BOSTON -- White Sox minor league pitcher of the month Reynaldo Lopez thinks he’s more than ready for the next step.
The Triple-A Charlotte starter said Friday he has worked to fine tune everything while patiently waiting for the White Sox to promote him to the majors. Lopez had a 2.31 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 35 innings in July at Charlotte. Even though he’s worked on his patience, Lopez, who pitched in 11 games for the Washington Nationals in 2016, said the waiting can definitely be the hardest part.
“Yes, it has been a little difficult because you dream about pitching in the majors and being in the majors,” Lopez said through an interpreter. “When you’re doing your job and things are going well, then you want to be there right away. But you also know you have to be patient. That’s one of the things I’ve been trying to show to the organization, that I can be patient too.”
The White Sox recently said Lopez is on the cusp of the majors. General manager Rick Hahn said he’s done a good job to force the issue while manager Rick Renteria thinks he’s only a few starts away.
Lopez, however, believes he’s ready for Round 2 in the majors right now.
“Yes, absolutely,” Lopez said. “I feel like I’m ready physically and mentally to pitch in the majors.”
The White Sox spent much of July trying to open a spot in their rotation for Lopez. Hahn has been open for business and traded seven players off the 25-man roster. Though Derek Holland drew limited interest and Miguel Gonzalez showed signs he’s healthy, the White Sox didn’t trade any starting pitchers before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline. Lopez potentially could have made his White Sox debut earlier this week had Hahn been able to complete yet another deal but none came to fruition.
If he’s bothered by his wait, Lopez’s performance hasn’t shown it. The right-hander has a four-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio in July. He said he’s bided his time by trying to stay focused on all aspects of pitching.
“I have been working on my focus on the game, trying to keep my focus the whole game,” Lopez said. “Also, on how to execute the best pitches in all of the situations, in the different situations of the game. I think those two aspects have been the most important for me in this time in Triple-A because all of my pitches — my curveball, my fastball — all of my pitches are good. It’s just a matter of keeping my focus on the game. Don’t lose my focus and try to execute and understand the game situations. That’s something I have been trying to improve.”