Dylan Covey is already the sixth White Sox pitcher to be placed on the 10-day disabled list this season. The club announced Friday that Covey is headed to the DL just as one of the pitchers already there, James Shields, took another step forward in his rehab.
Shields threw his second bullpen in three days on Friday and hopes to begin a minor-league rehab assignment after he throws a three-inning, game-situation-like bullpen on Monday.
The White Sox promoted reliever Juan Minaya to take Covey’s spot on the 25-man roster. They also announced Tyler Danish would be the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader and manager Rick Renteria said Covey’s scheduled start Monday would be filled internally. Reliever David Holmberg could make the start.
“I’m full bore,” Shields said. “Everything is working really well and everything feels good. Ready to rock and roll.
“It’s been pretty tough for me. I’m pretty anxious. I want to be out there and help my team win. But at the end of the day I have to stick to the process. You know the team was really doing good up until this last road trip. Now we need to pick it back up. I’m looking forward to coming back and helping the squad out.”
Covey isn’t surprised he landed on the DL.
He missed much of the 2016 season with a left oblique strain and knew exactly what he was experiencing when he felt the tug on Tuesday. But Covey remembers the early portion of last year’s injury and thinks he’s in better shape now.
“Well, my first thought was, ‘Oh, no. I did it again,’” Covey said. “It’s kind of looking like it might not be nearly as bad as it was last year. So I’m staying optimistic and taking it day by day.”
“I think if I tried to push it another pitch like I did last year, it could have maybe worsened the situation. So I’m glad I was able to hold back a little bit.”
Minaya -- who pitched in 11 games for the 2016 White Sox -- missed roughly five weeks with an abdominal tear. Though he wanted to race back (he struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings this spring), Minaya knew he had to be practical about his rehab. Once healthy, Minaya pitched well at Triple-A Charlotte, where he posted a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 innings.
“I took a little while but we’re going through the process and we have to be patient and do everything they say to get healthy,” Minaya said. “We have to do the right thing to be healthy.”
“I feel very happy with myself because I’m working to get back here and I see the progress and I feel very happy.”
Minaya gives the White Sox nine relievers on their 13-man staff. That amount would make it much easier for the team to fill Covey’s first turn in the rotation with a bullpen game on Monday. A career starter who only began to pitch in relief this season, Holmberg could give the White Sox several innings to start. While Renteria won’t name any candidates for the series opener against the Boston Red Sox, he did suggest it would be an internal candidate.
“We’ll probably end up filling with one of our own guys,” Renteria said.
Jim Callis thinks the Luis Robert signing is going to have a gigantic impact on the organization well beyond adding another elite talent.
When Robert officially joins the White Sox sometime next week, Callis projects the Cuban outfielder will initially be ranked the No. 27 prospect in baseball on MLBPipeline.com. That ranking is one spot ahead of Atlanta Braves shortstop Kevin Maitan, who previously was the No. 1 prospect in the 2016-17 international class.
But Callis likes the deal — reportedly worth between $25-30 million — because of what it could mean for the White Sox under the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement where the playing field is leveled. Whereas teams could spend unlimited sums of money under the old CBA, the new rules include a hard salary cap.
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“It’s not going to be about money any more,” Callis said. “The teams with the most money will have $5.25 million and the teams with the least will have $4.75 million. You can trade and double that, but that’s it. So it’s not going to come down to this team is offering $25 million and this team is offering $10 million. Everyone’s going to be offering the future Luis Robert’s of the world the same money and it’s going to come down as who has relationships, who has done well with Cuban players. You look at how the White Sox recruited him with the video. I think it’s sending a message, ‘Hey, we’re a destination for Cuban players.’ That’s going to be huge going forward, almost as important as getting Luis Robert.”
"I think it was huge."
The Robert acquisition is critical for the rebuilding White Sox, who had acquired a number of talented arms in the initial phase but also need to stockpile as many bats as possible. Yoan Moncada is the biggest offensive piece added since the rebuild began in December. But beyond last year’s draft class, the only other offensive piece added is outfielder Luis Basabe.
Internally, Robert will be ranked fourth overall in the White Sox top-10 list to start, though he could move ahead of Lucas Giolito when the system rankings are reorganized in July, Callis said.
Said Callis of Robert: “The obvious comparison is kind of a right-handed outfield version of Moncada.”