White Sox starter Lucas Giolito pitched four scoreless innings in a B game Thursday. (John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times)
GLENDALE, Ariz. — There are no pitch clocks in B games on the back fields, but Lucas Giolito kept things moving.
And he kept his progression toward the regular season moving well, too.
After his scheduled start Wednesday against the Giants was rained out, Giolito was slotted into a B game against a Dodgers team on the Camelback Ranch back fields Thursday. He worked four scoreless innings, striking out six.
“I wasn’t counting in my head, but I thought, ‘Don’t be walking around the mound, don’t be doing that stuff that we used to be able to do,’ ’’ said Giolito, who partly has attributed his good spring to working faster because of the clock. “I was just trying to keep a good pace with it.”
Giolito didn’t walk a batter and allowed three hits on 63 pitches. Primarily a fastball/changeup pitcher, he liked how his slider worked, especially down and in to lefties. He also made an adjustment partway through the outing, elevating his fastball more, where it’s most effective.
Giolito will make two more starts in Arizona before taking the ball in the season-opening series in Houston, more than likely the third game after Dylan Cease and Lance Lynn.
Colas plays in center
Oscar Colas played center field for the first time this spring and made a nice catch.
“We have to be prepared if we make decisions based on if we might need him to play center field on occasion, we all have to be comfortable with it,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “This is all based on, let’s see what he does out there.”
Colas profiles more as a corner outfielder, but he played 70 games in center and 34 in right in the minors last season. He charged in and laid out to snare Myles Straw’s sinking liner, landing hard, but he got right back up.
Colas went 0-for-4, lowering his average to .324.
Guardians game no big deal
The Guardians ran roughshod over the Sox last season and are the team to beat in the American League Central as the defending champions. But Grifol downplayed the matchup Thursday, especially with nothing on the line.
“I don’t look at Cleveland as our whatever you want to call it,” Grifol said before the game. “I don’t think about Cleveland, I really don’t. They won the division last year. Obviously, we have to beat them and everybody else for us to win the division.
“We have to do what we have to do, and if we’re good or do what we’re supposed to, we don’t have to think about Cleveland or Minnesota or anybody else for that matter.”
The Sox went 7-12 against the Guardians and finished 11 games behind them last season.
Crochet not ready but looks it
Left-hander Garrett Crochet, who’s on track to return to the team in May, is progressing nicely after having Tommy John surgery 12 months ago.
“If you see a bullpen, you’d never know that he’s not going to be ready,” Grifol said. “I asked him the other day ‘You sure you’re not ready?’ He put a smile on his face. But, no, he’s on pace. He looks great. He’s strong. He’s in the zone. The ball’s coming out of his hand well. He’s spinning it well.”
Guardians 5, Sox 1
• Right-hander Nick Avila, whose status as a Rule 5 draft pick enhances his chances of making the White Sox’ Opening Day roster, gave up a first-inning grand slam to Josh Naylor after a walk and a hit batsman (Jose Ramirez). Avila struck out two, walked two and allowed two hits.
• While the Sox steered Lucas Giolito to the back fields, the Guardians started Triston McKenzie, who strung together three scoreless innings after allowing a leadoff double to Elvis Andrus and an RBI single to Andrew Benintendi.
• Righty Jesse Scholtens (3.86 ERA), who might be counted on for starting-pitching depth, tossed three scoreless innings with five strikeouts.
• On deck: Cubs at Sox, 3:05 p.m. Friday, Glendale, NBCSCH, 1000-AM, Mike Clevinger vs. Alex Wood.