General manager Rick Hahn didn’t rule out the White Sox using a six-man rotation or another unique rotation approach to start the 2022 season.
“It's a little premature, but it is something in general we've talked about,” Hahn said Friday.
One byproduct of the MLB lockout is an abbreviated spring training and quick ramp-up to the regular season. The lockout ended Thursday, and Opening Day is less than a month away. The Sox opener is April 8 at Detroit.
Pitchers across baseball had limited pitch counts to start the 2020 season following a three-week “summer camp” to prepare for the 60-game sprint.
Spring training will again be about three weeks this year. But unlike 2022, teams had close to a month of normal spring training in 2020, when pitchers were stretching out and building up their pitch counts.
Given the shorter spring training this year, Hahn said pitching concerns are “a little heavier” on the team’s mind than the position player side of things. April could include more conservative pitch counts.
“Really, over the course of the next 10 days and two weeks, there is going to be a fair amount of effort and communication involved in making sure guys don't try to do too much too soon,” Hahn said, “try to make up for any lost time or force the issue in terms of their preparation and getting them lengthened out.
“It's going to be a challenge for all 30 teams.”
One potential option to mitigate the concern is a six-man rotation, which Hahn said the Sox have had international conversations about.
Manager Tony La Russa, pitching coach Ethan Katz and bullpen coach Curt Hasler have discussed other unique ideas, according to Hahn.
First, the Sox need to get their players into camp to assess where they are in their preparation. Lance Lynn, for what it's worth, threw a live batting practice session Friday, the first day camps were open.
Sunday is the mandatory report date for all players.
Said Hahn: "As we understand exactly, say, where Lance Lynn or Michael Kopech or whomever is at in terms of their personal pacing towards the season and building towards the season, that’s sort of when — once we're face to face — you can start talking about how viable some non-five-man rotation ideas may be.”