RHP Michael Soroka eyes new opportunity


GLENDALE, Ariz. — Michael Soroka threw close to 40 pitches during a bullpen session Friday at Camelback Ranch.

“Soroka was excellent,” Chicago White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said afterward.

Last season, Soroka made his return after an extended time away from a big-league mound with the Atlanta Braves. The right-hander is eager to build off that comeback after being traded to the Sox.

“Obviously the last couple years have been difficult getting back into it,” Soroka said Thursday morning. “Having some success so early on, you want to do it year in and year out. What happened took three years out of my career, but I’m trying to get that on the back end now.

“Just looking to stay the course that I’m on. Basically, it got to the point where last season I felt that things were really starting to click. Kind of continue that momentum into this year and go throw up a bunch of zeros.”

Soroka was 17-8 with a 3.32 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 44 games (43 starts) during parts of four seasons with the Braves. He earned All-Star honors, finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting and sixth for the NL Cy Young Award in 2019.

Soroka made three starts in 2020 before suffering a torn right Achilles tendon on Aug. 3, 2020. He retore it in June 2021.

“It definitely puts into perspective that this isn’t forever,” Soroka said of the injuries. “When you get drafted at 17 and your first few years in the minor leagues kind of roll by, you feel like you’re going to be in this game forever, and that’s just not the case.

“It definitely puts that in perspective a little bit. And you start talking to some cases around the league that have also dealt with some pretty big issues, and you find it’s actually a lot more common than you’ve been led to think. It’s just that guys have dealt with it out of the spotlight. Obviously mine happened well within it. And that’s one thing I’m grateful for is youth. I’m still only 26. Hopefully I do have lots of years left ahead of me, and I’m going to try to earn that.”

Braves pitcher Mike Soroka delivers against the Marlins on Aug. 10, 2019, Miami.
Braves pitcher Mike Soroka delivers against the Marlins on Aug. 10, 2019, Miami.

Soroka made his return to a major-league mound on May 29 of last season at Oakland. He finished 2-2 with a 6.40 ERA and 29 strikeouts in seven games (six starts) with the Braves and went 4-4 with a 3.41 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 17 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett.

Sox general manager Chris Getz said Soroka was a key part of the six-player deal that sent Aaron Bummer to the Braves in November.

“You’re obviously always looking for starting-pitching innings,” Getz said Thursday. “And to have someone who’s had a lot of success at the major-league level — obviously he’s had some recent injuries and got back to the big leagues last year on a very competitive team, and at times, he was on the outside looking in because of how deep they were — and to be able to capture him, potentially, on an upswing back to being a productive major league player, it seemed like the right move to have him part of that deal.

“Feel fortunate to have him.”

Soroka is thrilled to have the opportunity.

“When (the trade) first happened, obviously there were lots of emotions leaving a team that drafted you,” he said. “I’d been with them for eight or nine seasons. But moving to an organization that really wanted me out there was really important to me. Immediately, I talked to the pitching (coaches) and (found out) what they had for me, and they’re excited to get me out there. And I’m even more excited to be out there.

“There’s a lot of guys (at camp) who feel they have more to give. I think there’s some guys who have had some down years and know they have more in them, including myself. Competing with those guys is always fun, that’s what brings out the best in you.”

Reliever Bryan Shaw returns on minor-league deal

White Sox reliever Bryan Shaw delivers against the Yankees on Aug. 7, 2023, at Guaranteed Rate Field.
White Sox reliever Bryan Shaw delivers against the Yankees on Aug. 7, 2023, at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Shaw was dependable for the Sox in 2023, making 38 appearances — including 18 in the final month of the season. The Sox signed the veteran reliever to a minor-league deal Saturday. He’s in camp as a nonroster invitee.

Shaw, 36, had a 4.14 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings last season. He has 791 career appearances (two starts) during his 13 season in the majors.

“Any time you can bring a guy that just wants to pitch every day and actually performs and is a really good clubhouse guy and understands what it takes to win, is great,” Grifol said Saturday.

The Sox have 70 players in camp, including 30 nonroster invitees.


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