SURPRISE, Ariz. — If Wednesday’s spring training game against the Texas Rangers was next month instead of right now, there might be some cause for concern.
But fortunately, the regular season isn’t right now. White Sox pitchers Lance Lynn and Craig Kimbrel were making their first Cactus League appearances, and while the results weren’t the greatest, both pitchers came away feeling mission accomplished.
“There was no game plan today. It was just go out there and get pitches in. The stuff was there for the most part, so I can't complain,” Lynn said.
Nor could Corey Seager and Mitch Garver, who hit back-to-back solo homers off Lynn in the first inning. Garver came back and tagged him again for another solo shot in the third. In all, Lynn surrendered three runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings with no walks and four strikeouts.
"A couple mistakes, but the pitches I've been working on were there for the most part. Now it’s just pitch count and make sure you fine tune it,” Lynn said. “Next time you go in and try to work on everything that wasn’t working today.
"Sinker wasn’t there early. Gave up some hits. As the game went on, the sinker was there. Changeup came along too. All in all, it wasn’t a terrible day.”
After throwing over 50 pitches in this start, Lynn expects to ramp it up to 65 to 70 in his second spring outing as he prepares for the start of the regular season.
After dealing with right knee inflammation last season, how’s the knee holding up to begin this season?
“It’s still attached,” Lynn said in his trademark deadpan fashion.
I guess we can assume it’s feeling okay.
As for Kimbrel, he entered the game in the fourth inning with a swinging strikeout against left-handed hitting Brad Miller. But it was all downhill after that: hit by pitch, walk, triple, walk, single, fielder’s choice.
Kimbrel was charged with five runs, four earned. His day was finished.
“Overall, I felt pretty good,” Kimbrel said after his outing. “Ball was coming out a little harder than the effort I was putting into it. Today, I was working on direction, getting down the mound, trying to stay in my pitches. I did that for a couple batters, and didn’t for a couple of other ones.
"Overall, coming out of the outing, I feel good, I feel strong, just going to work off of it and go into the next one.”
On the bright side, his fastball velocity went from 90-91 during his first live batting practice a few days ago to 93-94 against the Rangers.
“From where I was just a couple of weeks ago before we showed up to where I am now, I’m progressing and getting closer to being ready for Opening Day,” he said.
Fortunately, this wasn’t Opening Day. The White Sox lost 14-5.
Their spring training record is 5-2. Eloy Jiménez smashed a two-run double. Yoelqui Cespedes continued his hot spring with an RBI double. Liam Hendriks and Garrett Crochet pitched scoreless innings in relief. So, it's not all bad.