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Get up, stretch! Keuchel eschews windup, stays perfect in White Sox intrasquad games

“I might become a left-handed, soft-tossing version of Stephen Strasburg,” Dallas Keuchel said of the power righty who has ditched the windup.

Dallas Keuchel has been pitching exclusively from the stretch during White Sox summer camp.
Dallas Keuchel has been pitching exclusively from the stretch during White Sox summer camp.
Ross D. Franklin/AP

Left-hander Dallas Keuchel was so good in his second intrasquad start Wednesday that baserunners were trotted out to third and second base at the end of his outing to allow him to pitch in traffic.

It wasn’t like Keuchel needed to work from the stretch because he has been throwing exclusively that way in his two intrasquad starts.

“I might become a left-handed, soft-tossing version of Stephen Strasburg,” Keuchel said of the power righty who has ditched the windup.

Keuchel retired all 11 batters he faced, striking out Leury Garcia and Edwin Encarnacion. Runner Yermin Mercedes was thrown out at home by second baseman Nick Madrigal on one of Keuchel’s six ground balls.

In his other start Friday, he retired all seven batters he faced with whiffs of Adam Engel, Andrew Vaughn and Zack Collins.

So far, so perfect.

“The windup hasn’t really felt phenomenal to me, and the other side is that the stretch has felt so locked in that I might just go with that,” Keuchel said. “Right now, [the windup] is not there, but it’s not something I’m really worried about because I’ve been able to make quality, quality pitches in the stretch.

“I’ve learned over the years not to worry now. I’m in a great place, right where I want to be.”

The 2015 Cy Young winner with the Astros was signed to a three-year, $55 million contract in the offseason. The Sox haven’t announced rotation plans, but Keuchel is a good bet to start the second game July 25 against the Twins.

“I feel locked in,” Keuchel said.

Madrigal improved since spring

Third-base coach Nick Capra likes what he has seen from Madrigal. Expected to reach the majors at some point this season, Madrigal wasn’t forcing the issue with an uneventful spring training.

‘‘He’s in a better place, more focused, relaxed, confident,” Capra said. “We see the things we knew we had when we drafted him. You can see it in his eyes. He’s getting back to being the baseball player we know he can be.”

Grandal: No gray area with 60 games

New catcher Yasmani Grandal wanted more time to have an impact on the pitching staff, especially the young pitchers, but in a 60-game season, “there isn’t going to be a gray area,” Grandal said Tuesday.

“Sixty games is a very small window that we have to put everything together, so it’s going to be really good or really bad, just because you don’t have the time to kind of take them by the hand and go from there. In 162 games, you’re able to do that.”

Renteria’s return

Manager Rick Renteria, who could return to the team Thursday, has been in Chicago for a couple of days awaiting test results per MLB coronavirus protocols after returning from California for a family funeral. MLB is exempt from municipal travel orders because of its extensive protocols and frequent testing.

This and that

Collins hit his second opposite-field home run in the intrasquad game, the Sox’ only long ball.

Eloy Jimenez, who hadn’t looked locked in yet offensively, walked twice and tripled to the left-center-field wall.

† The Sox play their first night intrasquad game Thursday. Carlos Rodon and Dylan Cease are the scheduled starters, with Reynaldo Lopez slated for four innings of relief.