DETROIT — This will be White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito’s third consecutive Opening Day start.
It’s not getting old.
‘‘It’s an absolute honor,’’ Giolito said Thursday on the eve of taking the ball when the Sox face the Tigers and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez on Friday in Detroit. ‘‘One of 30 guys in the world that gets to do this, start Opening Day, kick off the season. I will always, always appreciate the opportunity.’’
Giolito started the 2020 season facing the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field with no fans in the stands and the 2021 season against the Angels with 13,207 fans at Angel Stadium. With fans all the way back, this one will have a more authentic Opening Day feel.
‘‘It’s important to go out there and set the tone as best I possibly can on the defensive side,’’ Giolito said. ‘‘We have one of the most talented offenses in baseball, so my job is to just go out there and put up as many zeros as possible. That’s the mantra for the year, but it’s good to go out there and start it off the right way.’’
Giolito, who was 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA in 2021, probably would be starting Saturday if not for teammate Lance Lynn’s knee injury. But he is more than equipped to take the ball Friday and probably every bit as deserving as Lynn.
‘‘We have one goal in mind,’’ Giolito said of the Sox. ‘‘Last year we came up well short, learned a lot from that experience in that first-round exit in the playoffs. But we know how good we are. We know learning from last year . . . certain things that need to be improved to take that next step, and that’s it. That’s the goal.’’
Outfield prospect Micker Adolfo, who is out of minor-league options, was designated for assignment. Catcher Seby Zavala, who appeared in 37 games last season but was bumped off the major-league roster when Reese McGuire was acquired in a trade Sunday for Zack Collins, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Charlotte.
Left side of infield to look different
Shortstop Tim Anderson, who is serving a suspension for bumping umpire Tim Timmons during a bench-clearing incident in September, will miss the games Friday and Saturday. Leury Garcia will play shortstop, with Jake Burger, playing in place of injured Yoan Moncada, at third base.
Andrew Vaughn, who was converted from first base to outfield last season, took grounders at third base Thursday and worked there Wednesday, too.
‘‘He showed last year amazing ability to have the facility to play second base the one time and third base the one game,’’ manager Tony La Russa said. ‘‘Don’t be surprised if he’s in there at some point.’’
Banking on Banks
Assistant general manager Chris Getz said 30-year-old left-hander Tanner Banks, a minor-league lifer who made the Opening Day roster, impressed the Sox during spring training with his improved velocity and overall stuff. La Russa said Banks ‘‘impressed with his command.’’
Banks gives La Russa a third lefty in his bullpen behind Aaron Bummer and Bennett Sousa.
Here is manager Tony La Russa’s lineup for the opener Friday:
AJ Pollock, RF
Luis Robert, CF
Jose Abreu, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Eloy Jimenez, LF
Leury Garcia, SS
Josh Harrison, 2B
Andrew Vaughn, DH
Jake Burger, 3B
Lucas Giolito, P