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White Sox Notes: Giolito Progressing, 26th-Man, Moncada Extension

Lucas Giolito is progressing, the 26th-man and notes on Yoán Moncada contract extension discussions in this morning’s White Sox notebook.

Photo: Chicago White Sox via MLB Pressbox

Giolito Progressing

When the White Sox opened up camp two weeks ago General Manager, Rick Hahn mentioned a few lingering offseason injury issues, one of which pertained to Lucas Giolito.

According to Hahn, Giolito suffered a muscle strain near his ribs as a result of a wicked case of the flu, something I can attest to with the bug that nailed me last week.

On Tuesday afternoon, White Sox skipper Rick Renteria highlighted Giolito’s recovery process.

“He was working on a slider today [Tuesday], his last side he felt a little better than this one, but they were able to incorporate the sliders, curveballs” Renteria said. “He’s moving along really well, he’s going to throw another side on Friday, and he’s moving in the right direction.”

Renteria clarified that the Giolito felt better in terms of his pitches, not his health, in his last session compared to his most recent on on Tuesday afternoon, and mentioned that Giolio is scheduled to throw his next side session on Friday at Camelback Ranch.

“In terms of him being ready to be able open on the 26th with the club he’s gotta do some work here in terms of facing some batters.”

If that goes well, I would imagine that the next step would be a Cactus League start, something that Renteria is adamant he needs to see before he can include Giolito in the Opening Day fold.

According to Renteria, there’s no number of innings in his mind that he’d like to see from Giolito in Cactus League competition before Opening Day, but mentioned that eventually reaching a five-inning outing would be something to shoot for before they deem him ready for Opening Day.

The 26th-Man

When asked about the new ability for the club to carry a 26th-man on the roster, Renteria was non-committal when it came to any specific player, but did suggest that it might be an older player that doesn’t need the Triple-A experience.

“It’ll depend on when we sit down and ultimately decide what it is. We’ll balance this out a little more and we’ll make that determination as the spring continues to evolve.”

Don’t expect a decision anytime soon, but you can use Renteria’s comments and the current roster construction to narrow it down to a few names.

Photo: NBC Sports

I would imagine that Yermin Mercedes and Nicky Delmonico are the two best-suited candidates, and will battle it out this spring for that final spot, assuming Nick Madrigal opens the 2020 season in Charlotte.

However, if Madrigal breaks camp with the team, then Danny Mendick likely automatically becomes the 26th-man on Opening Day.

Renteria didn’t rule out the possibility of the team using the spot to carry a third catcher, but wouldn’t lock himself into any direction.

“I guess it depends on the bat,” Renteria said. “What do I want to do with the bat, and who is the individual. We still have a lot of guys here who are growing, getting better and need more experience.”

Renteria praised Yermin Mercedes, and his early performance in camp at the plate and behind the dish.

“Offensively he’s been doing a nice job, and he’s a pretty good receiver too. The organization is excited about him, and hoping he continues his success this spring.” 

Renteria was also very complimentary of my other candidate for the final roster spot, Nicky Delmonico.

“He’s looking as good as a few years ago when I first saw him in hitting camp three years ago,” Renteria said. “He’s worked very, very hard this winter.”

Renteria said that his swing is stronger, rhythmic and is producing better results as we saw this weekend when he went 3-3 as he debuted his revamped swing since his recovery from a torn labrum that hindered him for much of the 2018 and 2019 campaigns.

Moncada Focused on 2020

Photo: Chicago White Sox via MLB Pressbox

When asked about reports regarding long-term extension conversations between Moncada and the White Sox, Moncada said that’s he’s strictly focused on his preparation for the season 2020 season.

“Honestly I don’t pay too much attention to that. My focus is on the game and preparing myself to be in the position that I can be in for the season.”

While Moncada is focused on the task at hand, despite reports that his agent and the Sox are in the early stages of a potential long-term extension, Moncada wouldn’t mind being on the Southside long-term.

“I feel comfortable on this team, and I’ve felt comfortable on this team since the moment that I came here,” Moncada said. “I actually see myself on this team for a very long time.”

Rick Hahn hinted that Spring Training was the best time of the year to get extensions done just two weeks ago, and locking-up Yoan Moncada long-term before the season starts would be a massive win for the organization.

On-Deck

The White Sox visit the Kansas City Royals in Surprise, Arizona this afternoon, with first pitch set for 2:05 pm (CT).

Matt Tomshaw gets the start for the White Sox on the mound, and Carson Fulmer highlights the list of arms set to appear out of the bullpen this afternoon.


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