For (spring) openers, White Sox going with Roach, Guerrero

SHARE For (spring) openers, White Sox going with Roach, Guerrero
white_sox_baseball_8_1.jpg

Donn Roach throws during a spring training baseball workout Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — March 28 is five weeks away, so no one in Sox camp expects manager Rick Renteria to name an Opening Day starter any time soon. Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez or Ivan Nova (who started the opener for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season) rate as candidates, although most indications are Rodon is the leader in the clubhouse.

Renteria, as usual, is keeping it close to the vest and will for a while.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “We’ll continue to see how their schedule works out, how they line up. I don’t have one right now.”

The Cactus League opens Saturday, and Renteria will start two lesser names, righty Donn Roach and lefty Jordan Guerrero. These are less significant choices, of course. Roach, 29, surmised his name was “chosen out of a hat.”

The Opening Day question is one Renteria will hear intermittently and at an increasing rate as days are checked off the March calendar. Rodon would like to be the answer.

“To be the No. 1 guy at the top of the rotation at the beginning of the year, it’s kind of a friendly competition between all of us,” Rodon said Thursday. “It’s something you have to earn.”

Rodon, 26, had arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September, 2017. He went 6-8 with a 4.18 ERA over 120 innings in 2018, pitching like an ace during June and July but faltering mightily in September. So while he wants the nod, he’s not ready to declare himself worthy of the O-Day honor.

“To my standards, I haven’t earned that yet,” Rodon said. “It’s something I’ll have to prove in spring training.”

The good news is this spring training is different than past springs because of how he feels.

“I feel good. I feel healthy,” Rodon said. “I don’t feel anything in my arm and before I did.”

Which is evident to Renteria.

“He’s looking good,” Renteria said. “He’s staying nice and loose. We’re really happy. He’s coming into the season healthy. We can see the difference in his arm action and the fluidity of it.”

Vizquel wants job in majors

Omar Vizquel, who had a Hall of Fame caliber career as a major leaguer, is moving along toward his goal of managing in the majors. It’s clearly what he wants to do.

“I’m here to prepare maybe in the future to be a manger,’’ Vizquel said. “This is the way you do it. One of the reasons that I was in Detroit [as a Tigers first base coach], it helped me out a lot being around great people that know about the game. Now I’m trying to apply all those things and everything you learned in your career to a managerial job is great.’’

Vizquel’s name already is starting to pop up on lists of potential managers. He knows he has a ways to go and more dues to pay, although a Las Vegas sportsbook — for what it’s worth — listed the former San Francisco Giant with the fourth-best odds to replace retiring Giants manager Bruce Bochy after the year (behind Matt Williams, Eric Chavez and Mike Matheney).

“There’s still a lot more to learn,’’ Vizquel said.

Rain, man

Rain altered the Sox morning workout schedule on Photo Day. Players did manage to get work in ahead of an afternoon drenching. Temperatures have been unseasonably cool in the 50s throughout camp, with more seasonable conditions finally expected next week.

Cactus openers

The Sox open Cactus League play Saturday with split-squad games against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch and the Athletics in Mesa, and we do know this: There is no significance to who gets the opening nods in these games, but it’s Roach, a 29-year-old righty with 21 games of major league experience including one with the Cubs, getting the first pitch against the Dodgers. Minor-league lefty Guerrero starts against the A’s, and both will likely throw no more than two innings.

Jordan Stephens, Luis Ruiz, Thyago Vieira, Ryan Burr and Carson Fulmer are also lined up for the Dodgers. Colton Turner, Randall Delgado, Chris Thompson and Evan Marshall will get looks against the A’s. It’s likely none of this group makes the team out of spring training.

It should be noted these schedules are not etched in stone. Last year, Tyler Danish was penciled in to start the spring opener before a change was made shortly after to Dylan Covey.


The Latest
Cubs assistant general manager Jared Banner also expressed his sympathies for Brennen Davis, who was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back.
The tension around taking on debt and the pension payment was the crux of a month-long delay of the school system’s budget proposal, which came out Wednesday.
Jakyla Hester, 21, of Chicago, is also charged with reckless homicide, Illinois state police said.
Starting this weekend, the elaborate speaker trellis at the Pritzker Pavilion will pipe an inventive sound installation created by artists from around the world.
Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer dismissed the case with prejudice based on the misconduct of police and prosecutors over the withholding of evidence from the defense.