Tate with second live batting practice session, Ort getting good results with changeup (Burdick claimed)

SARASOTA, Fla. – Dillon Tate threw his second live batting practice session this afternoon in his bid to make the Opening Day roster after missing the 2023 season with elbow/forearm injuries.  

Tate faced six batters. Ramón Urías flied to deep center field, Adley Rutschman bounced a ball up the middle, Ryan O’Hearn produced a sharp grounder past the mound, Ryan Mountcastle and Daniel Johnson lifted fly balls to the outfield and Kyle Stowers struck out.

“That’s a knock,” Anthony Santander yelled from the dugout on Rutschman’s ball.

Tate remains mostly satisfied with his results. More important is his good health.

“So far so good,” Tate said. “The movement is there on all the pitches that I want. At this point, I feel like I need to do a better job just landing my other pitches for strikes. Some I feel better than others right now, but landing the other pitches for strikes.”

Tate said he’s approaching this spring training the same as the others.

“It’s just a regular camp for me at this point,” he said. “Just trying to win a job.”

This is what Tate wanted all along. A regular camp. Not to be held back by right arm soreness and put on a different schedule than the other pitchers.  

“It’s the closest sense of normalcy that I’ve had in a little while,” he said, “so that feels good.”

Stowers glanced back at Tate as he walked to the dugout after a strikeout that ended the session. Sinker, slider, changeup, changeup, at-bat over.

“He’s looking good," Stowers said. "Both of the times I’ve seen him, he’s putting pitches in good location. The ball’s coming out really good. The fastball, I think, which is probably step one for him, and then the other pitches play really well off it.”

How important is Tate to the bullpen this season?

“Well, I mean, you guys saw him two years ago,” Stowers said. “It speaks for itself. He’s a back-end guy.”

“He looks great,” Rutschman said. “I’m really excited for him. He was obviously great for us in ’22, so I’m excited to have him back.

“It’s always cool to see guys step up. We had a lot of guys step up last year. Obviously, Tate was a tremendous pitcher for us and glad to have him back.”

Kaleb Ort, acquired from the Phillies four days ago for cash considerations, continues to work on being more than a fastball-slider reliever. He used the changeup frequently today with impressive results, including a strikeout of Santander.

“I felt really good,” Ort said. “A lot of focus this offseason was really working on not being a two-pitch pitcher. I always had a changeup, just haven’t really used it as much. Today, I definitely used it a lot more and I got some good swings that I like to see on it. I feel like it just adds something to keep guys off balance a little bit more.

“I think it’s a good pitch. I just think I need to use it more. I’m going to carry that all into spring training.

Dean Kremer had two ups today with James McCann catching him. He induced grounders from Santander, Urías and O'Hearn, and Rutschman lifted a fly ball in the first inning. Santander and Urías lined balls down the right field line in their next at-bats, Rutschman walked and O'Hearn lined a single into right field.

Matt Krook, the left-hander acquired from the Yankees in another cash transaction, looked impressive in his inning. The hardest-hit ball was a full-count liner from Stowers into center field.

Rutschman will be behind the plate Saturday afternoon to catch Corbin Burnes in the exhibition opener against the Red Sox in Sarasota.

“New experience for both of us, and I’m excited for it,” Rutschman said. “It’s elite stuff and his process is extremely good. You can tell that he knows exactly what he’s doing. It makes everything easier on my part because I’m just kind of there to listen and absorb.”

Note: The White Sox claimed outfielder Peyton Burdick on waivers this afternoon.


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