White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease singles against the Cincinnati Reds, Tuesday, May 4, 2021 in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster) | AP Photos
It was the White Sox’ first game after losing prized center fielder Luis Robert to a severe hip injury, and Dylan Cease gave them what they needed: A fun night out at Great American Ball Park.
CINCINNATI — It was the White Sox’ first game after losing prized center fielder Luis Robert to a severe hip injury, and Dylan Cease gave them what they needed.
A fun night out at Great American Ballpark.
Following a seven-inning shutout against the Tigers in his previous start, Cease tied his career-high with 11 strikeouts over six innings of one-hit ball in a 9-0 victory against the Reds.
As good as those numbers were, Cease’s performance at the plate was every bit as remarkable, if not more. Batting for the first time in a major league game, Cease had an infield hit on a high chopper to third, a double to the bottom of the right field wall and a single to right, going 3-for-3 with a run scored before Yermin Mercedes pinch hit for him in the seventh inning.
Cease (2-0, 2.37 ERA) became the first Sox pitcher since Tom Bradley in 1972 to get three hits. He’s the third major league pitcher since 1974 to start his career 3-for-3.
Before this game, reigning MVP Jose Abreu acknowledged the loss of Robert as “a very, very difficult moment for us as a team” and emphasized staying bonded as a unit.
“There aren’t many words to describe the feeling that we have now, the feeling that we had when we heard the news,” Abreu said through translator Billy Russo. “It’s a tough loss. It’s a difficult situation for the team but we have the pieces here to shore up that void that Robert created with his injury.”
A couple hours later, Abreu homered against right-hander Jeff Hoffman leading off the second for the first run, and Tim Anderson singled in two more after Cease high-chopped his first hit to third baseman Mike Moustakas.
Anderson singled in another run after Cease’s double, and Yoan Moncada singled in a run before Abreu drove in another with a sacrifice fly in a three-run fourth. Abreu was 2-for-4 with three RBI.
The Sox (16-12) won for the eighth time in 11 games. They’re 1-0 without Robert.
“It’s just like life, you’re going to face all challenges and life is going to throw you a curve,” Abreu said. “You have to put your head up and try to keep moving forward, try to do your best. We need to do that as a team and as a unit.”
Jose Ruiz pitched two innings and Alex McRae pitched the ninth to complete the Sox’ shutout.
Goodwin signed to minor league deal
On the day Luis Robert officially landed on the injured list, veteran outfielder Brian Goodwin was signed to a minor-league deal, a source confirmed.
The left-handed hitting Goodwin, 30, can play center field and is a career .250/.317/.455 hitter with 42 home runs and 22 stolen bases. Goodwin signed a minor league deal with the Pirates in February and was released by the team 10 days ago. He hit .258/.327/.469 over 166 games with the Angels from 2019-20, with 17 homers and 47 RBI in 136 games in 2019.
The deal hasn’t been announced.
Infielder Danny Mendick was recalled from Class AAA Charlotte, taking Robert’s spot on the roster. Robert is out for three to four months with a torn right hip flexor.
Eloy ‘feeling better’
Abreu has been talking to Eloy Jimenez (torn pectoral muscle) and said the left fielder is “feeling much better.”
“He’s in a good mood, a positive vibe and he has big faith that he’s going to come back this season,” Abreu said. “And he has to do that because I’m betting on him.”