Keuchel may be better prepared for the pandemic-induced layoff than other starters, Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald reports. Keuchel, like every MLB starter, is coping with the layoff, but he was in the same position in 2019. A free agent at this time last year, Keuchel did not sign with the Braves until after June's amateur draft. The left-hander kept his arm in shape at home in Newport Beach (Calif.). "I was throwing every fifth day just like in spring training," he said. "Physically, I was so in shape that I was ready to go but until you get that major-league adrenaline and atmosphere out there, it's tough to duplicate." Keuchel, who is lining up to be the second starter behind Lucas Giolito, offers balance in the rotation as a lefty who doesn't overpower opponents with a high-velocity fastball.
Keuchel allowed four runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out three over 3.2 innings in Saturday's spring game against the Giants. While he was pulled in the middle of the fourth inning, Keuchel told Scott Merkin of MLB.com that he could have pitched another couple of innings. Despite the runs, the veteran left-hander is pleased to get his work in. He'll next throw in an in-camp format Thursday, when the White Sox have a scheduled off day.
Keuchel allowed one run on six hits while striking out one over four innings in a spring game against the Padres on Monday. Keuchel looked in midseason form during his spring debut, inducing nine groundball outs with a lot of soft contact. The left-hander worked his pitch count to 50 (34 strikes) and was pleased with where he's at. ''I've been saying all spring that I felt ahead of schedule physically and mentally where I'm at,'' Keuchel, who missed spring training as a free agent a year ago, told Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. ''That's just a huge sign for me.'' The groundball pitcher also suggested the White Sox might deploy defensive alignments behind him, which could allow fewer balls to get through the infield.
Keuchel threw a simulated game Wednesday, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The White Sox are sticking to their plan of not having their starters face AL Central foes, so rather than use Keuchel against the Royals, they had him throw a sim game in the backfields. The left-hander got up and down three times and was upbeat about being able to throw his curveball consistently. That's how he knows he's ahead of schedule relative to previous seasons.
Keuchel agreed to a contract with the White Sox on Saturday, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports. It's a heavy contrast to last season, when Keuchel didn't reach a deal until signing with the Braves in June. The veteran left-hander posted a 3.75 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 91:39 K:BB over 112.2 innings across 19 starts with Atlanta, which are similar to his numbers from the 2018 season. According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, it's a three-year deal worth $55.5 million that includes a vesting option for a fourth year worth an additional $18.5 million.
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