There might not be fans in the stands during the pandemic but there could be faces in the crowd, anyway. Cardboard faces, that is.
The White Sox announced a new initiative called FANtastic Faces, allowing fans to buy a cardboard cutout of their likeness that will be displayed in empty seats at Guaranteed Rate Field during the team’s opening homestand July 24-27 against the Twins.
Sales began Wednesday on the Sox’ website. All proceeds go to White Sox Charities.
A limited supply of FANtastic Faces are available for $49 apiece. Fans can create their personal cutout by submitting a photo following the guidelines provided at whitesox.com/fantasticfaces.
The cutouts will be authenticated and can be picked up after the series against the Twins.
The Giants and Athletics also have plans for cardboard fans. The Korea Baseball Organization was the first to do it.
The state of Illinois is allowing limited fan capacity at 20% for outdoor venues at part of the Phase 4 reopening, but the city of Chicago has yet to approve that. The Sox have explored plans for allowing fans into Guaranteed Rate Field at a reduced capacity later this season if city guidelines allow it.
Vaughn looks ‘very comfortable’ at third
With Yoan Moncada absent from camp, presumably because of a positive coronavirus test, and Cheslor Cuthbert not yet with the team because of travel issues from Nicaragua, the Sox are thin at third base.
Options include Danny Mendick, Leury Garcia and Andrew Romine until Moncada returns. First baseman Andrew Vaughn, who has only one year of minor-league experience, has been taking ground balls at third and played there during a simulation game Wednesday. Vaughn might not be ready for prime-time action at corner this season but it’s something to consider down the road.
“He’s got really good feet, he has a really good arm and he has all the makings of being able to play that position,” manager Rick Renteria said.
“We gave him the opportunity and he’s taken too it. It will expand his ability to do many, many things. He looks very comfortable.”
No update on Kopech
General manager Rick Hahn said Friday there was no timeline on prized right-hander Michael Kopech’s return, and Renteria offered no update Wednesday. Kopech is absent because of a personal matter, but not for health reasons, Hahn said.
“I don’t have anything new for you,” Renteria said. “It’s a fluid situation and we’ll deal with it as it arises.”
It’s unlikely Kopech, who was superb in his one inning of work in spring training — his first since Tommy John surgery — will open the season with the team, and beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.
This and that
The Sox will play their first intrasquad game Thursday, probably four innings, Renteria said. Steve Cishek, Aaron Bummer, Ross Detwiler, Carson Fulmer and Drew Anderson will pitch.
• Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion said he is over the minor back problem that kept him out for parts of spring training in February and March. “He’s looked really, really good,” Renteria said.