3 takeaways from Chicago White Sox camp, including Eloy Jiménez picking up where he left off in return from the WBC
Players competing for roster spots shined for the Chicago White Sox in a 4-4 tie against the Cubs on Friday at Camelback Ranch.
Infielder/outfielder Romy Gonzalez went 1-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs. Reliever Gregory Santos struck out all four batters he faced. Santos has not allowed a run and has eight strikeouts in five relief appearances this spring (5⅓ innings).
Here are three more takeaways from Sox camp.
1. Eloy Jiménez reflects on ‘one of the best games’ he’s ever played in at the WBC.
Jiménez hoped for a different result. But one of the Sox outfielder/designated hitter’s favorite moments participating for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic came Wednesday against Puerto Rico.
“That was a fun game,” Jiménez said Friday morning. “Hate to lose but they played well too. Credit to them. That was a really good game, one of the best games I’ve played in.”
Jiménez returned to the Sox and was in the starting lineup Friday against the Cubs two days after the Dominican Republic’s 5-2 loss to Puerto Rico. The Dominican Republic finished 2-2 in pool play and did not advance to the quarterfinals.
“It was good, something I will never forget but not the result I wanted,” Jiménez said. “Now we’re here, getting ready for the season and that’s the most important thing. Keep getting ready, take good at-bats (and) play in the outfield.”
Jiménez went 5-for-11 with a double and two RBIs in the event. Before the tournament, he was 8-for-16 in Cactus League games with the Sox.
He picked up where he left off, doubling in his first at-bat Friday and finishing 1-for-2 with a run.
“He had a great experience (in the WBC),” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said Friday morning. “Talked to him (Thursday) night. He wants to get ready for the season. I was going to give him a day off and he was like ‘I want to play.’ So all right, let’s play.”
2. Mike Clevinger worked on sequencing in his 2nd spring start.
Clevinger worked on sequencing and “what pitches play” in his second spring start. The right-hander allowed three runs on three hits and struck out three in 3⅓ innings Friday.
He surrendered a pair of homers — Yan Gomes hit a two-run shot in the third and Edwin Ríos a solo blast in the fourth.
“We went with a couple of sequences we’d probably never do in the regular season (Friday), like that last one to Yan,” Clevinger said. “I had him all day on the sliders. He was swinging and missing. We were trying to see how the changeup was going to play to righties because we saw early in spring it looked like it was going to be a big pitch for me (and) I still think it is.
“But we are only using it to lefties. So we were like, ‘Hey, let’s get in an advantage count and see how it plays to righties.’ And it didn’t play too well, but we get to see it, we get to se where it needs to go from there at least.”
Clevinger said he felt good and got up to 65 pitches.
“Next time around the 80 marker and full-go after that, you are 80 to 100 pitches,” he said.
3. Lucas Giolito pleased with ‘productive’ B game.
Giolito called it a “very productive backfield day.” The right-hander allowed three hits and struck out six in four scoreless innings during a B game Thursday against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.
“I was throwing all my pitches for strikes,” Giolito said Thursday. “About halfway through, (pitching coach) Ethan (Katz) challenged me to make an adjustment with my fastball. I was throwing it down in the zone a lot, middle and down in the zone a lot. He was like ‘Hey, let’s get that thing up in the zone where it works best,’ and then we did a better job of getting it up in the zone, getting some flyouts and stuff like that.
“But overall, about all you could ask for, throwing on the backfield.”
Giolito was in line to pitch Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants, but rain washed out that Cactus League game. He was pushed to the B game Thursday, which meant some adjusting without a pitch clock.
“I was just trying to keep a good pace in my head,” he said. “I wasn’t counting in my head but I thought, ‘Don’t be walking around the mound, don’t be doing that stuff that we used to be able to do.’ I was just trying to keep a good pace with it. I felt like I had a good rhythm going, for sure.”
Giolito is aiming for five innings in his next start.
“That’s that progression, you just go up one inning each time,” Giolito said. “(I) probably will get a couple outings with five and then go from there for the (regular) season.”