The delayed start of the baseball season could help players recovering from injury and could specifically help one arm for the Chicago White Sox.
Due to the epidemic of COVID-19, MLB will be canceling the remainder of spring training and at least the first two weeks of the regular season as detailed by Bob Nightengale and Jesse Yomtov of USA Today. Unfortunately, that means there will be a delayed start for the Chicago White Sox.
While this stinks for sports fans and the hope is this virus goes away sooner rather than later, the extra time to prepare for the regular season could be beneficial for some players recovering from injuries.
As I wrote about on Thursday, Edwin Encarnacion was somewhat iffy to be ready on Opening Day with limited time remaining as he recovered from a sore right hip. Now, there’s a good chance he’ll be healthy given I estimated he’d miss the first week of the season at a maximum.
However, the player it really benefits is Gio Gonzalez, who has not made a single start this spring training since returning to the organization this offseason on a one-year, $5 million contract with a club option for next season.
A left shoulder injury sustained very early in camp is what has sidelined him. However, he was supposed to return on Wednesday for his first spring outing, but that game got rained out (CBS Sports).
With spring training now officially over, Gonzalez will not get to make a spring training game appearance, but the extra weeks to prepare could make a major difference.
The lack of actual game action could theoretically hurt him, but it would not be difficult to give him game-like action by way of scrimmages and simulated games.
On top of it, Gonzalez likely won’t deal with many issues adjusting back to game action given the fact he’s been in the league for parts of 12 seasons.
The removal of spring training almost ensures that, when baseball resumes, Kopech will be starting his season in the minor leagues to get his innings back up.
As it is, Kopech’s only hope of making the team was if Gonzalez wasn’t ready for Opening Day, which he almost certainly will be now, whenever that is.
Nothing about what has transpired over the last week is good for anyone and that includes the Chicago White Sox. Nonetheless, Gio Gonzalez will have some more time to prepare for his season in the South Side.