PEORIA, Ariz. — Right-handed reliever Jimmy Cordero underwent Tommy John surgery Thursday, the White Sox announced Friday.
Cordero was a workhorse during the 60-game 2020 season, ranking second among American League pitchers with 30 appearances and appearing five times in one six-day stretch, but he’s lost for this season. He pitched to a 6.28 ERA over 26 ⅔ innings after posting a 2.75 ERA in 30 relief appearances in 2019.
Cordero also appeared in two of the Sox’ three wild-card games against the Athletics, allowing no runs on one hit and a walk over 3 ⅔ innings. With Micheal Kopech and perhaps Reynaldo Lopez joining the bullpen, it seemed Cordero would get squeezed out, but he would have been one of the first men up in reserve and likely seen action this season.
Until Friday, it was not publicly known that Cordero was hurt. He appeared in two games early in training but hasn’t been in a game since March 9, when he allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Padres.
“You could tell he wasn’t himself,” manager Tony La Russa said. “It’s not a good break for us, but we’re ready to deal with it. Our concern is with Jimmy, his career. He just has to hang in there because he is a very valuable pitcher, and I hope he gets back sooner rather than later.”
Cordero’s procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Florida.
Outfielder Billy Hamilton, signed to a minor-league deal with an invite to major-league camp, could push for an Opening Day roster spot as a bench player. In two games, the 30-year-old with 305 career stolen bases already has been a nuisance on the bases while going 1-for-4 with a two-run double, two walks and a stolen base.
“I’m so happy the White Sox gave me this chance to compete for a spot to be on this great team,” Hamilton said Friday. “I’m excited about that. Get the chance to be a late-inning guy, come in and play defense, run the bases — whatever you need me off the bench to do.”
Released by the Indians last Saturday, Hamilton joined the Sox three days later.
“They told me I had a chance to come over here and work for that spot,” he said. “I thought it would be a great fit for me.”
Mariners 7, Sox 6
A day after falling a single short of the cycle, Adam Engel launched a long three-run home run to left against left-hander Marco Gonzales in a five-run second inning Friday. He also tripled into the right-field corner.
The home run gave Engel the team lead in the Cactus League with three.
Racking up the K’s
Right-hander Lance Lynn had five strikeouts but needed a hefty 84 pitches to get through 3 2/3 innings in his fourth start.
He allowed three runs and six hits — including a home run by 2020 American League Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis — walked one and hit a batter.
“No fun, to be honest,” Lynn said. “[Eighty-four] pitches needs to be, like, six innings. Stuff and velocity were there, just getting deep in counts. That comes with the territory this time in spring.”
Silver Slugger left fielder Eloy Jimenez’s defense will never be his calling card, but manager Tony La Russa has liked what he has seen of Jimenez’s jumps and reads on fly balls this spring.
“Spring-training [Arizona] skies are notorious in that guys don’t get great breaks or they lose the ball,” La Russa said. “So far, he’s tracking it outstanding.”
Engel, a Gold Glove finalist in 2018, said Jimenez is beginning to “separate himself in the drill work, going from a guy you can tell is working really hard every day to the work is transferring into a skill.”
Indians at Sox, 3:05 p.m. Saturday, Glendale, MLB.TV, Cal Quantrill vs. Dylan Cease. Yasmani Grandal, who caught his first game Thursday as he works his way back from knee inflammation, will catch his second game. Grandal was the designated hitter Friday. The Sox will stay in their rotation with Carlos Rodon starting Sunday, Lucas Giolito on Monday and Dallas Keuchel on Tuesday.