Chicago Sun-Times

Bummer sets sights on opener


GLENDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Aaron Bummer, a key piece of the White Sox’ bullpen, remains hopeful about breaking camp with the team before Opening Day, but he’s behind the rest in these first weeks of spring training.

The same shoulder and lat area that limited Bummer to 32 appearance­s last season felt cranky when he arrived at spring training, and he hasn’t pitched off a mound yet.

“We’re just throwing now,” Bummer said. “I don’t have an exact schedule with me, or know the exact dates of everything. But I’m happy with the progress I’ve made. Since I’ve got here, things feel a lot better than they did. That’s all I can kind of ask for right now.”

Despite taking a step back, Bummer said his goal is to be ready for Opening Day on March 30 in Houston.

“We feel good now and we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” he said. “Don’t foresee issues coming up.”

Bummer suspects the inflammati­on stems from “residual stuff from last year.”

“I wouldn’t say that I reinjured or did anything,” he said.

After taking time off in the offseason, Bummer lost the range of motion that he had built up.

“Cranking through that range of motion kind of caused some inflammati­on in there,” he said. “We got the range of motion back, and we got the inflammati­on out and everything should be smooth sailing.”

Bummer posted a 2.36 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 26„ innings last season, his sixth. He owns a 3.03 career ERA. The Sox will be without closer Liam Hendriks as he continues to receive treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and plan to mix-and-match with a handful of high-leverage relievers, Bummer included.

“I think he’s on pace,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “I haven’t heard anything different. He’s feeling good, I haven’t spoken to him the last couple days about it, the last time I spoke to our trainers, he’s on pace.”

In the right (field) place

Eloy Jimenez was originally penciled in to start in right field with Oscar Colas as the designated hitter against the Guardians but the two were switched. Jimenez, who was a left fielder before Andrew Benintendi was signed in the offseason, got more needed work in right field during live batting practice Wednesday morning.

Hoping to prove he’s more than an everyday designated hitter, Jimenez played two games in right, including Tuesday, with little action. Ultimately, a combinatio­n of Colas in right field and Jimenez at DH may prove to be what’s best.

But Jimenez will get a chance to work on his defense this spring.

“We just want him moving around, we want him working out there,” Grifol said. “He can play the outfield and not get much work.”

Colas, aiming to be the starter in right field, continued to look good at the plate with his third opposite-field single, this one after fouling off three pitches.

 ?? STACY REVERE/GETTY IMAGES ?? Reliever Aaron Bummer had range-of-motion issues when he arrived at spring training.
STACY REVERE/GETTY IMAGES Reliever Aaron Bummer had range-of-motion issues when he arrived at spring training.

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