Geovany Soto joined the Angels last offseason and found his way into a timeshare behind the plate. The veteran managed to perform better than expected, but staying on the field proved a challenge. Recurring knee issues ultimately ended his season in mid-August. At 34 years old, Soto's window as a major leaguer is closing although his hitting numbers show he still has something in the tank, especially against left-handed pitching (.952 OPS). Soto signed a minor league contract with the White Sox in January but it's reasonable to think he could land not only a roster spot but the starting job as well, given the team's lack of viable alternatives. Everything will depend on health.
Soto went 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored in Sunday's game against San Francisco. Soto will share the White Sox's catching duties with Omar Narvaez, most likely as the number two backstop. Looking at the catching patterns during spring training, we can probably Soto being a personal catcher to a couple of starters. This spring, he caught most of James Sheilds' and Derek Holland's Grapefruit League starts.
Soto is in the lineup Sunday against the Giants, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports. This will be third time the veteran backstop will be catching James Shields. Soto, a non-roster invitee, has only 19 at-bats this spring, but is still expected to the open the season on the 25-man roster. He'll share the catching duties with Omar Narvaez. With the White Sox expected to introduce several young starters later this season, having the 34-year-old veteran backstop around will be a helpful knowledge base. Lucas Giolito, Carson Fulmer and Reynaldo Lopez, three of the organization's top pitching prospects, are expected to transition from Triple-A Charlotte to Chicago in 2017.
Soto (knee) caught a bullpen session Monday, Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports. The veteran backstop sat out a good chunk of last season after undergoing knee surgery, then experienced inflammation in the same knee later in the season. It seems like all those issues are behind him, however, so he will likely be able to get back to competing for a job with the major league club during spring training without any issues. Given the relative inexperience the other competitors have, Soto stands a good chance to break camp with the White Sox.
Soto (knee) agreed to a minor league contract with the White Sox on Thursday, Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com reports. The soon-to-be 34-year-old underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus right meniscus last May, and while he was able to return, Soto battled inflammation in the knee down the stretch. If he's healthy for spring training, Soto should make a strong push for a roster spot (and perhaps the primary role), competing with the likes of Omar Narvaez, Kevan Smith and Alfredo Gonzalez. Soto has shown he still has some thump in his bat, smacking 13 homers in 265 at-bats over the past two seasons.
Soto (knee) went through a full defensive workout and also ran the bases and took swings Monday, MLB.com reports. Although Soto is without a set timetable for a return, the Angels remain hopeful he will be able to play again this season. Soto's knee seems to be holding up well as he ramps up his activity, as there were no reported issues in the days that followed Monday's extensive workout (which included catching a full bullpen session and blocking drills). Manager Mike Scioscia said Soto is "really looking good in batting practice."