DETROIT — White Sox manager Rick Renteria, cleared by doctors to return to work after an undisclosed health concern, was back in the dugout Friday night for the team’s game against the Tigers at Comerica Park.
Renteria was a late arrival, fighting some travel issues and getting there shortly before the start of the game, and the Sox’ bats were late to the party, as well. After the Sox did nothing for seven scoreless innings against Michael Fulmer and two relievers, seven consecutive Sox batters reached base in a six-run eighth to turn a three-run deficit into a 6-3 victory. The runs, against Joe Jimenez and closer Shane Greene, came on a two-run double by Yoan Moncada, an RBI single by Avisail Garcia, an RBI double by Daniel Palka and a two-run double by Tim Anderson. Palka ranks third among American League rookies with 51 RBI.
Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez threw 111 pitches over 5‰ innings, allowing two runs while striking out seven and walking three. Jace Fry recorded four outs, and Juan Minaya got the final two to lock down the Sox’ seventh win in their last 10 games.
Renteria missed the previous four games after complaining of lightheadedness Monday when the Sox were in Minneapolis to play the Twins. He flew to Detroit from Chicago on Friday and said he had been “stir crazy” the last couple of days. Bench coach Joe McEwing handled managerial duties in Renteria’s absence, including talking to reporters before and after games.
“I feel good,” said Renteria, who declined to go into detail about the nature of the tests. “There were a couple things they were looking at, but I can tell you I am cleared to go full tilt, and I’m going to keep it at that.”
Moncada, through a translator, said, “We all were concerned about his health. Having him here is good because that means he’s healthy.”
Added Lopez: “We were praying for him to be good and to get through the situation he was in.”
The Sox, who are 12-10 in August and have won seven of their last 10, were 2-2 in Renteria’s absence. McEwing, who has interviewed for several manager’s jobs, including the Tigers’ last offseason, liked being in charge.
“Under the circumstances, it’s not the way you’d want to go about it, but it’s been a lot of fun,” he said.
Said Renteria: “He’s done a great job. I believe he has the ability to manage in the big leagues.”
Cease shut down
Right-hander Dylan Cease, the Sox organization’s No. 5-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and the second-highest-ranked pitching prospect behind Michael Kopech, is being shut down at Class AA Birmingham. He isn’t injured but reached a career-high 124 innings between Class A Winston-Salem and Birmingham.
Cease finished an excellent season by striking out 11 batters over five scoreless innings in his final appearance for the Barons. Over his last nine appearances, he pitched to a 0.94 ERA with 71 strikeouts and 20 walks over 47‰ innings. He was 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA between the two levels.
Cease’s 160 strikeouts are tied for fourth in minor-league baseball. Kopech leads the minors with 170.