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White Sox’ Dylan Cease easing way into spring training

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Right-hander Dylan Cease doesn’t expect to pitch in a Cactus League game until early March as the White Sox bring him along slowly, measuring his usage with a long-term goal of seeing him pitch in the majors sometime after the All-Star break.

The competitor in the 23-year-old MLB Pipeline minor-league pitcher of the year in 2018, and 25th-ranked prospect, is eager to pitch in a game but will roll with the flow.

“I guess it all depends on what the club wants,” Cease said Sunday.

“I don’t mind it. They have a plan, and it’s my job just to follow it. Everybody wants to pitch, but it’s part of the game.”

Dylan Cease at Camelback Ranch, the Spring Training home of the White Sox, last week. (John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times)

Cease, who will be this season’s version of the Michael Kopech watch-and-patiently-wait process as he puts the finishing touches on his major-league prep, was slated for a bullpen session Sunday and another one Wednesday and is throwing live batting practice like everyone else.

The Sox have a handle on what he can do, so there’s no need for early showcases.

“We want to make sure the approach we take with him is very methodical and measured, so he can give us the most time available to us during the course of the year,’’ manager Rick Renteria said.

“It’s kind of a fluid schedule,’’ Cease said. “We’ll get out there soon.’’

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Cease pitched in three games, starting two, last spring and did not allow a run in 6„ innings. He struck out nine and walked three. Between Class A Winston-Salem and Class AA Birmingham, he went 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA and 160 strikeouts in 124 innings.

For starters

Fifth-starter candidate Manny Banuelos starts against the Giants on Monday, Jimmy Lambert starts against the Royals on Tuesday and rotation guys Reynaldo Lopez (Reds) and Lucas Giolito (Mariners) start Wednesday and Thursday.

Reading the tea leaves on how the starters are lined up now, a rotation order of Carlos Rodon, Ivan Nova, Lopez, Giolito and whoever wins the fifth-starter spot would seem to be in play.

Alonso will adapt to DH

While indications are Jose Abreu will yield to fellow first baseman Yonder Alonso and get more starts at designated hitter than he is used to, Alonso expects to get more than his customary share of DH time. So he’s preparing for it.

Alonso has appeared in 847 games at first base, 17 in left field and only seven as a DH. Alonso DH’d in the Cactus League opener Saturday with Abreu at first. On Sunday, he was at first base against the Padres with Abreu having the afternoon off.

“I haven’t had much experience with it, so it will be a learning curve here in spring training,’’ Alonso said. “Whatever is asked of me, do the best I can do. I don’t look at it as whining or ‘I want to play first.’ It’s not about that. We’re both going to do our best with it. I think it will be fine.’’