The WBC boys are back in action! Luis Robert Jr. returns to the White Sox lineup for the first time in three weeks, and Eloy Jiménez is on track to man right field for the first time since leaving Monday’s game with leg cramping issues.
WBC All-Tournament third baseman Yoán Moncada is still on the mend from the collision that pulled him out of Cuba’s semi-final loss to the United States on Sunday, but is reportedly in good shape to be back in the lineup again in short order:
Pedro Grifol said Andrew Vaughn (back) will play in a minor league tomorrow. Yoán Moncada and Tim Anderson should play Cactus League tomorrow as well— James Fegan (@JRFegan) March 23, 2023
Luis Robert Jr. in center vs. the Giants! pic.twitter.com/77Yc2R9Suz— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 23, 2023
Seby Zavala’s bat continues to get starter-level reps while his knees take a break, as he’ll be DHing with Yasmani Grandal donning the tools of ignorance against Sean Manaea and the Giants this afternoon. Although the Sox were reportedly in the market for catching help over the winter, Zavala has put the missed opportunity to bed quite nicely with a solid 9-for-30 mark this spring, with three homers and doubles apiece. A career .786 OPS hitter in the minors, it seems there’s a non-zero chance Zavala’s 107 OPS+ over 61 games in 2022 wasn’t a fluke and that he may actually be a borderline-starter quality option behind the dish.
Michael Kopech takes the mound for his third start of the spring, putting him on track to start the season in the rotation albeit with a more limited workload than if he had started his spring as planned. Kopech’s stuff has fluctuated wildly in his two starts to this point: His fastball reportedly lived in the upper-90s in his first appearance, somehow needing just 11 pitches to record nine outs. His appearance last Saturday was likewise scoreless, but was marred by a substantial drop in velocity and a confusing pattern of entering-and-leaving the game that suggested injury before anybody knew what the plan was. We can expect Kopech to work into the 40-50 pitch range this afternoon, which would set him up to enter the regular season with roughly an 80-90 pitch cap.
Today’s game is one of the few aired by the White Sox on NBCS Chicago, though I suppose we should grateful for even that, if you want to take their reported $50 million 2022 operating loss at face value. Then again, if you’re inclined to take that at face value, maybe six TV games is all we deserve.
As always, the radio broadcast can be found on AM 1000 WMVP. See you at first pitch!