SURPRISE, Ariz. — Right-hander Mat Latos, who hasn’t pitched in a Cactus League game as he works in ‘B’ and simulated games, had inside track the only right-hander’s spot available in the Sox rotation, and seems to be cementing it on his off days.
Erik Johnson (13.50 ERA) and Jacob Turner (10.57) haven’t mounted much of a challenge, Turner having his second rough outing in a row after a good opener. In the Royals’ 9-3 win over the White Sox on Monday, they pounced on Turner for two runs in each of the first and third innings, Alex Gordon leading off the first with a long homer to right and Lorenzo Cain going deep in the third. Turner finished with six hits allowed and a walk. Feeling healthy after battling back from arm issues, Turner said his stuff was good and his arm felt fine.
“I had good life on the fastball and the breaking ball, when I got ahead, was pretty quality,’’ he said. “It was a matter of getting ahead. I fell behind too many guys.’’
The Sox showed the Royals a contingent of pitchers who may not make the opening day roster. The Royals started Yordano Ventura, who pitched four innings, allowing one run on Todd Frazier’s double, advancement to third on Melky Cabrera’s fly to right and Courtney Hawkins’ sacrifice fly.
DH Adam LaRoche (back) was hopeful of getting his first start since last Saturday but was pushed back another day, to a home date where he can get immediate treatment after he plays.
*Catcher Dioner Navarro was hobbling around the clubhouse with a bruise after fouling a pitch off his left foot Sunday.
*On the encouraging side, Adam Eaton (left shoulder) was throwing with authority and might be less than a week away from playing the outfield for the first time.
Center field prospect Jacob May made the play of the game, making a running, diving catch. He almost did it twice on a similar attempt but the couldn’t hold on the second time. Outfield Jason Coats hit his second homer and the Sox’ 23rd of the spring.
Tuesday: Sox vs. Dodgers, Glendale, 3:05 p.m., whitesox.com, Jose Quintana vs. Kenta Maeda