Renteria Keeping Open Mind For White Sox's Rotation

By 670 The Score
(670 The Score) With pitchers only having three weeks to ramp back up ahead of a 60-game season that will feature bigger stakes each night, White Sox manager Rick Renteria is considering a handful of options for how to utilize his staff.

"I was asked if there was a chance for openers or even piggybacking guys," Renteria said Thursday. "I think it's possible with the way we handle our rotation. We know our players are going to be sore early in this process, so we want to protect them and bring them along safely.

"Once we put our eyes on them, that will be the determining factor as to what guys will be able to put forward for us."

With 24-year-old right-hander Michael Kopech fully recovered from Tommy John surgery in 2018 and left-hander Carlos Rodon expected to contribute as well after undergoing the same operation in 2019, the White Sox have some options and flexibility. Right-hander Lucas Giolito and left-hander Dallas Keuchel will lead the rotation, while right-hander Dylan Cease, right-hander Reynaldo Lopez and left-hander Gio Gonzalez will factor into the mix as well.

Piggybacking starters -- using two back-to-back in the same game, often with a pitch count limit -- could help ease the pitchers back into form and minimize the youngsters' workload. The abbreviated season has already helped the White Sox in the sense that Kopech's innings load in 2020 won't be a concern.

"I am hoping we can take advantage of every opportunity that is given to us," Renteria said. "Obviously the goal right away is to win as many ballgames as possible. The thing I can't lose sight of is preparing our guys for what they are capable of doing. We must let it all play itself out naturally. We always tell our guys the team that plays the cleanest game will have the best chance to win. The new rules will be a factor, but I am excited about seeing all of our guys together again and see where we are at."

Renteria seemed excited when asked about adjusting his managerial style a bit to match the intensity that a short season will bring.

"When it comes to a pitching perspective, it will depend on where are guys are at -- the kind of length they can give us and things of that nature," Renteria said. "The key is understanding what we have and figuring out how to best use them. Late-inning strategies might change now with the runner on second in the 10th inning on in a tie ballgame."

"We come in with the same mindset of building off of what we were doing in the spring. It will be a unique season, so the teams that get off to a fast start have the best chance to be in the postseason."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.