Advertisement

Atlanta Braves pitchers Aaron Bummer and Reynaldo López reflect on their time with Chicago White Sox

Vincent Alban/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Aaron Bummer was in bed late on Nov. 16 when he received a phone call from Chicago White Sox general manager Chris Getz, telling him he had been traded to the Atlanta Braves.

The left-handed pitcher got a call from Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos shortly thereafter.

“There’s a lot of emotions, just an emotional day,” Bummer said Monday morning in the visitor’s clubhouse at Guaranteed Rate Field. “We talked a lot about leaving the city of Chicago — we called our second home — to the excitement of being an Atlanta Brave and the excitement of chapter two in this journey.

“It’s nothing but excitement and gratitude and all of the above.”

The reliever returned to Guaranteed Rate Field for the first time as a visitor this week. The White Sox earned their first victory of the season over the Braves on Tuesday, 3-2.

“It’s cool to be back here,” Bummer said. “It’s perfect to be back here in the weather. What else do you want out of Chicago other than rain, some wind and potentially some snow?

“I’m excited to be back here. I’m excited to see a couple of guys over there. It’s an entirely new team. It’s a bunch of new faces over there. I’m excited to be back and to be able to continue this journey.”

Bummer went to the Braves in exchange for five players — including three currently on the Sox major-league roster in starter Michael Soroka and infielders Nicky Lopez and Braden Shewmake.

“Bummer was a weapon for us out of the bullpen,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “He had some really good years here, and he has good stuff. He’s going to give them what they need to be able to do what they want to do. On the flip side to that, our second starter (Soroka) came in that trade, Shewmake came in that trade. We got some guys that we feel are impacting this club, as well.

“That was, in my opinion, a good, old-fashioned baseball trade. They got what they needed, we got what we needed at the times we needed it. We’ll see how it plays out.”

The Sox selected Bummer in the 19th round in the 2014 draft out of Nebraska. He spent his first seven seasons in the big leagues with the Sox (2017-2023), and at times was one of the most effective pitchers in their bullpen. He had a 3.84 ERA in 289 relief outings.

“They let me be a kid,” Bummer said. “They let me go out there and fail. They let me fall flat on my face and become the pitcher I was capable of. They gave me the opportunities to go out there and be the best version of myself I could be. The amount of things I learned about myself as a pitcher, the way I was able to grow just as an individual, the amount of good people that are over there.

“The people I’ve met, the teammates I’ve had, the clubhouse staff. The training staff. All these guys are guys I stay in contact with, when you spend seven years somewhere they are going to have a pretty big impact on your life. I’m forever grateful for the opportunities and the chances they gave me to help the organization.”

Photos: Chicago White Sox 3, Atlanta Braves 2

Bummer was looking forward to watching a few of his former teammates on the mound.

“I’m excited to see (Garrett) Crochet and (Michael) Kopech pitch, I always liked watching Tanner Banks and (Bryan) Shaw pitch,” Bummer said. “It’s the brothers you make over there that I’m excited to go out there and watch them pitch, watch them face a lineup that’s about as good as it gets.”

Crochet started Tuesday’s game, going against former Sox pitcher Reynaldo López.

The Sox acquired López as part of a trade with the Washington Nationals following the 2016 season. The Sox dealt the right-hander to the Los Angeles Angels during last season.

“Six years here,” López said through an interpreter Monday. “I recall a lot of fond memories and nice moments that occurred during my time here.”

López went 33-44 with a 4.38 ERA and four saves in 205 appearances (91 starts) for the Sox from 2017-23. He spent most of the last three seasons as a reliever but earned a spot as a starter with the Braves after signing a three-year deal in the offseason.

“It’s nice to come back as a starter and it feels nice that the team showed confidence in me to be a starter and hopefully I proved that I can handle it in spring training and it’s nice to feel right now that I don’t have to prove anything,” López said. “They have the confidence in me and all that’s left for me is to go out and do my job.”

Related Articles

Max Stassi begins a rehab assignment with Charlotte

The Sox sent catcher Max Stassi, who is on the injured list with left hip inflammation, to Triple-A Charlotte on a rehab assignment.

“Even though (Martín) Maldonado is doing more than half of the catching, whoever the second guy is, that guy might play three, four days in a row because if we have to run for Maldonado, he’s playing,” Grifol said. “When we talk about checking boxes, he’s going to have to check boxes to where we’re comfortable and he’s comfortable playing three, four, five days in a row with maybe one or two starts in between.”

Outfielder Robbie Grossman, who signed a minor-league deal on March 22, has been assigned to Charlotte.

“He’s been through a ton of spring trainings,” Grifol said. “He knows what his body feels like with a full spring training, so our communication will be on point when it comes to the point that we feel he’s ready and he feels he’s ready to come up.”