Yoán Moncada felt healthy enough to release a single (with accompanying music video) this offseason, so it stands to reason that he’s finally able to put COVID-19 behind him on the field.
Alas, there’s no such thing as a spring autotune-up, so he’s currently out a few days with what the White Sox described as “early spring soreness” in his throwing arm. An immediate spring arm issue for a White Sox third baseman automatically brings to mind the shoulder issue that terminated the Jeff Keppinger era before the halfway point of his three-year deal, but maybe that’s just me.
Otherwise, Moncada said, “I feel strong, I feel good. I am prepared to handle 162-plus games,” while Tony La Russa praised the way his bat looks from both sides. That might ordinarily sound like spring fluff, but Moncada looked otherworldly in 2020, in the sense that he was battling Mercury’s gravitational force with all of his baseball actions. Any return to his normal speed should be noticeable, after which things like bat control return to the fore. Assuming he can throw.
Speaking of COVID-19, José Abreu is due in camp today after undergoing additional antibody testing.
(Update: Abreu will continue to be held out of camp.)
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The White Sox had a number of health issues surface toward the end of the 2020 regular season, with Eloy Jiménez’s foot problem chief among them. Aaron Bummer’s prolonged absence dealt a sneakier blow, if only because the White Sox succeeded without him for a good chunk of the season. He didn’t look nearly as impressive in his two September appearances, and his inefficient inning in Game 3 made four or more outs impossible for Rick Renteria to request.
If nothing else, it served as a reminder that the White Sox bullpen is at its best when Bummer can occasionally go a second inning, even if Garrett Crochet looms as a candidate for medium-to-high-leverage work for an entire season.
Based on Ethan Katz’s initial assessment of his new setup man, it appears that Bummer’s got full life on his stuff.
“I was with Aaron early January in Arizona and I had a great opportunity playing catch with him,” Katz said, “and I’ve caught a lot of baseballs with guys that throw really hard. And that was by far, one of his sinkers he threw me, was the hardest pitch I have ever had to try and catch in my life.”
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By and large, the camera work on spring training webcasts is adequate to the task of seeing the basic outcomes of pitches and swings. It’s not necessarily the greatest for sussing out mechanical changes.
So we may not get to see what Carlos Rodón is working on as he returns to the White Sox in the hopes of some amount of innings on a reliable basis, because you’re going to want to get a look at his front foot.
“He’d get very quad dominant, get in his toe and then he gets very cross-fired and had the issue staying healthy, obviously,” Katz said. “The minute we signed him back we’ve been on the phone, talking, going through that process and once we got here, been able to work hands-on. He’s starting to understand how his lower half is supposed to move more efficiently. And it’s just going to take time. When you’ve done something for a long time it’s hard to get out of that but over time we hope we can tap into things that he hasn’t been able to do.”
You might be able to trace a difference from the center field camera on his follow through, but the work’s probably better viewed from the home plate or dugout views, which might better show where Rodón’s keeping his torso as he strides toward home.
Josh and I discussed on the podcast that this seems like a lot of work in a short time for a late-winter signing. Nevertheless, I wanted to submit this to the written record since it figures to become a subplot when the rotation takes shape.
(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)