GLENDALE, Ariz. — Right-hander Dylan Cease made his first appearance in a Cactus League game Tuesday, going one inning in a start for the White Sox in a split squad game against the Indians in Goodyear, Arizona.
Cease allowed singles to Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana and retired Leonys Martin on a ground ball to second baseman Nick Madrigal and Matt Joyce on a running catch in short center field by Leury Garcia. Kipnis ran into the second out at third base.
Cease, MLB Pipeline’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018, has been working on back fields as the Sox ease him into the season. The brief one inning of work was expected.
Cease threw 14 pitches, eight for strikes. He threw mostly fastballs, most of them hitting 98 mph on the scoreboard gun.
“Command wasn’t great but my body felt good and the ball felt good coming out of my hand, so it was a good first step,” Cease said.
Cease said he threw 15-20 more pitches in bullpen and expects to work two or three innings his next time out, probably in five days.
“Hopefully we are doing it the right way so we get as much mound time for him this coming season,” manager Rick Renteria said.
Cease went 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA and 160 strikeouts over a career-high 124 innings between advanced Class A Winston-Salem and AA Birmingham. Even though the 23-year-old right-hander hasn’t pitched in a game, he already caught the attention of first-year Sox catcher James McCann.
“Cease was one of the first guys I caught, and seeing his maturing for a young guy, I was really impressed,” McCann said.
“How in control of his body he was, what he was trying to do on the mound was impressive. His demeanor does not match that of a 23-year-old. He acts a lot older, more mature on the mound. When he makes a mistake, he makes the adjustment. You don’t see that a lot with a pitcher that young.”
Lineup vs. Indians at Goodyear:
Jay RF, Moncada 3B, Alonso 1B, Delmonico DH, Garcia CF, Goins SS, Madrigal 2B, Tilson LF, Gonzalez C, Cease P
Lineup vs. Padres at Glendale:
Engel CF, Anderson SS, Abreu 1B, Castillo C, Jimenez LF, Rondon 3B, Sanchez 2B, Cordell RF, Giolito P
Palka getting closer
Outfielder Daniel Palka seems to be on target for game action this weekend, after being out since Feb. 24 with a sore hamstring.
“It’s doing good,” Palka said Tuesday morning. “I ran the bases for about 30 minutes yesterday. I did some band work. Symptom free. So, I’m excited doing a little bit more today on defense and then come in tomorrow on the off-day, do a little bit more of the running program. I think we’ll see from there.”