After walking eight batters in a disastrous outing for Class AAA Charlotte, top White Sox prospect Michael Kopech can hang his head or vow to improve.
Sox manager Rick Renteria expects him to choose the latter.
Kopech, 22, threw only 35 of 86 pitches for strikes before he was pulled from Thursday’s game. It marked the latest turbulence for Kopech, who has at least four walks in six of his last eight starts.
“He’s going to have to learn from it,” Renteria said. “It’s going to be something that he’ll grow from. I’m sure the coaching staff down there is trying to help him through this particular difficulty, so to speak. But it’s not unusual. It’s not abnormal. It happens to guys, and hopefully he’ll be back on track and continue to show some of the things we all expect he’s going to become, which is a pretty talented and effective pitcher.”
Kopech is 2-5 with a 5.20 ERA in 13 starts with Charlotte. He has walked 42 and struck out 82 in 62„ innings.
Renteria said Kopech — and fans — need to stay patient.
“It is a process,” he said. “He’s had a few tough ones. Hopefully, the next one will be better.”
Matching his idol
First baseman Jose Abreu fondly remembers his pregame conversations with Sox icon and fellow Cuban Minnie Minoso, who died in 2015.
“He came every day to this clubhouse and would sit with me and chat with me,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “One of the things he was always emphatic about was to understand the game and respect the game.”
Abreu hasn’t forgotten Minoso’s advice. He hasn’t stopped belting home runs, either. The 31-year-old hit his 135th career homer Thursday, which tied him with Minoso for 12th place in franchise history.
“I just feel honored because Minnie was one of the greatest in the history of this club,” Abreu said.
This and that
Right fielder Avisail Garcia, who has been on the disabled list since April 24 because of a strained right hamstring, is doing “very, very well” in his injury rehab assignment at Charlotte, Renteria said. Garcia is scheduled to have a day off Saturday after playing four straight games. He’ll be re-evaluated before the Sox determine a return date.
• The Sox outrighted reliever Gregory Infante to Charlotte, which cleared a spot on the 40-man roster.
• Sox minor-leaguer Jorge Ferrer has been suspended for 72 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. The 17-year-old was pitching for the Sox’ rookie-level affiliate in the Dominican Summer League.