Lucas Giolito, AJ Pollock nearing closer to returns to White Sox

Giolito throws sim game in Arizona, could be ready to join White Sox in five days.

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Lucas Giolito threw a sim game in Arizona on Tuesday and might be nearing a return to the White Sox.

Lucas Giolito could be back on the mound for the White Sox on Sunday.

Duane Burleson/Getty Images

CLEVELAND — While the White Sox and Guardians were postponed for a second consecutive day because of bad weather, the day was not a complete washout for the Sox.

Right-hander Lucas Giolito tested his lower abdominal strain in a simulated game at the team’s training complex in Glendale, Arizona, and assuming the Opening Day starter emerged from it feeling 100%, he could return as soon as Sunday.

And one of the hitters who faced Giolito was outfielder AJ Pollock, who was giving his right hamstring a test. Pollock could be ready to come off the injured list and rejoin the team Friday against the Twins, manager Tony La Russa said.

Both players could be back soon for a team that has weathered an onslaught of injuries with a 6-3 record through its first three series.

“The thing that pleases me the most is that it’s clear we’re competing and the three games we lost we had a chance to win,” La Russa said.

“We play with our hearts and with our guts. I always give credit to the other side, they’re trying to win, too. We’re like in a survivor mode without some of these guys, but we’re surviving.”

Giolito, who pitched four scoreless innings before leaving the opener against the Tigers and landing on the injured list four days later, was said to be throwing with his normal velocity and stuff. He was going to throw Tuesday at Progressive Field but was coaxed into avoiding the cold and going to Glendale where it was 98 degrees. After Tuesday’s game was called, La Russa was “anxiously” awaiting word on how the outing went for Giolito, who got up for three innings.

“Depends on how he feels today,” said La Russa, who was optimistic while saying the earliest Giolito could return would be in a normal rotation-turn five days from Tuesday. “But he’s there. We’ve got quality guys watching him. He’s a veteran, he knows how he feels.”

The weather was also looking up Wednesday for a straight doubleheader to make up for Tuesday’s postponement. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will oppose Guardians right-hander Shane Bieber in Game 1, and righty Jimmy Lambert starts for the Sox against righty Triston McKenzie in Game 2. Dylan Cease will face Zach Plesac in the series finale on Thursday.

Monday’s game was called because of snow and cold weather. There was no precipitation in the area Tuesday but temperatures were in the upper 30s with 20-30 mph winds off Lake Erie. The expected high was 42 degrees with wind chills in the 20s.

“And the field in places, the grass is a little insecure and as it gets colder with the wind here, it’s going to get slippery as heck, it’s going to be a little dangerous,” La Russa said. “[Cleveland manager] Terry [Francona] and I both agreed, it’s not smart and the umpire agreed.”

Outfielder Adam Haseley will arrive from Triple-A Charlotte and join the roster as the 29th player for the doubleheader. With 10 relief pitchers, all fully rested for at least two days, and with outfielder Eloy Jimenez still a bit sore from taking a pitch off his ankle last Wednesday, an extra outfielder made the most sense, La Russa said.

NOTE: Veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto, who has been in Arizona, is headed to Charlotte where he is expected to begin pitching for the Triple-A Knights soon.

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