Bernardo Flores offers break from mostly bad White Sox roster news

One of the less desirable features of the idiosyncratic 2020 season is the new sense of dread that foreshadows every email with the subject line “WHITE SOX ANNOUNCE [X] ROSTER MOVES.” No news is generally good news this year, so the higher the number of roster machinations, the more the likelihood of a terrible development reaches 100 percent. There just aren’t enough underperforming relievers or exciting players on the cusp to make these emails little blessed surprises.

Sure enough, the White Sox announced four such roster moves this morning, and two of them are bad.

  • Leury García: Moved to the 45-day injured list, because he severed the ligament in his thumb.
  • Ian Hamilton: Became the latest pitcher to hit the injured list with shoulder soreness.

Moving García to the 45-day list allowed the White Sox to open a 40-man spot for Cheslor Cuthbert, who addresses the lack of infield bodies with both García and Nick Madrigal on the shelf. It just opens a whole host of other issues on the depth chart, but I’ll address that in a post after the doubleheader.

In terms of roster moves somebody might want to see, there’s only one that qualifies, and one whose short-lived nature means it gets the priority lane.

  • Bernardo Flores: Recalled to serve as the 29th man for today’s doubleheader.

Hey, not terrible!

Flores will be the first player who really tests whether Schaumburg can mold a man, at least if he gets a chance. There’s a prospect in there, but one that wasn’t sprinting into 2020 at the peak of his powers. He broke out by posting a 2.65 ERA over 156 innings between Winston-Salem and Birmingham, and his reliability earned him the nickname of “Mr. Quality Start” from the fine folks with the Dash. He earned our affection with his intense interest in baseball history.

An oblique strain affected his ability to show up to the post every five days in 2019, and it also hampered his effectiveness year over year at Birmingham over an identical amount of innings:

YearGIPHHRBBKRA/9
20181378.179514173.10
20191578.1741015694.25

It wasn’t all bad news. He elevated his strikeout rate out of unsustainable territory into one more befitting of a back-of-the-rotation starter. But his home-run rate also doubled in the pitcher-friendly environment of Regions Field, which might’ve been a reason why the White Sox spared him a promotion to Charlotte. A six-start appearance in the Arizona Fall League helped get him over the 100-inning mark, but not in a way that suggested he could’ve survived the rabbit ball in the International League.

Flores could be counted as part of the team’s pitching depth entering 2020, but while he cuts an unmistakable physical profile — tall, lanky, thick-rimmed shades on the mound — his potential contributions are much harder to distinguish. Between oblique strains and a major velocity dip a few years back that forced him to develop a kitchen-sink approach, I imagine he’s still trying to learn how to compete in the strike zone with his present-day stuff. His fastball was back in the low-90s the last we saw it.

The non-standard environment at Boomers Stadium doesn’t give him the needed lumps that Triple-A had in store, but the alternate training site is all he has. Rick Renteria might use him in Game 2, depending on how much work Lucas Giolito leaves for the bullpen in Game 1. He’s not so critical to the White Sox’s plans that they need to pitch him today. It’d just be nice to get his stuff on Statcast to have a better idea of what he’s bringing to the table in 2021, assuming his shoulder doesn’t abandon him immediately after like so many pitchers before him.

* * * * * * * * *

Feel free to use this as the First Pitch for today.

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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jorgefabregas

Man, after the torn labrum year(s), the White Sox were so good at avoiding shoulder injuries with their shoulder strengthening program. Wha’ happened?

Willardmarshall

His appreciation of the game’s history made me an instant fan…..

asinwreck

Giolito looks like the rusty one.

asinwreck

What the Sox want to do is have the opposing team bat around in the first inning of a doubleheader.

Foulkelore

I know Lucas is a nice guy, but it’s maybe a bit too nice to let each of their hitters bat right away after the long layoff.

LuBob DuRob

Surprised Giolito started game 1. Hopefully the bats are ready.

asinwreck

Early returns are not promising.

asinwreck

Wainwright is no longer pitching a perfect game, so that’s progress.

Foulkelore

Don’t worry, Lucas looks fine now. How he looked in the first is completely understandable given the long layoff of 5 days off between starts. A long layoff is going to impact anyone negatively. It’s certainly a valid excuse, and I see no flaws in my logic.

asinwreck

The fleet feet of José Abreu end that inning. Is this the best defensive week of his career?

asinwreck

And then the fourth inning happened.

asinwreck

The Sox are not making Wainwright pay for his walks. That said, I’ll offer a positive comment. Luis Robert walked on four pitches.

asinwreck

On his next at-bat, he struck out on four pitches, so maybe I’m done making positive comments about this game.

knoxfire30

Giolito cant find the zone early, the entire defense looks asleep at the wheel, offense not doing much… classic

Maybe Dallas can make another speech after the game.

asinwreck

Why are they wasting Detwiler’s innings on Game 1?

Foulkelore

Good question. I was ok with them leaving Detwiler in the role in which he was having success, rather than try him as the 5th starter. However, they’ve only used him in wasted appearances since that decision.

tommytwonines

Seconded. That’s a good question.

tommytwonines

Giolito hasn’t had a bad start with McCann behind the plate this year (and rarely last year). Maybe go back to that as the rule?

Foulkelore

Sox first six hitters in game 1: 0-16, 2 walks. Throw Mazara in and that’s seven hitters who were: 0-19, 2 walks. Giolito was bad in the first inning, but it might not have mattered much if he wasn’t.

asinwreck

Mendick once again is the heart of this offense, though Robert’s walk and final-inning double were nice to see. Poor offense otherwise, poor defense, but when your purported ace uses the first inning of a doubleheader to gift the other team two runs by HBP, I don’t know what else needs to be said.

Foulkelore

Yep, putting hitters on for free when their timing is probably going to be a tad off, especially in the first at bats, is not a good strategy.

asinwreck

Both teams changed uniforms to avoid confusion between games 1 & 2. Here’s hoping the Sox removed the stink of Game 1 with those shirts.

asinwreck

Matt Foster certainly started things off well.

asinwreck

Can he pitch the third?

asinwreck

Max Schrock sounds like a name from a 1920 box score.