(Fort Mill, SC) - With a couple of weeks still left in spring training, the Charlotte Knights roster is beginning to take shape. On Friday, March 15, the Knights received a few familiar faces.
After a 15-3 victory over their crosstown rivals (Chicago Cubs), the Chicago White Sox announced that they optioned right-handed pitchers Andre Rienzo and Jhan Carlos Marinez to Charlotte, along with catcher Josh Phegley and outfielder Jared Mitchell. All four players spent time with the Knights in 2012.
Rienzo, 24, is ranked by Baseball America as the seventh-best prospect in the White Sox organization. A native of San Paolo, Brazil, Rienzo began the season with Single-A Winston-Salem and compiled a 3-0 mark with a 1.08 ERA in four starts.
On June 14, the right-hander was promoted to Double-A Birmingham, where he spent the majority of the 2012 season. In 13 games for the Barons, he posted a 4-3 mark with a 3.27 ERA.
Rienzo was promoted to the Knights on August 30 and made one start for the team. He allowed one unearned run over 6.2 innings pitched, but did not factor in the decision. He struck-out 10 batters in his Triple-A debut.
Marinez, 24, appeared in 40 games with the Knights a season ago and was extremely effective. The Dominican native went 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA and two saves for Charlotte. He earned a promotion to the White Sox last season and appeared in two games for the South Siders. He allowed no runs and three hits over 2.2 innings.
Ranked as the 13th prospect in the White Sox system by Baseball America, Marinez was originally acquired by Chicago from Florida as compensation for manager Ozzie Guillen. He entered the 2012 season ranked as the seventh-best prospect in Chicago's organization.
The 2012 season was a special one for Phegley, who earned a Rawlings MiLB Gold Glove Award. The Indiana native also named to the International League midseason All-Star Team.
Phegley, 25, set career-highs in hits (105) and doubles (22) a season ago. He finished the season with a .266 batting average, six home runs, and 48 RBIs. This offseason, Phegley was nominated as one of the top catchers in Knights Stadium history. He is the number 18 prospect in the White Sox organization.
A former two-sport athlete during his time at LSU, Mitchell, 24, is coming off of an impressive 2012 campaign. Mitchell spent the majority of the season with Double-A Birmingham and ranked among the organizational leaders in triples (1st), walks (3rd), extra-base hits (T 6th), stolen bases (T 7th), RBIs (9th), and total bases (10th).
Mitchell enters the 2013 season ranked by Baseball America as the 9th-best prospect in Chicago's system. The Louisiana native was originally selected by the White Sox in the first round of the 2009 draft (23rd overall).
Earlier this month, the Chicago White Sox optioned Charlie Leesman to Charlotte. Leesman, who was an International League midseason All-Star last season with the Knights, was sent down on March 5. He finished second in the IL with a career-best 2.47 ERA in 2012.