White Sox to let go of special assistant, top scouts
The Sox are making cuts in their baseball operations department, a source said Friday, confirming a report that a number of top scouts won’t have their contracts renewed when they expire in October.
The White Sox are making cuts in their baseball-operations department, a source said Friday, confirming a report that a number of top scouts won’t have their contracts renewed when they expire in October.
The reduction in scouting manpower has been a trend across baseball as teams rely more on data and video, but the coronavirus pandemic also is thought to be a factor in the cutbacks. An abbreviated 60-game season will open next week with no paying customers in the stands. The minor-league season also has been canceled.
A source said special assistant to the general manager Dave Yoakum, MLB advance scout Bryan Little and pro scout Alan Regier are among those who won’t be retained. Yoakum, special assistant Bill Scherrer and special assistant Nick Hostetler have been handling major-league scouting for the Sox, but the task might be covered by a two-man team upon Yoakum’s departure.
Yoakum, 73, has been a member of the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame since 2010. He is in his 29th season with the Sox.
Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf recently told USA Today he was facing financial losses ‘‘in the nine figures’’ because of reduced revenues.
Although right-hander Lucas Giolito is expected to start the season opener Friday against the Twins and righty Jose Berrios, and left-hander Dallas Keuchel is expected to go Saturday, manager Rick Renteria wasn’t ready to make it official, let alone piece together the rest of the rotation.
Right-handers Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez and left-handers Carlos Rodon and Gio Gonzalez are in the mix, as well, and Renteria said he wants to keep them all in a competitive mindset leading up to the opener.
The Sox could use all six starters, perhaps in some piggyback fashion, or one of the six could pitch in relief.
‘‘The depth is important for us,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘[If] you have a misstep by any one of your starters, you have guys in your pen who can pick them up and do multiple things.’’
‘‘The more, the merrier,’’ Gonzalez said.
Third baseman Yoan Moncada looked good doing leg work with conditioning coordinator Allen Thomas and taking ground balls with coach Nick Capra as he tries to get ready for the season opener.
Moncada, who also tracked live pitches from Keuchel, had tested positive for the coronavirus but returned to the team Thursday after two negative tests.
‘‘I was actually pleasantly surprised,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘His legs looked better than I thought they were going to look — in his movements, in his actions, in his explosiveness.
‘‘The biggest thing for me is to make sure I don’t put him in a position . . . that might hamper him. All the indications so far, knock on wood, he looks good. We’re doing everything we can to expedite it without putting him in harm’s way.’’
Bring on the Cubs
Giolito will pitch in the intrasquad game Saturday, his last outing before the opener.
The Sox will play exhibition games Sunday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Monday against the Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field and Wednesday against the Brewers at Guaranteed Rate Field. All will be broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago, and the game Sunday will be broadcast on ESPN outside the Chicago area.