When catcher Omar Narvaez learned White Sox manager Ricky Renteria was giving him the nod to start on Opening Day, his first text went to his father, Omar Jose Narvaez.
“He was so proud of me, because he played a little baseball, too,’’ Narvaez said Tuesday. “My family, they all played baseball, even my grandpa. My entire family is huge proud.’’
The Sox host the Tigers on Opening Day Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field (1:10, CSN, 890-AM). The opener was scheduled for Monday but rained out. Jose Quintana will start for the Sox against the Tigers’ Justin Verlander.
Narvaez, 25, made a quick climb to the majors after the Sox snagged him from the Rays in the minor league portion of the 2013 Rule 5 draft. He handled pitchers well enough and hit .267 with a .350 on-base percentage over 34 games last season, including 30 starts, after the Sox called him up in early July.
Geovany Soto, 34, returned in the offseason to provide a veteran presence in a catching platoon that figures to see the left-handed hitting Narvaez get a sizable chunk of work.
It all started with catching Jose Quintana on Opening Day, which is a big deal to Narvaez, too.
“It’s something that I dreamed about and now it comes true,’’ he said. “I just have to do my best.’’
Narvaez said his father was floored because “he never imagined I would catch the first day. He assumed I would make the team but not as the No. 1 guy [for the opener].’’
Quintana pitched to a 3.15 ERA in his five starts caught by Narvaez last season, almost at his norm for the season (3.20), compared to 2.37 with Dioner Navarro behind the plate in 15 games and 4.32 with Alex Avila catching. Quintana pitched to a 2.70 ERA in 10 games caught by Soto in 2015.
“He’s pretty fun to catch, as long as we stay on the same page,” Navarro said. “We do a good job with that – we watch video and talk over the plan before the game. We know what we need to do.’’