White Sox’ Lucas Giolito tunes up for first Cactus League start

An eight-run fourth inning carries the Sox to an 8-7 Cactus League victory against the Angels.

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Lucas Giolito throws live batting practice as pitching coach Don Cooper looks on. (Photo by Daryl Van Schouwen)


Giolito tunes up for first start

Probable Opening Day starter Lucas Giolito, whose start to spring training was delayed by a muscle strain near his rib cage, threw live batting practice as he gets on track for March 26 against the Royals. On four days of rest, Giolito could begin a sequence of four starts with an appearance Friday against the Cubs as he ramps up for the opener in Chicago.

“We’ve got enough time for him to be ready if we don’t have any snags,” pitching coach Don Cooper said.

Giolito threw two 15-pitch segments, one from the stretch, facing Yasmani Grandal and James McCann. Grandal hit two balls off the fence, but, overall, Giolito was pleased.

‘‘I’m happy with the health,” Giolito said. “My arm feels really good. Body feels really good. I felt pretty in sync today with my mechanics, except for a couple of things to kind of harp on, but, yeah, it was a good day.”

Mercedes’ mixed bag

Catcher Yermin Mercedes, who already had two long home runs this spring, roped a double into the left-center-field gap in an eight-run fourth inning (all runs charged to Neil Ramirez) and reached on third baseman Anthony Rendon’s error. An entertaining 5-for-12 in Cactus League games, Mercedes’ offense will have to override defensive shortcomings to win a roster spot. Mercedes misjudged a pop-up and should have been charged with at least one passed ball on two wild pitches charged to Ian Hamilton.

Pitchers’ mixed bag

Ross Detwiler, who made 12 starts last season but is likely ticketed for Class AAA Charlotte, allowed a three-run homer to Rendon and six runs in 2⅓ innings. Prospects Codi Heuer (perfect inning, one strikeout) and Bernardo Flores (two perfect innings, four strikeouts) were better against Angels prospects.

On deck

Padres at Sox, Glendale, 2:05 p.m. Monday, whitesox.com, TBA vs. Dallas Keuchel. Aaron Bummer, Steve Cishek, Jimmy Cordero, Kelvin Herrera, Alex Colome and Zack Burdi also are scheduled to pitch. There is a B game at the Brewers.

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