(Bad) postseason experience of 2021 should benefit White Sox in 2022
White Sox notebook: Grandal is ‘ring-hunting’; righty Vince Velasquez is signed; game vs. Cubs kicks off Cactus League schedule.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Much was said about the White Sox going to school against the Astros in their 3-1 American League Division Series trouncing last season. Experience, everyone said, was the big difference.
The Sox, equipped to return to the postseason, hopefully learned something and took notes from a team well-seasoned in playoff baseball.
“I hope so,” catcher Yasmani Grandal said. “If you’re not trying to learn from your mistakes, then it’s the wrong way to go about it. Only time will tell, and hopefully this year it’s a different story.”
And what did Grandal, who played in his seventh postseason in a row, take from it?
“I didn’t take anything from it, other than the fact that we lost,” he said. “I’ve been going at this for seven years now. It’s kind of the same story, always seem to be falling short. I’m still ring-hunting. Hopefully it comes in a White Sox uniform.”
The Sox got a small taste in a wild-card series against the Athletics in 2020, but playing in an empty stadium just wasn’t the same for the younger Sox.
“It was completely different,” Grandal said. “I think they got a sense and a taste of what it is to be in the postseason with fans. It was a step forward, and hopefully we continue on the trail.
“When you’ve been in it for a while, you’ve gone all the way [as the Astros have] and you’ve been in those types of situations, the stage is not too big for you,” Grandal said. “You’ve been there before, you’ve done it, you know what to do.”
Sox sign righty Velasquez
The Sox signed right-hander Vince Velasquez to a one-year deal. It was the Sox’ third area of need checked off in 24 hours. On Saturday, they signed right-handed reliever Joe Kelly and second baseman Josh Harrison.
Velasquez, 29, who owns a 31-44 record with a 4.95 ERA in seven seasons, is a 2010 second-round draft pick of the Astros who hasn’t improved on his first two seasons in the majors. In 2021, he was released by the Phillies after posting a 5.95 ERA in 17 starts and four relief appearances, then had an 8.53 ERA in four starts for the Padres.
The Sox figure to lump Velasquez in the same group of sixth or seventh starters and long relievers with Reynaldo Lopez and Jimmy Lambert. Velasquez has had good strikeout stuff, as well as command issues, during his career.
The Sox haven’t announced the deals, which were pending physicals. Are there more to come?
“There’s always one more move to make,” Sox vice president Ken Williams said. “I’ve been saying that same thing for years.”
Bring on the Cubs
The official Cactus League schedule released Sunday added split-squad spring openers for the Sox against the Cubs on Thursday at Camelback Ranch and Sloan Park. The spring finale is April 5 at the Padres, three days before Opening Day on April 8 in Detroit.
NBC Sports Chicago is televising six of the Sox’ nine home spring games, beginning with the opener against the Cubs, then March 21 (Dodgers), March 26 (Angels), March 30 (Rangers), April 1 (Athletics) and April 3 (Rockies). ESPN 1000 will air all nine Sox home games on radio.
Late starts for stars
Because of the short notice after the lockout ended Thursday, Eloy Jimenez, Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Kendall Graveman were not present on the first official day of camp. Because of travel issues, Abreu isn’t expected till Tuesday.