jose Contreras, who suffered the same injury in 2008. “He was like, ‘Look, man, it’s a tough recovery, but you’ll get back,’” Burger said of Contreras. “He said he lost 30 pounds while going through it. I’m looking forward to that and I’m looking forward to being back with my family for a couple of weeks.”

Lucas Giolito Impresses

The future is bright for young White Sox starter Lucas Giolito, who showed flashes of brilliance in his short debut with the big league club at the end of 2017. But in training camp, Giolito seems to be picking up where he left off. Giolito has started two games and pitched a total of six innings, while accumulating nine strikeouts, and eight of those nine punchouts came on Saturday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs. Giolito walked two on the afternoon and pitched four solid innings. “I was just trying to mix my it up a lot,” Giolito told the media after his outing on Saturday. “I was throwing the slider pretty much for strikes and was throwing the curveball a bit sharper, which is what I have been working on. With two strikes, I was able to get guys out with it. Overall my breaking stuff was working pretty well.” Giolito allowed just one earned run on Saturday, a homer off Cubs backup catcher Victor Caratini.

Nicky Delmonico and Tyler Saladino Suffer Outfield Collision

As if the White Sox stockpile of injuries could mount any higher — two most players were added to the heap on Sunday. Outfielder Nicky Delmonico and shortstop Tyler Saladino collided trying to catch a pop-up in the seventh inning, and the collision prompted manager Rick Renteria to remove Saladino from the game and place him on the 7-day concussion list, while Delmonico has suffered a separated shoulder. “Just extended it,” Renteria said of the Delmonico injury. “Didn’t pop it. Didn’t do anything. Just got extended and jammed it a little bit.” With just two weeks until Opening Day, it is possible that for precautionary reasons, Delmonico will open the season on the disabled list. Delmonico was slated to be the White Sox starting left fielder, which now leaves the club ready to test the waters with Ryan Cordell, Leury Garcia and other options to fill that role.

Eloy Jimenez Returns

Not all of camp has been exceptionally gloomy in the way of injuries for the White Sox this spring. After being sidelined for two weeks with left knee tendinitis, the infamous Eloy Jimenez played his first full game of the spring on Sunday against the Diamondbacks. Jimenez first stepped up to the plate as a pinch-hitter in Saturday’s game, only to hit a go-ahead home run that tied the game 4-4. Sunday, Jimenez continued his success, hitting another home run in his first at-bat off Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin. Jimenez went on to hit a triple on a line drive to centerfield and walked in his final plate appearance of the day. Despite the success, Jimenez has only played a handful of games above Class A and will begin the season in Double A Birmingham, even if the stay there is short before he ventures up to Charlotte. The show will go on for Jimenez, just not with the big league club for right now.

Taking a Flyer

As the Hot Stove season officially kicked off this week with the annual GM Meetings in Orlando, the rumors are starting to form.

One of the biggest areas of need for the White Sox going into the 2018 season is the presence of solid, likely veteran pitching to fill in the gaps that have been left by the departed Derek Holland and Miguel Gonzalez.

Top pitching prospect Michael Kopech is certainly a candidate to fill out the rotation in 2018, however, White Sox GM Rick Hahn has clearly stated that he does not intend to rush Kopech to the big leagues and therefore he’s unlikely to make the Opening Day roster. That leaves the White Sox with Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and James Shields in their rotation with Carlos Rodon’s Opening Day return still in question after a September shoulder procedure.

This year’s free agent market is simply saturated with the type of cost-controlled, inning-eating veterans the White Sox will likely be looking to employ. So, let’s take a look at which arms on the market could be a strong fit for the coming season.


Chris Tillman

With Tillman hitting free agency this offseason, it’s no secret that 2017 was the worst year for Tillman to spot an unsightly 7.84 ERA followed by major issues with controlling his pitches. Tillman was sidelined until May and never quite regained the status he once held as one of the Orioles top of the rotation starters once he returned. Tillman consistently gave the Orioles innings throughout his career, pitching over 200 in 2013 and 2014. He also logged 173 innings as recently as 2016. Tillman’s shoulder injury hindered him from participating in his offseason training program, left the Baltimore organization concerned for his health during spring training, and then eventually sidelined him for the first month of the season — all indications that perhaps the biggest issue for Tillman in 2017 was the inability to really regain his consistency on the mound. Perhaps Tillman needs to learn to make adjustments post-injury, and a union with White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper would help yet another Orioles pitcher regain their dominance with a new team. A one-year deal to help Tillman reestablish his value and fill a void for the White Sox could make this a perfect match for 2018.


Hector Santiago

Perhaps a reunion could be on the horizon for Santiago and the White Sox–the organization that drafted him in 2006. Like Tillman, Santiago is approaching his age 30 season in 2018 and suffered a major setback in 2017 before hitting free agency, making him yet another potentially advantageous get for the White Sox. Santiago was sidelined in July with a back injury and only pitched 70 innings in Minnesota to the tune of a 5.63 ERA. Santiago has never been much of an inning eater, with his career high innings pitched totalling at just 182. However, that was as recently as 2016. Perhaps Santiago’s return to the South Side could yield another win-win situation.


Scott Feldman

Feldman is perhaps one of the most intriguing of candidates. Feldman doesn’t give you a ton of longevity but was delivering an average of 5.2 innings per start in Cincinnati last season. With career numbers that are solid, if not spectacular, perhaps Feldman can bridge the gap that will need to be filled by a reliable, healthy starter in the coming season on the South Side. Another plus is that Feldman may come at a bargain, considering he only made $2.3 million in 2017 — a quite affordable salary for a pitcher of Feldman’s caliber. The one downside is that Feldman may be seeking a loftier, multi-year contract the White Sox may not be interested in. However if it’s cost-effective and Feldman continues to make solid contributions he could potentially become a trade candidate down the road.


Miguel Gonzalez

This reunion would have a certain symmetry to it. Gonzalez had an exceptional end to his season on the South Side; one that merited him trade value and returned the White Sox 21 year-old 3B/SS prospect Ti’Quan Forbes — a highly projectable Low-A player. It wouldn’t be the first time the White Sox have brought back a former player and, surely, Gonzalez would be open to the idea of returning to the club which he spoke so fondly of, a club that helped him return to the strong and reliable middle rotation starter he was. However, with Gonzalez’s ERA dipping as low as 2.33 and 3.53 in July and August, respectively, perhaps the market for Gonzalez, in terms of years and price, may be a bit steeper than the White Sox would like to partake in.


Wily Peralta

When the Brewers cut ties with 28-year old Peralta, it was due to the fact that he was struggling in the rotation and became a liability for a team that was in the midst of a dramatic pennant race. However, the Brewers didn’t see it fit to keep Peralta confined to the bullpen, so when he was sent to the minors he elected for minor league free agency. Peralta has averaged an ERA in the 3 and 4 area over his career in Milwaukee, but has always been able to deliver consistent innings — something the White Sox are certainly looking for. Peralta threw a career high of 198 innings in 2013, with his lowest total coming in 2015 when he only pitched 108 innings over 23 starts. Peralta may be a long shot given his solid track record and age, but perhaps he could be another pitcher looking to rediscover themselves in Chicago under the tutelage of Don Cooper.

Sox confident Miguel Gonzalez can regain success from 2016

By Cat Garcia

Perhaps we have some answers to the mysterious question that has loomed since mid-May: What happened to the reinvented Miguel Gonzalez the White Sox saw just last season?

Gonzalez started off the 2017 season with a 3.18 ERA in six starts. But that quickly changed, as Gonzalez’s ERA spiked to 7.35 from May 12th to his last start on June 14th. Pretty indicative that something was up.

“I was not finding anything at that point,” Gonzalez said after his outing on Wednesday against the Orioles. “I felt like my four-seam was cutting. The ball wasn’t doing what I wanted to. I felt like my slot was a little lower than usual. It’s something I have to fix and then we’ll be OK.”

Well, there was something up. In correspondence to James Shields’ reinstatement from the DL on Sunday, the White Sox announced that Gonzalez would be moved to the 10-day DL retroactive to June 15th with A/C joint inflammation. According to reports, Gonzalez has been pitching though soreness for “about a month”, which directly correlates with his seasons massive derailment.

If Gonzalez was in fact pitching through soreness as he claims, that would certainly compromise his mechanics leading to the poor command we’ve seen from him this season. Gonzalez has already let up 13 home runs this season. He only allowed 11 during all of 2016. Gonzalez is also striking out just 5.3 batters per nine, down from 6.3 last season. His walk rate has climbed a bit too, going from 2.3 last season to 3.0 in 2017.

“When you’re not right, the ball doesn’t do what you want it to do,” Gonzalez said Sunday after the DL announcement. “You’re changing your slot. You’re not where you need to be and it just makes it that much harder to put the ball where you want it. Command, it’s very important, especially for starters.”

Instead of hitting the panic button and assuming that Gonzalez’s success last season was just a flash in the pan, we now have a legitimate reason to believe that once Gonzalez is able to recover from his shoulder inflammation that perhaps he can regain some of the dominance that the White Sox saw in 2016.

To say Gonzalez surprised the White Sox with his success last season is accurate, though it’s not as if he pulled off a Jake Arrieta-esque season that is likely unrepeatable. The success that Gonzalez saw was built on a strong foundation that the Orioles have struggled to give many of their pitchers (such as Arrieta, who clearly saw a bounty of success upon arrival in Chicago). Gonzalez’s success on the South side didn’t merit him any higher than a solid fourth spot in the rotation, which isn’t much to ask of a 33-year-old starter who has never thrown over 171 innings per season in his career. Perhaps Gonzalez was just able to reach his full potential at this stage of his career in Chicago.

And it wasn’t all perfect, Gonzalez missed time in the second half of the season with a groin strain and has been known to be a bit of a red flag in the injury department. Thankfully, with the exception of this season, the White Sox are good at keeping their pitchers in good health, which is why many veteran starters and reclamation projects see so much success on the South side.

While Gonzalez’s injury may lead some folks to breath a small sigh of relief in the sense that there isn’t another largely underlying mechanical issue blooming, it does now lead to concern that the 33-year-old is dealing with what could become a looming injury that’s leading to some worry for the future. Not to mention that the trade deadline is just over a month away, and Gonzalez may have likely been one of the top pitchers on the White Sox’s trading block.

“It’s more a precautionary tale for us. We anticipate it’s going to be a short-lived situation,” Sox skipper Rick Renteria said before Sunday’s game in Toronto.

So perhaps it is just a small blip on the radar that is responsible for a bigger issue. The White Sox are well aware of how to handle injury prone pitchers, and stay proactive when it comes to injury prevention. Hopefully, this is the route Gonzalez will take. Gonzalez said he received a cortisone shot on Sunday and was able to throw the ball 60-feet pain-free, a good sign for his trajectory.

Left-hander David Holmberg will take the mound on Tuesday against the Twins to replace Gonzalez. According to Renteria, Carlos Rodon will make at least one more rehab start before he potentially makes his season debut. So perhaps everything is being timed perfectly, and not all is as drastic as it may seem on the South side.

Plenty of PT for White Sox Prospects

White Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada makes his second start of the spring today against the Mariners. From the start of camp Manager Ricky Renteria has put Moncada and the rest of the high-end prospects in the White Sox newly loaded farm system front and center.

Moncada has five plate appearances, despite just the one start, catcher Zach Collins has five as well–with no starts yet. Adam Engel (who won the Arizona Fall League MVP in 2015 and someone White Sox fans should keep an eye out for) has had five trips to the plate as well. Engel also made one of the better plays in the outfield for the Sox so far this spring. Michael Kopech will start today’s game against the Mariners. Reynaldo Lopez gets the start in the other game (the Sox are using split squads today). Lucas Giolito made his debut against the World Series Champion Cubs on Monday. Zach Burdi was called on in the 9th inning of Sunday’s game to nail down the Sox first win.

There’s a lot of young talent and they’re getting run early.

While the playing time is plentiful for the youngins early on, it may not portend breaking camp with the team–or even an early call-up. The World Baseball Classic is making spring extra-long this year. The Sox also have a few injuries to projected regulars (Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie and Charlie Tilson) which gives more opportunities. Further, forty percent of the White Sox rotation will work in the WBC–Jose Quintana will pitch for Columbia, Miguel Gonzalez for Mexico–while Nate Jones and David Robertson will both pitch for Team USA. Those pitchers are on a different schedule, altogether. Finally, Carlos Rodon has been backed up in an effort to keep him strong through the season.

Still, “Get ‘Em In Early” works pretty well as a motto for a team hungry to see what all the new (and existing) young talent is able to do. Perhaps the toughest task facing the kids, however, could be keeping things in stride. Knowing that their time in Big League Camp could be limited, it’s got to be tough to no try and hit three home runs in one swing or throw a fastball through the catcher. So far, the kids have impressed and that’ perhaps the most important part of the White Sox spring.