Tuesday wasn’t the best day to evaluate the White Sox’ offseason choices. Making his debut with the franchise, Michael Kopech started his day with a strikeout, but Kevan Smith slipped fielding a nubber in front of the plate, Kopech just missed on a 3-2 pitch to Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz reversed 100 mph or thereabouts to the right-center gap, and Kopech had given up four runs in his inning of work when the smoke cleared.
Meanwhile, in the other split-squad game, Reynaldo Lopez gave up five runs over 11⁄3 innings, including a two-run homer to — you guessed it — Ryan Raburn.
Reading the reviews of the two starts, I noticed the difference in reflected attitude between Lopez ...
There's pressure on these kids to perform after all the back-slapping general manager Rick Hahn received for the Chris Sale and Adam Eaton deals, even though Lopez said he and Giolito, his teammate on the Nationals, don't feel any.
“We just try to do our job," he said. "We have a very good relationship. We are not desperate to show what we can do because we know what we can do.”
"That's probably part of the reason I'm pretty upset about today," Kopech said. "I'm trying to prove some people right. Obviously that's not the way to do it, but it is early. I think there's some adjustments to be made and once those adjustments are made I can actually be pretty helpful."
I used “reflected” because I’m guessing Kopech is being the more honest one here, based on nothing but some understanding of human nature. That said, there’s a bucket of cold water waiting for everybody somewhere along the line, so perhaps the slap is more useful earlier in the proceedings, when exuberance can force unrealistic timetables if unchecked.
Carson Fulmer’s 2016 is a good example, and maybe it’s no coincidence that Fulmer emerged victorious in Round 1 among the top four prospects:
- Fulmer: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K
- Giolito: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR
- Lopez: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR
- Kopech: 1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR
Given that he throws insanely hard, Kopech will be considered a risk for Tommy John surgery more than others. David Laurila talked to Kopech to see what his ideas are with staying healthy, and this jumped out to me, if only because Herm Schneider is known for being very precise and demanding with his shoulder regimen:
“We kind of had some give and take on a shoulder program. I ran through mine with them on day one, then they showed me the way they do things here, and I’ve kind of morphed both into one. Keeping your shoulder in shape, your whole arm in shape, is really a key here.”
The White Sox said Abreu had to “tend to personal matters,” and testifying in a trial of his former agent meets that description.
Comeback Story No. 1: Tyler Danish underwent knee surgery after injuring it in a walk-off celebration in Charlotte, and he says the idle time allowed him to refocus.
- Hit in the face with pitch last spring, Rymer Liriano trying to come back with White Sox — Chicago Tribune
Comeback Story No. 2: Liriano has needed to literally refocus after a fastball to the face left him with concussion symptoms for months.
Comeback Story No. 3 isn’t yet in the works, but Jake Peavy will have his own hurdles to overcome when he’s ready to return. He was had in a Ponzi scheme at the start of 2016 season, and he was served divorce papers at the end of the 2016 season.
Baseball’s cultural exchange, while not always smooth and welcoming, serves as a good example of how various groups can grow to accept each other with enough exposure, even if grudgingly. Yet baseball’s general pull to keep things in-house has most players thinking locally, rather than globally, in contrast to other sports. Jayson Stark does a nice job walking a delicate line in this story, raising questions without forcing any issues. The conclusion can be summed up in one of baseball’s most evasive truisms: “It is what it is.”