White Sox taxi squad set to begin training in Schaumburg on Wednesday
The day might soon come when a prospect to watch, say Blake Rutherford, Zack Burdi, Micker Adolfo or Jonathan Stiever, makes it to the White Sox and looks back on the journey.
There would be the normal reflection -- the arduous climb up the minor-league ladder.
There would be the unusual reflection -- the pit stop in Schaumburg during Summer 2020.
Starting Wednesday, Rutherford, Burdi, Adolfo, Stiever and 12 other prospects report to Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg for workouts as part of the Sox's 16-player taxi squad.
COVID-19 wiped out the minor-league season, so the camp is going to be critical for needed development.
The White Sox are thrilled to have their second training site so close to Guaranteed Rate Field, where 43 players have been getting ready for the upcoming season since July 3.
"For one, I need to be complimentary of the Schaumburg Boomers," said Chris Getz, the White Sox's director of player development. "The stadium is going to be exactly what we need. It's a beautiful stadium. The field surface is great. The locker rooms will be comfortable for our players and we've put together a batting cage so it will be something that our players will be looking forward to on a daily basis as they go to work."
All 30 major-league teams have taxi squads to help ease the loss of minor-league baseball, but no games will be played.
"It's certainly a unique situation that there's not a minor-league season going on," Getz said. "Typically, you know that someone is going to get x-amount of at-bats or innings somewhere. Right now, it's pretty much major leagues and then simulating that situation at a taxi site, which we look forward to do. It's certainly uncharted, but we will create an environment we feel is preparing the players to do so. Development never stops."
When the Sox open the abbreviated 60-game season on July 24, they'll be carrying 30 players on the major-league roster. That means 13 players are going to be trimmed from the current group, and most should be relocated to Schaumburg to continue training.
If there is an injury or coronavirus issue on the White Sox roster, a replacement player would ideally be ready in Schaumburg.
"It will be training Day 1, Day 2 and before you know it we'll be adding more and more to their workload and preparing them toward potentially helping our major-league club," Getz said. "We are going to have to be very creative with what we are doing, being that there won't be any outside competition. But you know that's what our staff is there to do. We want our players to feel very confident when they are called upon to come over here (Sox), and I think there are some ways to help that and build that confidence for the guys to really perform when they are here."
Left-handed pitcher Garret Crochet, the White Sox's first-round draft pick this year out of the University of Tennessee, is reporting to Schaumburg.
Catcher Seby Zavala and relief pitcher Ryan Burr, who have both played for the Sox, are also going to be training at Boomers Stadium.