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Terrerobytes: First day of camp

David Robertson finally faces rumors, Carlos Rodon is taking it slow, Omar Narvaez has confidence, and more

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MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

David Robertson didn’t attend SoxFest, so he made it through the offseason largely unreached.

But here he is, still with the White Sox. And there they are, the Washington trade rumors low-grade but persistent. Put them together, and he had to walk the line between present and future on the first day of spring training.

“It's tough because there's nothing I can really do,” Robertson said. “I can't control anything about it so I just try to put it in the back of my mind. Just come to the field and do the work I need to do and whatever decisions this organization makes is what they're going to do. I only have a choice, I'll end up doing what I want to do, play baseball.” [...]

“What else can I do?” Robertson said. “I'm here to play baseball. I'm going to continue to work on getting better and let the cards fall where they're going to be. I can't do anything about it. I'm just going to try my best to stay here. If I stay here, great. If I get moved, it's their decision.”

Jose Quintana is working under the same circumstances, but there’s no specific chatter that’s as strong as the Nationals-Robertson rumor, and he already handled the questions back in January. Rick Hahn, for his part, downplayed the chances of anything happening in the near future.


Alex Reyes, the consensus top pitching prospect in baseball, will undergo Tommy John surgery after reporting to spring training with a sore elbow. The Cardinals still have five starters, but workload concerns throughout the rotation made six a necessity. Quintana would be a great fit on paper, but the Cardinals would have to wipe out their upper-echelon minor-league talent for an outside chance of making noise, so any potential fit feels forced. Right now, the biggest thing White Sox fans can take away from it is 1) the importance of stockpiling arms, and 2) the danger in making pitching prospects untouchable when trade possibilities arise later.

Carlos Rodon didn’t throw on the first day of spring training, but he and Rick Renteria both pointed to the long haul — including a longer-than-usual spring training — for the slow start, as well as Chris Sale’s success with the modified schedule. Hahn said there were no medical concerns for anybody at this point.

Brett Ballantini asks Hahn what the hell happened with the catchers, and then saves the best anecdote for last.

Speaking of catchers, if you listen to the podcast, I’ve been on a thread about Omar Narvaez continuing to exceed his track record, not because of any one tendency, but because his whole game results in a useful player at a position of scarcity. James Fegan might have helped identify one part in particular.

Narvaez was not a highly-touted prospect at any point in his minor league career, and is not going to be labeled as the next Mike Piazza for his power-hitting, but he knows the strike zone, and will tell you as much. Narvaez drew 14 walks (equal to his number of strikeouts) and posted a .350 on-base percentage in 117 plate appearances in his major league debut in 2016.

“For me it was a little bit easier to recognize the pitches, recognize the zone,” Narvaez said, “Because it’s a little bit smaller in the major leagues than the minor leagues.”

It reminds me of Tim Anderson pointing to better fields as one reason for his improved defense.

The former Twins manager’s return to baseball will be interrupted by surgery in April to remove prostate cancer. Gardenhire said doctors believe they caught it early enough that only surgery will be required. One of his longtime rivals offered prayers.