Chicago White Sox

Cody Asche has already settled in with White Sox

Cody Asche has already settled in with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Joining a new team after six pro seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies didn't exactly put Cody Asche's mind at ease last month.

Then he set foot into the White Sox clubhouse.

A non-roster invitee to camp, Asche has since found a comfort zone and it has translated to the field. With 11 days left in camp, Asche -- hitting .364/.563/.909 with six extra-base hits in 32 plate appearances -- is firmly in the mix for the Opening Day roster. 

"You lay awake at night before you come to spring training with a new club wondering how it's going to be and how scary it could be, being it's your first time," Asche said. "It's nothing like I would have imagined. I felt like I fit in right away, and I'm really taken aback by the humbleness of the superstars in this room, (Jose) Abreu, (Todd) Frazier, (Jose) Quintana. Those guys, they're really great teammates."

A fourth-round draft pick in 2011, Asche was "very surprised" when the Phillies decided to designate him for assignment on Dec. 2. The University of Nebraska-product quickly rose through Philadelphia's farm system and was promoted to the majors late in the 2013 season. Asche -- who hit 31 homers and has a .684 career OPS in 1,287 PAs -- struggled defensively at third base in 2013 and 2014, which prompted the Phillies to switch him to the outfield the past two seasons. Arbitration eligible this offseason for the first time and due a raise, Philadelphia opted to move on.

"I didn't see that coming at all," Asche said. "I thought at least I would be back in camp and fighting for a job again. That's baseball. That's how it goes. I wasn't the first, and I won't be the last.

"I don't want to prove to them anything. A lot of people have to make tough decisions in this game. Sometimes they're right and sometimes they're wrong."

The White Sox are hopeful the Phillies were incorrect in their evaluation of Asche, who signed a minor-league deal with an invite to camp on Dec. 22. Though he faces longer odds as a non-roster invitee, Asche's chances are helped because he's one of the few left-handed sticks in camp.

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The White Sox have added some flexibility to Asche's game by trying him out at first base this spring. They've been pleased with how he's handled his chances there as well as his offensive performance, which includes three doubles, three homers and nine walks in 32 trips.

"He's making it tough on everybody," manager Rick Renteria said. "Done a nice job preparing, executing and the things he is capable of doing. He's a pro and is doing things he's capable of, not trying to do too much. He's shown well. He's a pro and a person that kind of grows on you. He's pretty witty and very professional going about your business."

Asche said it didn't take long to feel comfortable in his new digs. He and Renteria had a chat at the start of camp where the manager "laid it on the line and told me what was going to be expected of me," Asche said. He has since found plenty of friendly faces, whether it's a quick word with Abreu or joking with Frazier.

Asche thinks he's matured as a person over the last few years. Though it has been tough to move on from old friends in Philly, Asche said he's only looking forward.

"No one wants to be DFAed from their parent club that drafted them and brought them up, but I always welcome new challenges," Asche said. "It's been real easy to play for these guys and around this group of teammates.

"I want to be a part of this culture. I want to be a part of this team. I want to play hard for Ricky. "I want to play hard for the guys in this room, and that's really all I'm focused on."
 

Lucas Giolito's White Sox debut will be pushed back as club makes rotation changes

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USA TODAY

Lucas Giolito's White Sox debut will be pushed back as club makes rotation changes

Lucas Giolito's White Sox debut will be pushed back a day.

Originally scheduled to start Monday, Giolito will make his team debut on Tuesday now, manager Rick Renteria said on Saturday. Giolito will take Reynaldo Lopez's place in the rotation as he recovers from a strained back.

The White Sox also made some other pitching rotation changes.

Carlos Rodon and Carson Fulmer will be the two starters for Monday's doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins. Renteria said that Fulmer — who will be making his season debut — will serve as the 26th man and then head back to Triple-A Charlotte.

In 24 starts this season with the Knights, the 23-year-old prospect is 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA and 95 strikeouts.

Strained back sends White Sox pitching prospect Reynaldo Lopez to DL

Strained back sends White Sox pitching prospect Reynaldo Lopez to DL

After leaving Thursday's game with soreness, the White Sox are taking a cautious approach with pitching prospect Reynaldo Lopez.

The White Sox announced on Saturday they have placed Lopez on the 10-day disabled list with a strained back and purchased the contract of pitcher Danny Farquhar from Triple-A Charlotte.

White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper noticed Lopez losing both his velocity and command in the fourth inning of his start against the Texas Rangers on Thursday night which prompted a mound visit from manager Rick Renteria and head athletic trainer Herm Schneider. After initially walking back toward the dugout, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu signaled for Renteria and Schneider to return. Lopez was pulled from the game just moments later.

Lopez is 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA in two starts with the White Sox after getting promoted to the majors on Aug. 11.

Farquhar, 30, signed with the White Sox in July after he was released by the Tampa Bay Rays.

In eight games with Triple-A Charlotte, Farquhar had a 3.00 ERA with a 0.880 WHIP and 12 strikeouts.

The veteran reliever has played in parts of six MLB seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays (2011), Seattle Mariners (2013-15) and Rays (2016-17). Farquhar has a career record of 7-14 with 18 saves and a 3.85 ERA in 230 games.

The White Sox 40-man roster is now at 36 after Saturday's move.