White Sox’ Dylan Cease loses command in bad inning in first shaky start of spring

Cease gave up three runs, four hits and three walks in three innings in a 3-3 tie against the Reds in Arizona.

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Dylan Cease throws during live batting practice on the back fields of Camelback Ranch, the Spring Training home of the Chicago White Sox, in Glendale, AZ. (John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — After two crisp spring-training starts and heightened optimism about an adjustment that had improved his fastball command, White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease encountered his first bump on the Cactus League road Monday.

The bad-inning bugaboo, which plagued Cease during his rookie season in 2019, surfaced for the first time this spring in the third inning against the Reds. Cease walked three batters, hit one and allowed two runs and one hit in the inning. A double play that ended the inning limited the damage.

‘‘Besides the one inning where I lost my command, it was decent,’’ Cease said. ‘‘But it wasn’t very sharp.’’

Cease was thrilled with his first two starts, in which he allowed one run (on a home run), struck out eight and walked none in six innings. In this one, he allowed three runs, four hits and three walks and struck out three.

A mound appearance by pitching coach Don Cooper also was part of Cease’s day.

‘‘I’m going to have to talk to Coop and see,’’ Cease said. ‘‘It felt like I was hitting my spots, just leaving everything way up or just yanking it. It was just one of those innings.’’

Cease also gave up an opposite-field homer to Nick Senzel on an 0-2 pitch to start the game.

‘‘With 0-2 right there, I need to throw a pitch that he’s not going to be able to do damage with,’’ Cease said.

‘‘It’s one of those [outings] where I’m not going to let it fester. I have to be better than that, but I’m confident I will be.’’

Heuer ‘on a little bit of a roll’

Right-hander Codi Heuer is one of the young relievers getting attention in his first major-league camp.

‘‘I’m on a little bit of a roll right now, having a good start,’’ Heuer said.

In five one-inning appearances, Heuer (pronounced ‘‘Hoyer’’) hasn’t allowed a run while allowing two hits, striking out seven and walking one.

‘‘My mentality here is my same mentality I had last year,’’ said Heuer, who has featured a 97 to 99 mph fastball this spring. ‘‘Not being afraid, just attacking.’’

Drafted in the sixth round out of Wichita State in 2018, the 6-5, 195-pound Heuer is picking up where he left off in 2019, when he posted a 2.39 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 15 walks in 67 2/3 innings between Class A Winston-Salem and Class AA Birmingham. At Birmingham, he had a 1.84 ERA (0.48 in his last 14 outings) and nine saves.

For a 23-year-old who hasn’t reached Class AAA yet, Heuer’s Cactus League experience has been big.

‘‘Oh, it’s a huge confidence boost,’’ he said. ‘‘But whether it’s Albert Pujols in the box or hitters [in the minor leagues], I’ll have the same mentality of attacking guys.’’

Jimenez OK

Left fielder Eloy Jimenez, who was lifted after three innings Sunday because of what manager Rick Renteria called ‘‘a little sore throat,’’ went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

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