Reynaldo Lopez says he’s ready to pitch for White Sox
BOSTON — Reynaldo Lopez believes he’s major-league-ready.
The White Sox probably agree. Now it’s a matter of when the Class AAA Charlotte right-hander gets the call.
“Yes, absolutely I feel I’m ready mentally and physically to pitch in the majors,’’ Lopez said Friday.
Speaking on a conference call after being named the organization’s minor-league pitcher of the month for July, Lopez — who appears to be the most major-league-ready of the Sox’ highly rated prospects — admits his patience has been tested.
“Yes, it has been a little difficult because you dream about pitching in the majors,’’ Lopez said. “And when you’re doing your job and things are going well, you want to be there right away. But you also have to be patient.’’
For Lopez, who was promoted from Class AAA to the Nationals and made 11 appearances, including six starts, last season, it’s not a matter of if he’ll get called up but when. His turn on four days of rest would come Sunday, when the Sox wrap up a four-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, but struggling veteran Mike Pelfrey is penciled in to start for the Sox.
A possible landing spot for Lopez could be Friday when the Sox host the Royals.
After saying that Lopez has been “forcing the issue,” general manager Rick Hahn told a gathering at a Sabermetrics seminar to “maybe buy tickets for Friday night” when asked about Lopez, although he would not confirm it later.
“He is starting tomorrow for Charlotte, after which we will evaluate the proper next steps,” Hahn said in a text message.
Manager Rick Renteria would shed nothing new about when Lopez will pitch for the Sox when asked about it Friday at Fenway Park.
“I can’t give you a date for certain,’’ Renteria said.
In any event, Lopez, 23, has been on a nice roll with a 2.10 ERA and 38 strikeouts in five starts and 30 innings in July. Rated by MLB.com as the No. 59 prospect in baseball, Lopez is 6-6 with a 3.65 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 116 innings. He was acquired with right-handers Lucas Giolito and Dane Dunning from the Nationals for Adam Eaton in December.
“All my pitches are good,’’ Lopez said. “It’s a matter of keeping my head in the game, don’t lose my focus and understand the game situation.’’
Class A Winston-Salem outfielder Eloy Jimenez and Charlotte infielder Jake Peter were named co-players of the month.
Jimenez, 20, batted .356 with four home runs and 14 RBI in 17 games in July with the Dash after being acquired by the Sox with right-hander Dylan Cease and first baseman Matt Rose from the Cubs for left-hander Jose Quintana on July 13.
The 6-4, 205-pound Jimenez is rated by MLB.com as the No. 7 prospect in baseball.
“The trade was motivation for me,’’ Jimenez said. “After the trade, I thought about it and realized maybe I have to work harder.’’
Jimenez was caught off-guard by the trade, but he seems to be taking it in stride.
“When the trade happens, you have to accept it,’’ he said. “Then you analyze the options, and I said, ‘Maybe this is the best for me and I can be on the fast track here to reach the majors.’ ’’
Jimenez might get promoted to Class AA Birmingham before the season ends.
“Honestly, all I want is to reach the majors and be the best of the best,’’ he said. “That’s why I work hard and hustle when I’m here because my goal is to be an elite player in the majors.’’
Peter, 24, batted .364 with 10 extra-base hits and 13 RBI. The Sox picked him in the seventh round of the 2014 draft.
“Everything is kind of coming together at the right time,’’ Peter said.
The Sox’ rebuild is creating a buzz among the prospects, Peter said.
“It’s great,’’ he said. “We’re bringing in a lot of talent and making a lot of moves. It’s going to create more competition, and everyone is pushing each other.’’
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