Dylan Covey

Rough first inning taught Dylan Covey some valuable lessons in White Sox loss

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USA TODAY

Rough first inning taught Dylan Covey some valuable lessons in White Sox loss

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Early Tuesday, Rick Renteria said he hoped Dylan Covey would trust the White Sox defense and the movement on his pitches and attack hitters.

While Covey eventually reached that point and got into a nice rhythm, the adjustment didn’t happen until it was too late. The rookie pitcher walked three batters in the first inning and dearly paid for it before he settled down. Covey yielded a Brandon Moss grand slam that propelled the Kansas City Royals to a 4-3 victory over the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.

“I was struggling with command early on and you’d like to make the adjustment on your next pitch and that’s what I was trying to do,” Covey said. “It came a little later for me. I think halfway through the Moss at-bat I started kind of getting in the rhythm and got a feel for it. Unfortunately, he got a hold of one, but the walks did me in.”

The no-doubter Moss hit was the only damage Kansas City did against Covey, who was otherwise outstanding. The right-hander recovered almost instantly and offered the potential the White Sox saw when they selected him in the Rule 5 draft last December. Covey retired 14 of the next 15 batters he faced and lasted into the sixth inning.

Covey recorded five outs on grounders and induced a bunch of weak contact in the air, essentially becoming the pitcher the White Sox hope he develops into.

But before Moss’s round-tripper, Covey wasn’t the same.

He started the game with a six-pitch walk to Whit Merrifield, including two fastballs that were just off the edge of the zone. Two batters later, Covey just missed with two more fastballs and a slider in a four-pitch walk of Eric Hosmer.

The trend continued against Salvador Perez, though the misses weren’t as close to the zone in a seven-pitch walk. After Covey jumped ahead of Moss 1-2 in the count, he missed low with two fastballs and put himself in an unenviable position and Moss made him pay with a 430-foot homer.

“A lesson learned,” Renteria said. “He was working on the fringes and didn’t have his best command early.

Why Covey might tend to nibble at times is understandable. He has taken his fair share of lumps during his rookie campaign, allowing 17 home runs in 49 innings before Tuesday.

But the White Sox think Covey’s capable of getting outs with his sinker and want him to trust it and avoid walks. As Jeff Samardzija often notes, home runs are going to happen — it’s better they do with nobody on.

Covey walked four batters on Tuesday, which raised his total to 27 free passes in 54.2 innings.

“I’ve kind of been prone to the deep ball a lot this year, and I wouldn’t say it’s in the back of mind but these are big-league hitters so I need to throw my best stuff up there,” Covey said. “One of the things is just learning just to trust myself and trust it in the zone and not try to nibble too much at the corners because that’s when I can get into trouble and start putting guys on base.”

Covey said he felt good with the adjustment he made after the grand slam. He and pitching coach Don Cooper talked about the importance of getting ahead early on the bench and Covey saw the impact. While he fell behind by four runs, Covey kept the White Sox within striking distance and they nearly rallied to win it. The White Sox had the tying and go-ahead runs on in the ninth only to come up empty.

“The story for him was once that happened he came back and attacked the strike zone,” Renteria said. “ He did a really nice job. After the initial blow in the first for him to come back and keep us in the ballgame was pretty impressive.”

Why White Sox are sending Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey to the Arizona Fall League

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USA TODAY

Why White Sox are sending Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey to the Arizona Fall League

MINNEAPOLIS — Dylan Covey is headed back to the Arizona Fall League and he’s OK with the reason for his trip.

In order to make up for the innings he lost to injury this season, the White Sox Rule 5 pick will pitch as a starter for the Glendale Desert Dogs. It’s the same role in which Covey performed last year in the AFL. Covey is one of seven White Sox players who was announced to the AFL on Tuesday. The others include pitchers Jace Fry, Connor Walsh and Matt Foster, catcher Seby Zavala, infielder Danny Mendick and outfielder Tito Polo.

“I look at it as a good thing,” Covey said. “It means they want me to be a starter, so I need to get those innings up. I’ve started my whole career. I’m kind of looking forward to it. It was a good experience for me last year. It’s what got me to the White Sox. It’s an extra six weeks of baseball, but it’s also going to get me ready for next season.”

An oblique injury in May that sidelined Covey for three months has limited him to 56 innings between the minors and majors this season. Covey also suffered an oblique injury in 2016, which limited him to 54 frames. He pitched 140 or more innings in each of the previous two seasons, making a combined 51 starts.

“We’re trying to get him to get a few more innings,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Obviously he’s been down a while. Try to get him a few more innings, continue to command the zone, continue to develop and use what we consider to be a pretty good sinker effectively. I think that just getting a few more innings for him will be good to extend him a little bit longer.”

Covey went 4-0 with a 4.74 ERA in six AFL starts in 2016.

And Tyler Clippard's roster spot goes to ... White Sox make roster move ahead of series with Dodgers

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USA TODAY

And Tyler Clippard's roster spot goes to ... White Sox make roster move ahead of series with Dodgers

And Tyler Clippard's roster spot goes to ...

Dylan Covey.

The White Sox made a necessary roster move ahead of this week's series with the Los Angeles Dodgers out in California, reinstating Covey from the disabled list a day after his 26th birthday. Covey takes the roster spot of Clippard, who was recently traded to the Houston Astros.

It's been a long time on the shelf for Covey, who was placed on the 10-day DL way back on May 26, much longer than 10 days ago, with a strained left oblique.

After starting three times with the Arizona League White Sox, he made a pair of relief appearances on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte.

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Covey's first big league action didn't go too well this spring. He made eight starts for the White Sox in April and May, racking up a startlingly high 8.12 ERA. He allowed four runs or more in five of his six May starts and twice allowed 10 hits in the eight outings on the season.

Covey figures to be a member of the White Sox bullpen now that he's back from injury. The starting rotation spots are pretty well spoken for between Carlos Rodon, the newly promoted Reynaldo Lopez and veterans James Shields, Miguel Gonzalez and Derek Holland.

The White Sox start the two-game set with the Dodgers behind Gonzalez on Tuesday night in Chavez Ravine. Rodon pitches Game 2 on Wednesday. The team has yet to announce how the rotation will line up for the four-game weekend set against the Texas Rangers.