Right-hander Lucas Giolito makes spring debut for White Sox
After dealing with a sore muscle on the right side of his chest, Giolito struck out one batter in a scoreless inning against the Cubs.
MESA, Ariz. — Looking to get on track after the start of his spring was delayed, White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito felt like he was in the middle of June or July on an 80-degree day in a sold-out matchup Friday against the Cubs.
After dealing with a sore muscle on the right side of his chest, Giolito struck out one batter in a scoreless inning of his Cactus League debut. The only runner to reach base was Kyle Schwarber, who was nicked by a pitch.
‘‘A lot of fun,’’ said Giolito, who threw 20 pitches in the game and 10 more in the bullpen afterward. ‘‘It was good to get out there, thrown right into the fire. I think that this environment — you have the Cubs and Sox and this park itself — is the closest you’re going to get to big-league level as far as fans and adrenaline and all that stuff. It was fun.’’
Only three weeks remain till Opening Day, but the Sox still plan to have Giolito start the season on time. Nobody has ruled out an appearance as the starter in the opener March 26, although he figures to be slightly restricted in whatever rotation role he takes.
It is trust that wouldn’t be granted to everybody — and certainly not to the 2018 version of Giolito, who went 10-13 with a 6.13 ERA and an American League-high 90 walks in 32 starts. But he rebounded to go 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA and three complete games last season.
‘‘It’s come full circle,’’ Giolito said. ‘‘I struggled greatly in ’18, and they stuck with me. They let me go out there every five days and pitch. I don’t think a lot of other organizations would have allowed that to happen. I was able to make adjustments, have a good year last year and now I want to be one of those guys that leads pitching staffs.’’
Besides pitching in a game setting for the first time in six months, Giolito also was able to work with new Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal for the first time.
‘‘He presents a great target, very relaxed back there,’’ Giolito said. ‘‘We didn’t get deep into sequencing and things like that because I was pretty much throwing all fastballs and mixed in a couple of changeups. I was a fan of the 3-2 changeup call, for sure. That was something I like going to. But we’re going to keep working, for sure.’’
Stiever on the mend
Right-handed pitching prospect Jonathan Stiever is about halfway through a three-week rest period because of a strained right forearm, general manager Rick Hahn said.
Stiever, a fifth-round draft pick in 2018 who pitched at two Class A levels last season, was a combined 10-10 with a 3.48 ERA in 145 innings in 2019.
Stiever was among seven players who were sent to the minor-league side of camp, along with fellow right-hander Ryan Burr, left-hander Hunter Schryver and infielder Matt Skole.
Right-hander Matt Foster was optioned to Class AAA Charlotte, and right-handers Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert were reassigned to Class AA Birmingham.