The White Sox got mostly good news from their medical staff Tuesday.
Manager Rick Renteria didn't make it to the ballpark in Cleveland in time for the pregame media Zoom, but he was in the dugout for the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader. He endured a scare Monday after feeling some symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Renteria said between games he is feeling well despite what he described as a normal chest cold.
The White Sox lost the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader 4-3, dropping to 1-3 on the season.
But Renteria's quick return was a relief.
“It was great because I wanted to be here yesterday,” he said. “But again, everybody sees what's going on throughout the league. It's best that we err on the side of caution.”
The Sox players were ready to get to business, even if business this season means a few extra responsibilities for each player. Nobody wants a situation where games have to be postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak, something Miami, Baltimore, Philadelphia and the Yankees are experiencing.
“It's been upbeat, and I think guys have focused on what we can control here and taking the right precautions, safety measures to put ourselves in the best position to go out and compete here in Cleveland,” bench coach Joe McEwing said.
That includes more players appearing to wear masks during the game, likely a reaction to the positive coronavirus tests among the Marlins.
New right fielder Nomar Mazara reported to the Schaumburg training site after being on the injured list for undisclosed reasons.
Taming the outfield: Meanwhile, Joe McEwing said left fielder Eloy Jimenez was day to day after going through all pregame activities. Jimenez ran into the outfield wall against the Twins on Sunday.
Nicky Delmonico started in left field in place of Jimenez in Game 1.
The Sox continue to work with swift center fielder Luis Robert and the other outfielders to improve communication between them to keep them from injury-causing collisions. It's especially important with a player of Robert's range. Robert has a tendency to want to catch every ball he reaches, and he reaches a lot of them.
“It's a gift and a curse because he can go line to line,” McEwing said of Robert.
Just don't expect the Sox to try to reel Robert in, so long as the communication continues to improve.
“You don't want to tame that tiger. You want to let him go,” McEwing said. “That's the communication aspect of it that we worked on and will continue to work on throughout. We want him to go after everything.”
Sox recall Hamilton: While reliever Reynaldo Lopez went to the 10-day injured list with right shoulder soreness, it gave the Sox a chance to recall young pitcher Ian Hamilton from Schaumburg. Gio Gonzalez is expected to take Lopez's spot in the rotation.
Hamilton, while on the injured list in June last season at Class AAA Charlotte, was struck in the face by a foul ball. He suffered facial fractures and missed the remainder of the 2019 season.
“It feels amazing,” Hamilton said. “I can't really describe it. It's better than getting called up the first time because I had to put in a lot of work from last year just to get back to here.”
Hamilton, 25, is the team's 14th-ranked prospect by MLB.com. In 2018 he pitched in 10 games, throwing 8.0 innings with a 4.50 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, 5 strikeouts and a 1-2 record.
He said he sees the accident as beneficial now because it gave him a sense of urgency about improving for this season. Now, with the late start to the season, he is fresh for the short stretch to come.
“Right now I feel really strong,” he said before Tuesday's doubleheader. “It's like a weird feeling. I feel really strong but I haven't played many games is all. I'm more ready for the sprint at the end of the season.”
The right-hander is ready to go whenever needed.
“I'm not sure what the plan is,” Hamilton said, “but I'm guessing just be ready to throw every single day.”