CLEVELAND — Lucas Giolito passed his simulated game test in Arizona Tuesday and will return to the rotation Sunday when the White Sox play the Twins.
Giolito, on the injured list with a low abdominal strain on his left side, returned to the team Tuesday night and declared himself fit to start in Minnesota where the Sox close out a six-game road trip against AL Central teams.
“It went pretty well, I felt healthy,” Giolito said Wednesday before the Sox played the Guardians in a straight doubleheader at Progressive Field. “That was the goal … and to be ready to rejoin the rotation and hoping to make a good impact going forward.”
Giolito said he threw about 50 pitches, getting up three times.
“We get the big guy back,” manager Tony La Russa said Wednesday. “We’ve been surviving, keep maintaining that mode because we still have some guys out but he’s a big guy to get back.”
Sustaining an unusual injury for a pitcher, Giolito exited his Opening Day start against the Tigers April 8 after pitching four scoreless innings after feeling discomfort. But he’s back to “feeling very strong” now, he said.
Giolito will have missed two starts. It helped that he was able to throw shortly after Opening Day.
“It was weird. It sucked,” Giolito said. “But going to push forward now and get back to what I like doing a lot.”
Giolito should go beyond three innings and 50 pitches Sunday. How much more is to be determined.
“We’ll see how much the Twins cooperate,” La Russa said.
“People who watched him said he was throwing the ball well. Figure out a way to be sharp with one appearance but health is the important part and he’s excited. So right now depending on how he feels today and when he throws his bullpen, pencil him in for Sunday.”
Eloy out with sore ankle
Eloy Jimenez is still sore after fouling a pitch off his left ankle against the Mariners Wednesday. After playing all three games of last weekend’s series against the Rays and having Monday and Tuesday off because of postponed games in Cleveland, he was out of the lineup in Game 1 Wednesday and seemed unlikely to play in Game 2.
“He twisted it somehow, too, making some kind of move after he got hit or something,” La Russa said. “It’s more than just the bruise because soreness is soreness. There’s some swelling there. But that’s how it started.”
Toward the end of the weekend, Jimenez “didn’t have a good foundation with that one leg” at the plate, La Russa said.He did some running and took some swings indoors Wednesday.
“I don’t know that I’d pinch hit him unless it was bases loaded and two outs and it wouldn’t hurt him to have to jog but he’s feeling better,” La Russa said. “Just have to be careful.”
Cueto at Charlotte
Johnny Cueto finished his work in Arizona and is in Charlotte, where he’ll pitch soon for the Triple-A Knights in his final step toward joining the Sox.
Signed to a one-year, $4.2 million minor league contract on April 4, reports onthe 36-year-old Cueto have been favorable.
“Heard the ball is coming out of his hand good,” La Russa said. “He’s a pitch maker, he has that touch. They’ve been very complimentary about how he has been locating and his array of pitches.”
Cueto, 36, could provide a needed boost of rotation depth, depending on how much the three-time top-six finisher in Cy Young voting has left. He’ll probably need at least two starts at Charlotte.
“You can only speed it up so much,” La Russa said. “We’re looking forward to having him up here.”
Moncada ‘better’ but no timetable for return
Yoan Moncada (oblique) has begun taking swings but under control and not full bore and still has no timetable for a return, La Russa said.
“I just saw on the report, he’s feeling better, but he’ll make a move and might even sneeze and he’ll feel something,” La Russa said. “You do something violent, take a swing and then you’ve got … you’ve got to let that thing play out.”