White Sox trade reliever Jake Cousins to Yankees for cash considerations; Erick Fedde delivers solid debut

The White Sox traded right-handed reliever Jake Cousins to the Yankees on Sunday for cash considerations.

He had a 4.82 ERA in 9⅓ innings in nine relief appearances for the Brewers last season.

Cousins wasn’t on the Sox’ 40-man roster in December. He signed a minor-league contract with the team on Dec. 5. He appeared in seven spring games and had a 1.29 ERA.

Fedde’s debut

The only thing the Sox could have asked for from Erick Fedde is more length. The right-hander allowed two runs and had seven strikeouts and one walk in 4⅔ innings.

Fedde, who threw 96 pitches, said he was frustrated about being unable to go deeper in the game. He acknowledged that running counts full after going ahead 1-2 contributed to his early exit.

“I don’t want guys coming in here thinking it’s a five-and-dive type of game,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “That’s not what we’re looking for. On the way out, [Fedde] said I wish I could get those two pitches back, and my answer to him is, you pitched a hell of a ballgame. Let’s build from here and keep going.”

Fedde allowed two solo home runs off his sweeper. He said he wants to work on landing the pitch and working more efficiently when he’s ahead in the count. His sinker worked for him, generating four swings-and-misses.

The game was Fedde’s first back in the majors after he spent the 2023 season in the Korean Baseball Organization.

“When you’re coming off a year where you throw 180-something innings and win MVP, you’re always going to feel like you can go more,” Grifol said of Fedde. “The mindset I want from our starters is to come in here and start the game and want to close the game. That’s the mindset you’ve got to have if you’re going to be a really elite starter, and he’s got that mindset.”

Fedde was tentative in his approach, knowing the quality of major-league hitters.

“I try not to think too much about the difference and just execute my pitches, but, overall, I was maybe shying away from contact more than I should have,” Fedde said. “I just kept pulling my sweeper over the left side to the point where it wasn’t competitive today.”

Kopech in the bullpen

The Sox announced on March 14 that former starter Michael Kopech would transition to the bullpen. Kopech threw 1⅔ scoreless innings in Sunday’s series finale against the Tigers, striking out three and allowing no walks or runs.

“To simplify things for myself and go out there and be able to throw the ball with a good level of intent and not feel like I’m sacrificing command for velocity, it’s a good place for me to find my rhythm again,” Kopech said. “I’ve been out there — nobody wants to say this — trying to throw as hard as I can.”

“In the past, his downfall was not being competitive in the zone,” said catcher Korey Lee, who hit a solo homer in the third inning. “Now he’s filling up the strike zone, letting guys work and making them hit his pitches.”

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