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Charlotte Knights fall to Chicago White Sox, but final roster will look different

Fans delight in White Sox visiting Knights

The Charlotte Knights host their parent team the Chicago White Sox at BB&T BallPark in Charlotte, NC on Monday, March 26, 2018.
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The Charlotte Knights host their parent team the Chicago White Sox at BB&T BallPark in Charlotte, NC on Monday, March 26, 2018.

The Chicago White Sox look ready for the regular season.

The Charlotte Knights? We don’t really know yet, and fans probably shouldn’t read too much into Charlotte’s 9-5 loss Monday night to the big-league White Sox at BB&T Ballpark.

The players who wore Knights’ uniforms are only a part of the team that will take the field for the team’s International League opener April 5 in Durham.

And while the White Sox will leave Charlotte on Tuesday morning for Kansas City, to prepare for their season opener Thursday against the Royals, the Knights have an early-morning flight back to Chicago’s training camp outside Phoenix.

Over the next week, White Sox brass will decide which players are assigned to the AAA team in Charlotte. Highly regarded prospects such as pitcher Michael Kopech and outfielder Eloy Jimenez – neither of whom made the trip to Charlotte for Monday’s game – are likely to be with the team next week in Durham.

“I think this will be a strong club,” White Sox assistant general manager Jeremy Haber said of the Knights. “There will be some very good younger players on the rise, and there also will be some strong players with major-league experience.”

The White Sox starters played a few innings Monday night, but the top two hitters in the lineup looked ready. Leadoff batter Yoan Moncada, who spent part of last season in Charlotte and is regarded as a future star, hit a pair of singles. And Avisail Garcia, who follows Moncada in the lineup, singled in the first inning and homered in the second.

3 who mattered

Avisail Garcia (Chicago): Garcia, who slammed 18 homers and hit .330 last season for the White Sox, singled and homered in two at-bats Monday.

Adam Engel (Chicago): Batting in the No. 9 spot, Engel slammed a pair of doubles.

Casey Gillaspie (Charlotte): The Knights’ first baseman slammed a home run deep to center field in the ninth inning.

Observations

  • Thyago Vieira, one of five Knights’ pitchers in the game, is only the fourth Brazilian to appear in the majors. He made several appearances last season for Seattle and was acquired in the offseason by Chicago.
  • The White Sox used nine pitchers. Only starter Reynaldo Lopez, who went 2 2/3 innings, pitched more than an inning.
  • The game drew an announced crowd of 7,237. The weather seemed more fitting for football, with a first-pitch temperature of 57 degrees.

Worth mentioning

  • The Knights’ home opener isn’t until April 12, but BB&T Ballpark won’t be idle for long. The Charlotte 49ers and North Carolina Tar Heels will play uptown at 7 p.m. Tuesday. It’s part of the college baseball series at BB&T Ballpark, which also includes a North Carolina-South Carolina game on April 3.
  • The White Sox have made national news with the hiring of Nevest Coleman as a groundskeeper. Coleman held that job with the White Sox until he was arrested on murder and rape charges in 1994. Coleman was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, but he was acquitted last year after DNA evidence on the victim implicated another man. Coleman’s first day on the job after the 24-year gap was Monday.
  • The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Roger McDowell, who won the American League Cy Young Award as a White Sox pitcher in 1993. McDowell is now head coach of the fledgling baseball program at Queens.
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