SAN FRANCISCO — Shortstop Colson Montgomery, the White Sox’ first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2021 draft, has reached base safely in 40 straight games, including all nine since being promoted from Low-A Kannapolis to Advanced-A Winston-Salem on June 24.
The 6-4 Montgomery, 20, extended the remarkable streak with a double in his first at-bat for the Dash Sunday. He was hitting .330/.430/.498 with six homers, 13 doubles, 31 RBI, 38 runs scored and 31 walks in 52 games going into the game.
“He looks like a guy who’s been at this for a while,” Sox assistant general manager and director of player development Chris Getz said. “The things that stands out is the consistency.
“On both sides of the ball he’s very under control. Selective at the plate. And hitting the ball with authority. More than anything it’s how under control he operates when he’s at the dish.”
When Montgomery was out two weeks with a bruised thumb, he declined an opportunity to shake off rust and go to Arizona for live at-bats before returning to Kannapolis.
“He was adamant about not going and not caring if he went 0-for-30,” Getz said.
“Lo and behond he gets back in the lineup and he’s more productive than before.”
Engel about ready
Adam Engel ran full tilt on the bases, perhaps the last box he needed to check before being activated from the injured list with a strained right hamstring.
“I’m really, really close,” Engel said. “Feels a lot better, lot stronger, getting really confident in it.”
Yasmani Grandal also ran, but not as much or as hard as Engel. Grandal running “is a good sign,” La Russa said, “but I don’t think we’re close yet [to a minor league rehab assignment].”
Everybody loves Johnny
As timing would have it, right-hander Johnny Cueto’s turn falls Monday when the Sox open a big series against the Twins, preventing him from pitching in San Francisco, where he pitched the last six seasons.
“It would have been fun,” said Cueto signed a six-year, $130 million contract before the 2016 season.
“Fans and teammates treated me well there.”
As they did Friday when the Sox opened the series. Cueto received a warm welcome on the stadium big screen, and acknowledged the crowd with waves.
Cueto won 18 games, pitched five complete games, posted a 2.76 ERA and made his second All-Star appearance in 2016. He had arm trouble the next two years, including Tommy John Surgery in 2018. His 2021 season – 21 starts and a 4.08 ERA while dealing with lat, flexor and elbow strains — was his best since 2017. The Giants showed no interest in brining him back, and interest in the free agent market was limited last winter before he signed a minor league deal with the Sox.
At age 36, Cueto has been a find with a 3.33 ERA in eight starts and one five-inning relief appearance. He ranks sixth on the Sox in Baseball Reference wins above replacement.
“There were a few teams that were interested in me, but they weren’t offering a good deal,” Cueto said. “And they were offering me just a spot for the bullpen.
“I’ve been a starter for my whole career. I have my routine as a starter. I know what I have to do to prepare for the games. Once you know you aren’t able to make it as a starter, then you go to the bullpen. That’s not my case.”
This and that
The Sox have hit three home runs in the last 11 games.