Lopez, Hansen among White Sox pitchers to face Reds

SHARE Lopez, Hansen among White Sox pitchers to face Reds

Alec Hansen looks things over before the Sox’ Cactus League opener. (For Sun-Times/John Antonoff)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox have an interesting collection of pitchers scheduled to throw in their Cactus League game against the Reds Wednesday in Goodyear, including 6-9 minor league strikeout king Alec Hansen.


*Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, penciled in to open the season the season in the starting rotation, makes his first start of the spring.

*Right-hander Nate Jones has not pitched since having season ending surgery in July to reposition the ulnar nerve in his right arm.

*Right-hander Dane Dunning, one of the three pitchers along with Lucas Giolito and Lopez acquired in the 2016 trade for Adam Eaton. Dunning is rated as the Sox’ No. 5 prospect by Baseball America, behind Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Luis Robert and Hansen. Dunning makes his second appearance.

*Thyago Vieira, the 100-mph (plus) intriguing right-hander from Sao Paulo, Brazil acquired from the Mariners in a trade for international slot money. Viera’s first outing was a rough one, though. He faced six batters in his first outing, giving up three hits and a walk.

*Left-hander Aaron Bummer, who appeared in 30 games as a rookie in 2017. Bummer is trying to win a spot in the bullpen. Bummer retired all three batters he faced in his first outing, striking out two.

Hansen went 11-8 with a 2.80 ERA and 191 strikeouts (which led the minor leagues) over 26 starts between Class A Kannapolis, high A Winston-Salem and AA Birmingham. His goal is to pitch in the majors this season.

“That’s a tremendous goal to have and I wouldn’t take that from any single guy we have,” manager Rick Renteria said. “They should be shooting for that.

“Another guy with tremendous angle, height. Good fastball. Secondary pitches are the one we’ll try to harness. Hits the strike zone a lot hopefully that continues. If his secondary pitches evolve and are effective in sequencing … if health wise and everything stays good he has a chance to move relatively quickly.

“I don’t want to put a timetable on any of these guys in terms of their movement. We know they have a high skillset and they’re very capable of putting it all together and then you’ll be surprised where you might see them.”

Hansen, 23, is in his first major league camp.

“The other day when Renteria was giving his [first-day] speech it was kind of cool,” Hansen said, “just taking a second and seeing I’m in a major league clubhouse, going a long way from playing in elementary school and middle school and high school. It’s pretty cool.

“It seems like I’ve been waiting since camp started to pitch in front of these guys and the rest of the guys in the clubhouse and show everybody what I’ve got. If it doesn’t go my way, continue to work and prepare for the next one. I know I’ll be where I want to be.”

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