Honestly, Reynaldo López brings a gregariousness to the mound that makes any season's focus a challenge. In 2020, with little (or no) crowd noise. Ohboy.
"I was thinking about that yesterday when I was pitching," the White Sox righthander says. "I was the mound and realized you can hear everything. And during the season, teams will take advantage of the pitcher, chirping. You have to be strong mentally, because if not, it will be a distraction, and they can use that as an advantage."
But those around the White Sox, most importantly bench coach Joe McEwing, has taken notice of the focus López has brought to the mound this season. It's an active practice for him.
"I always say there’s a lot of mental part of this game," López says. "A home run's a home run, just a pitch, it’s done. I put my focus on the next batter."
Like many White Sox pitchers Zooming with the media, most recently Carlos Rodón, López feels like he's close to ready for the season. He was pretty much "ready" in the spring, when things were shut down due to the pandemic; and now, he's just fine-tuning himself from here.
Another challenge López has admitted will be tough this season is another product of his gregariousness, and that's social distancing in games.
"Most of us, unconsciously, sometimes you get closer to guys and realize, 'Oh I’m too close,' or you high-five and then say, 'Oh, I shouldn’t do that,'" López smiles. "I’ll adjust to all this craziness."
For the full López session — just Reynaldo, not Zoe — watch below, courtesy of the White Sox: