White Sox reassign Gomez, Rondon; pitching staff set

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Bruce Rondon pauses on the mound during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Friday, March 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox’ opening-day roster was all but set on the second-to-last day of spring training Saturday with the expected reassignments of right-handers Bruce Rondon and Jeanmar Gomez to minor-league camp.

The moves make the Sox’ 13-man pitching staff official: starters (in rotation order) James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer and relievers Nate Jones, Joakim Soria, Danny Farquhar, Juan Minaya, Gregory Infante, Luis Avilan, Aaron Bummer and Hector Santiago.


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Rondon and Gomez, both non-roster invitees with major-league experience, pitched well this spring, although Gomez missed time with a sore shoulder. Rondon allowed one run in 5„ innings, striking out seven and walking one. Gomez allowed one run in 8„ innings, striking out eight and walking two.

“They understand where we’re at,’’ manager Rick Renteria said of the players who came up short. “They understand they were given a good opportunity to see where they’re at. And they understand and know we believe they can help us at the major-league level.’’

The Sox have 27 players in camp, including three catchers and left-hander Carlos Rodon, who is recovering from September shoulder surgery and will not open the season with the team.

Omar Narvaez is expected to edge out Kevan Smith for the backup-catcher spot. The regular lineup will include outfielders Nicky Delmonico, Adam Engel and Avisail Garcia, infielders Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson and Yolmer Sanchez, catcher Welington Castillo and designated hitter Matt Davidson. Tyler Saladino is the utility infielder and Leury Garcia a utility outfielder and infielder.

Engel oozing confidence

Engel was given a regular day off Saturday a day after he returned to the lineup following a two-day absence because of a stiff neck.

Engel said the neck is fine. And so was his spring — he produced a .370/.431/.696 slash line, slugged four homers, hit three doubles and struck out 10 times in 51 plate appearances. Opening day is Thursday in Kansas City.

He batted .166 last season and struck out 117 times in 331 plate appearances.

“The biggest thing I can take into this season is confidence in my approach,’’ Engel said.

Engel played good, sometimes spectacular, defense in center, which might have helped him get continued at-bats despite poor production. He was working on his swing and making changes on the fly with an eye toward 2018.

“Working on a lot of mechanical things that guys typically don’t work on during the season,’’ he said. “It’s really hard to do that and have a lot of success.

“I’m kind of reaping the rewards of that now.’’

Leading up to the opener

Three of the Sox’ five starting pitchers (Giolito, Fulmer and Lopez) made their first opening-day roster, as well as relief pitchers Bummer, Infante and Minaya.

† After their last game Sunday in Arizona, the Sox play their Class AAA team in Charlotte on Monday. They’ll be in Kansas City for a workout Wednesday in advance of the season opener.

The home opener is April 5. Shields is the opening-day starter, and Giolito lines up to start the home opener.

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

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