White Sox’ Dylan Cease clobbered for 11 runs in second Cactus League start

“Sometimes it’s not the worst thing to get punched in the face, get you going,” Cease said. “But obviously not ideal.”

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White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease gets pulled from the game by manager Pedro Grifol.

White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease gets pulled from the game by manager Pedro Grifol.

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Meaningless Cactus League game in early March or not, there was no brushing off the unsettling results of White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease’s second spring start Wednesday.

Cease, the runner-up to Justin Verlander in the American League Cy Young voting last season, was hit early and often against the Royals, allowing a grand slam to Michael Massey after walking three consecutive batters in a five-run first. He was pulled with one out in the inning as his pitch count reached 23.

But pitchers can re-enter in Cactus League games, and Cease started the second, only to give up four more runs without recording an out. He was charged with two more after that and posted a line of 11 runs allowed on seven hits and four walks in two-thirds of an inning.

Still, health is what matters most now, and Cease said what needed to be heard.

‘‘It was a lot of walks, a lot of hits, a lot of runs,’’ he said. ‘‘Definitely not a good night. But I left healthy. Thankfully it’s spring, so I’m just going to learn from it and kind of flush it.’’

Cease retired only two of the 13 batters he faced.

‘‘Just a rough night,’’ he said. ‘‘Sometimes it’s not the worst thing to get punched in the face a little, get you going. But obviously not ideal.’’

Cease’s command was off. He missed the plate to his glove side by sizable margins at times, especially with his breaking pitches. The scoreboard showed his fastball sitting at 95 mph.

‘‘I didn’t get my slider in the zone at all, and pretty much they were able to spit on it,’’ Cease said. ‘‘Then they got to the heater.’’

In his first spring start, Cease allowed one hit in two scoreless innings, striking out two and walking two.

‘‘If I did this four, five times in a row, I’d get a little worried,’’ Cease said. ‘‘Honestly, I’m just going to flush this one.

‘‘I need to just keep getting reps, honestly. Just sharpen up a little bit.’’

Cease had a 1.53 ERA against the Royals last season.

Grifol cuts the cord

First-year manager Pedro Grifol faced the Royals, the organization he came from, Wednesday but said before the game there would be few emotions, if any.

‘‘You’re probably going to think I’m lying like everybody else, but I don’t really feel anything or nothing extra,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘It’s another game that we need to prepare ourselves for Game 1. And that’s the truth. My 10 years there were my 10 years there, and I’m here now.’’

Grifol, 52, was the Royals’ bench coach the last three seasons. He has had multiple jobs with multiple organizations.

‘‘It conditions you,’’ he said. ‘‘You’re in and out of clubhouses. You build relationships. You’re in and out of relationships. I have a lot of friends there still, but I’m here now. I know we’re playing Kansas City, but there’s nothing extra here.’’

This and that

Left-hander Aaron Bummer is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session Friday.

• Right-hander Michael Kopech, who hasn’t pitched in a spring game yet, pitched two innings in live batting practice.

• Outfield prospect Yoelqui Cespedes hasn’t played in a spring game because of a sore right quad

Royals 14, Sox 5

Brad Keller blanked the Sox for three innings and allowed only a single by Gavin Sheets while striking out four, and none of the Sox regulars who played managed a hit. The Royals are 11-2 in Cactus League. The Sox are 6-5.

*Right fielder Oscar Colas (.389) led off for the first time and went 0-for-2. Colas had a chance to show his arm on a fly ball toward the line in medium right with runner on third, but his throw home was well wide into foul territory.

*After Dylan Cease got shelled for 11 runs, Jake Diekman (two strikeouts) and Bryan Shaw each pitched a scoreless inning, Joe Kelly allowed a run in one inning and Rule 5 pick Nick Avila allowed two runs in two innings.

On deck: Team Colombia at Sox, 2:05 p.m., Thursday, Glendale, TBA vs. Jesse Scholtens (0-0, 5.40).

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