Lucas Giolito Feels Ready For 60-Game 'Sprint'

By 670 The Score
(670 The Score) Like many of his teammates and peers, White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito is chomping at the bit to return to action.

Giolito has been steadfast in his preparations for the truncated 60-game season, working out at his home in Sacramento, California amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Soon enough, he'll get his wish. The White Sox are set to reopen on-field work at Guaranteed Rate Field next Friday, and MLB will open its regular season on July 23 and July 24. Giolito knows it will be different, but he'll just be happy to be back on the field.

"I am personally not too concerned about returning even with COVID back on the rise," Giolito said on a Zoom call from his home Friday. "It's going to be up to us as players to do everything we can to practice social distancing, stay safe and not expose ourselves to any risk at all. We are going to have to come together and maybe have a conversation about it. If we are going to do this as a team, we will really have to hunker down when it comes to away-from-the-field stuff. The things at the ballpark seem pretty comprehensive, so it's just about what we are doing when we are away."

Giolito dealt with a strained right lat early in spring training but is fully healthy now. The three weeks of spring training 2.0 will be about rounding into top form and getting as sharp as possible.

"We know a 60-game season is more of a sprint than a marathon," Giolito said. "Myself, I am in very good pitching shape. On pretty much a weekly basis, I have been getting a couple of bullpens in. I have been throwing live to hitters out here.

"I am simulating three innings pitched and even extending the innings out. I am doing that just to get the pitch count up. I do my lifting at home and physical therapy work as well. I am working with cleats on the outside while facing hitters. Some minor league players have been facing me, including Andrew Vaughn (the White Sox's first-round pick in 2019). That was a lot of fun. He is a very, very good hitter. I am trying to get a 15/20-pitch range per inning. We will continue to have a program going forward."

Giolito is making his best effort to adhere to MLB's new safety protocols while throwing back home.

"During my live bullpens, I am trying to not lick my fingers and spit, those kinds of things," Giolito said. "That is very tough, because some of those habits are like second nature. There is definitely going to be some things we must make adjustments for. At the end of the day, it's for the greater good so we can stay safe."

Giolito, 25, had a breakout campaign in 2019, earning All-Star honors for the first time as he posted a 3.41 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 29 starts.

"The development never stops," Giolito said. "I now have two full seasons in the big leagues, but I am not even close to where I want to be as a complete product. I don't think I ever will be. I will always want to develop things, always try to work on something new until the day I retire."

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