White Sox could get healthy bodies back for road trip

White Sox could get healthy bodies back for road trip

Catcher Seby Zavala and reliever Kendall Graveman celebrate the White Sox’ 4-3 victory Sunday against the Orioles at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The long-awaited cast of reinforcements should start to join White Sox as soon as Tuesday night.

Third baseman Yoan Moncada could start when he’s eligible to return from the 10-day injured list. Manager Tony La Russa said he had a lengthy chat with Moncada, who has been sidelined due to a right hamstring strain.

“It would be nice to get Yoan in there and get some muscle in the middle of that lineup,” La Russa said.

A more curious situation involves outfielder Eloy Jiménez, who has been relegated to designated hitter duties since resuming his minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte. Jimenez is 4-for-21 and told La Russa recently he felt good but has yet to play the outfield after missing two weeks because of discomfort in his surgically repaired right hamstring.

“I just want to see Eloy,” La Russa said. “I want him hitting in the middle of our lineup with that ability to drive in important runs. But only if he’s healthy, right? Can’t rush it.”

Lopez still dreams of starting

Reynaldo Lopez’s 14-strikeout performance against the Tigers three years ago raised attention regarding his ability as a starting pitcher.

Lopez yearns to start in the future and said he’s a more complete pitcher since his career-high strikeout performance.

“If you check that outing, 13 of the 14 batters I struck out with fastballs and just one slider,” Lopez said Sunday of his outing on April 28, 2019, when pitched six innings of a 4-1 win. “Now I’m a better pitcher because I have better command of my fastball and my slider is way better. I can locate all pitches, especially my fastball in and out, high and low.

“Wherever I want to locate that pitch, that’s a game changer. You have that confidence now you can throw your pitches in any count and execute them. My pitches are better now. They’re sharper now, and that’s the difference.”

As of now, Lopez, 28, is too valuable to move from the bullpen, where he. hasn’t allowed a run in his last 11 innings covering eight games (including one appearance as an opener). Lopez has limited opponents to a .188 average with runners on base, and they’re batting .083 (1-for-12) with running in scoring position with two out and .212 (7-for-33) with runners in scoring position.

Lopez, 28, acknowledged that he is pitching more aggressively as a reliever and has appreciated the tips given to him at the start of the season by fellow reliever Kendall Graveman, such as game planning and studying the strengths and weaknesses of opposing batters more closely.

Juggling act

Ryan Haseley felt ill and didn’t start Sunday, so Josh Harrison made his first start in left field but had no chances in seven innings. Harrison has made 53 career starts in left, including three with the A’s in 2021.

“We told him, ‘we put you in for your offense,’ “ La Russa said. Harrison responded with two hits.

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