White Sox can ‘wreak havoc,’ but staying healthy will be challenge, Dallas Keuchel says
The coronvirus looms as the biggest threat, but a short training camp after a long layoff poses considerable hazards to an abbreviated season, the veteran left-hander said.
The coronavirus looms as the biggest threat, but a short training camp after a long layoff poses considerable hazards to Major League Baseball’s abbreviated season, White Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel said.
‘‘There are going to be a bunch of hamstring injuries the first week or so because guys aren’t used to running the bases,’’ Keuchel said in a Zoom interview Saturday. ‘‘There are going to be a ton of soft-tissue injuries — feet, calves, you name it — all the way up the extremities. I feel for the training staff and weight-room staff more than anybody.’’
Keuchel, the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2015 and a two-time All-Star with the Astros, signed with the Sox in the offseason. He has some experience with a late start, having signed with the Braves last season in June.
‘‘It has been a weird two seasons, but one thing I learned from last year was trying to stay on some sort of five-day routine,’’ Keuchel said. ‘‘I know if I could get myself to five or six innings at the end of spring training here, I’ll be right where I want to be.’’
During the three-month layoff, Keuchel carried on with his throwing with the expectation of a three-week camp. That turned out to be spot-on.
Keuchel is a big reason the Sox appear to be equipped to challenge for the postseason. He thinks they will.
‘‘There’s a lot of different ways, but this team, if we get off to a hot start, if the bats can swing it like we know they can now with how deep our lineup’s going to be, then I think we might wreak a little havoc in the AL Central,’’ Keuchel said.
Doing what they can to avoid the virus will be key.
‘‘More than ever, we’re going to have to be really stringent on what guys do when the lights turn off and we leave the field,’’ Keuchel said. ‘‘We’re going to have to really bear down for at least 2½ months, if not a full three months, if we want to win the championship and hoist the trophy.
‘‘That’s something we’re going to have to talk about when there’s a full-team get-together and maybe lay some groundwork, some rules to go by these next couple of months. Because [if] a couple of key guys go down, it’s going to be that much more difficult to win.’’
The MLB season opens July 23 with two featured games: Nationals vs. Yankees and Dodgers vs. Giants. The Sox and every other team open July 24. The schedule will be announced Monday.
From a distance
Manager Rick Renteria watched much of the morning workout from the warning track in center field to get a big-picture view of his players.
‘‘These guys, watching them do some of the drills today, some of the running, explosive work that they were doing, they are all looking very, very good,’’ he said.
This and that
Renteria said he’s looking at Thursday for the Sox’ first intrasquad game.
• Right-hander Lucas Giolito will throw a simulated game Sunday, getting up and down 3½ times.