White Sox pitching prospect Norge Vera is getting attention

Jose Contreras enjoys his transition from major league pitcher to youth coach, and he is pleased with the transition and success of fellow Cuban Norge Vera in the White Sox organization.

“When he came here at 20, it was difficult to adjust to the United States,” Contreras said Sunday during a visit to Guaranteed Rate Field. “But adjusting to the United States is a lot like adjusting to being a professional baseball player. You must do it simultaneously. I think he’ll get better as he goes on and hope I can spend time with him.”

Contreras, 50, who helped pitch the Sox to the 2005 World Series title, took a special interest in Vera shortly after the Sox signed him to a $1.5 million bonus in February 2021.

Contreras watched the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Vera pitch last season in the Dominican Summer League, where he struck out 34 and allowed only nine hits in 19 innings.

Vera, 22, was part of “Project Birmingham” as a wave of prospects who were promoted last week to the Sox’s Double-A affiliate to finish the rest of the 2022 season.

Vera walked three and struck out four in 22/3 innings in his Birmingham debut Saturday against Mississippi. Vera’s pitch counts have been limited, but he’s struck out 44 while allowing 15 hits in 30 innings at Class-A Kannapolis, Winston-Salem and Birmingham.

“At first, it was hard for him, getting on the field and experiencing something new,” said Contreras, who also watches videos of Vera. “He’s doing a lot better the more he trains.”

Contreras currently works as a pitching consultant to kids in the Atlanta area, and he will participate in a clinic with members of the Sox’s Amateur City Elite (ACE) program Tuesday.

“I love it,” Contreras said of working with youths. “You can learn a lot more from kids playing baseball than professional baseball players because they teach you a lot. They have great attitudes and are ready to play.”

Success for Sheets

After batting .203 on June 24, left-handed hitter Gavin Sheets has raised his batting average to .255 — thanks to an 11-game surge in which he’s batting .484 with a .710 slugging percentage and nine RBIs.

“That’s the thing about a season, it’s a long season,” Sheets said. “I had a terrible April and May, but that doesn’t describe me as a hitter. There’s a reason you play 162 games.

“Obviously having a good month is going a long way. I feel good at the plate right now. Going to try to keep that going, but it’s one of those things where one or two bad months doesn’t describe you as a hitter.”

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.