Most Cactus League games are meaningless, unless someone gets hurt. February Cactus League games are seriously meaningless.
But today, perhaps a scintilla of meaning, as two of the contenders for Last Starter Standing will be the first two Sox pitchers. Their status as contenders for the No. 5 slot (OK, it would be No. 7 on most teams) took a step backward when Ervin Santana signed a minor league deal, since Santana is one injury-plagued year away from All-Stardom.
Still, they’re contenders. Due first is that other Manny, Bañuelos, fresh off of 10 years of minor league preparation, interrupted briefly for a cup of bitter coffee with the Atlanta Braves in 2015. Next in will be Dylan Covey, who last year had a brief stretch of brilliance amid two longer stretches of “oh, no, not Covey!” when you found out he was starting a game for which you’d bought tickets.
Facing Giants lefty Derek Holland, whose worst career year by far was the one he spent with the White Sox in 2017, will be what will probably also be the Opening Day infield: Welington Castillo, José Abreu, Yolmer Sánchez, Tim Anderson and Yoán Moncada. Joining them will be two-thirds of the anticipated outfield of the future, with Eloy Jiménez in left and Luis Robert in center. John Jay will lead off and play right.
The Sox will be trying to get off the schneid after three one-run losses over the weekend. Game time is 2:05 CT. Listen in on WGN.