Chicago White Sox: Carlos Sanchez

Melk Man helps pour out better lineup

December, 14, 2014
Dec 14
9:20
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- With a source confirming the Chicago White Sox's addition of Melky Cabrera to play left field and bat second, an impressive lineup has emerged with spring training just more than two months away.

A team that had Conor Gillaspie bating third on Opening Day in 2014 has its pieces in better alignment now, especially up top, where the first five hitters weren't even in the organization at the All-Star break in 2013.

How the 2015 Opening Day lineup now looks:

Adam Eaton, center field
Melky Cabrera, left field
Jose Abreu, first base
Adam LaRoche, designated hitter
Avisail Garcia, right field
Alexei Ramirez, shortstop
Conor Gillaspie, third base
Tyler Flowers, catcher
Micah Johnson/Carlos Sanchez, second base

Suddenly, manager Robin Ventura's refusal to ponder a potential lineup while being interviewed at the winter meetings earlier this week makes much more sense.

Of the 1,211 games Cabrera has played in his career, the biggest number has come in the No. 2 spot. He is batting .292 there with a .341 on-base percentage, and represents a much better fit in the second spot instead of Ramirez, who had his issues with situational hitting behind Eaton last season.

With Eaton and Cabrera in the first two spots, it also would give more RBI opportunities to rookie of the year Abreu, who still managed to drive in 107 runs in 2014.

White Sox No. 2 hitters had a combined .237 batting average last season, 26th in baseball, and a .279 on-base percentage, 29th in baseball. Cabrera had a .351 OBP last season with the Toronto Blue Jays in 139 games. He also has a career .339 on-base percentage over 10 major league seasons.

The Cabrera addition also provides better lineup balance with the left-handed hitting Eaton up top, followed by the switch-hitting Cabrera, the right-handed hitting Abreu and the left-handed hitting LaRoche and the right-handed hitting Garcia

Gillaspie and Ramirez are presumably interchangeable in the sixth and seventh spots, depending on the pitcher. Gillaspie's presence as a No. 7 hitter gives the lineup a left-handed line-drive hitter toward the bottom of the order for the first time since A.J. Pierzynski departed as a free agent following the 2012 season.

Gillaspie was batting .321 as late as July 31 and was among the league leaders in hitting most of the season. He faded late, though, batting .222 in August and just .208 over the final two months to finish with a .282 batting average and a .336 OBP to go along with a .416 slugging percentage.

The second base job is the only real spring training battle remaining among position players. Sanchez has a slight edge based on his 28 games of experience there in 2014, but Johnson has more upside, and his speed in the No. 9 spot, leading to Eaton in the leadoff spot, provides intrigue.

White Sox bring productive week to a close

December, 11, 2014
Dec 11
1:31
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
SAN DIEGO -- The Chicago White Sox helped to put on a good show at the annual winter meetings, starting the gathering with a bang Monday as a prelude to some major fireworks around the league.

The White Sox addressed key needs in a trade for right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija and right-handed closer David Robertson, showing a bold and daring side in the process, especially with Robertson.

Coughing up $46 million for a reliever signaled that the White Sox are eager to push their roster rebuild forward at a much quicker pace, while telling the rest of the club, not to mention the fan base, that help has arrived.

The White Sox closed the meetings Thursday by adding another bullpen piece. While not as flashy as the Robertson signing, left-hander Dan Jennings was added in a trade from the Miami Marlins. Building a better relief corps has been the White Sox’s priority since the season ended.

“We’re pleased with this week; it was a good week,” general manager Rick Hahn said shortly before departing the meetings Thursday. “We picked up three of our targets, addressed three different needs. We’ll take that any old week. I don’t know if we’re necessarily going to be able to replicate it next week but we’re certainly going to try.”

(Read full post)

2015 lineup? Not so fast, Ventura says

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
6:33
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
SAN DIEGO -- Hold on with those Chicago White Sox starting-lineup projections, even as it looks like the club is running out of money to spend on the free-agent market.

Manager Robin Ventura refused to play around with a lineup Wednesday, saying only that Chris Sale would be his Opening Day starter, with Jeff Samardzija pitching in the second game, followed by Jose Quintana.

At least the Kansas City Royals know what they are up against for the opening three-game series during the first week of April.

Reading between the lines with Ventura, the sense is that the White Sox will zero in on trade targets. Making a change in left field could be high on the team’s priority list.

“I don’t know necessarily if you are done doing anything; it’s premature to do that,” Ventura said. “I can tell you that I know, I’m very hopeful, I will start Chris on Opening Day and Jeff on Day 2 and Jose, Day 3. Other than that, we’ll see what happens. It’s premature, lineup-wise, [to say] what we are doing.”

The White Sox elected to tender a contract to the arbitration-eligible Dayan Viciedo, and as of now he would be the leading candidate to start in left field. The 25-year-old still has youth on his side, and general manager Rick Hahn has remarked how hard it is to find right-handed power these days.

But Viciedo is a defensive liability in the outfield -- and defense is the only one of the White Sox’s offseason needs they have not yet addressed.

If the season started today, the White Sox lineup would look something like: Adam Eaton CF, Alexei Ramirez SS, Jose Abreu 1B, Adam LaRoche DH, Avisail Garcia RF, Conor Gillaspie 3B, Viciedo LF, Tyler Flowers C and Micah Johnson/Carlos Sanchez 2B.

Just don’t write that down in ink.

“We have a lot of time left,” Hahn said about the window to make moves this offseason. “I meant it when I said there was no urgency to get anything done [at the winter meetings], and obviously we did get two major things done. We aren’t on any time frame, other than getting the best team on the field by Opening Day. If nothing happens until January, that’s fine. We know the areas we want to address.”

Rumors heat up on Samardzija-to-White Sox

November, 29, 2014
Nov 29
1:14
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- In need of a right-handed starter with a proven track record, the Chicago White Sox appear to have strong interest in making a trade to add Jeff Samardzija into the fold.

Multiple reports say that the White Sox have targeted the Oakland Athletics pitcher to potentially join a rotation heavy on left-handers with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks. A report from the Bay Area News Group also suggested that the Atlanta Braves could be in talks to acquire Samardzija.

FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal did say, via Twitter, on Friday that Samardzija was not the subject of an upcoming trade, but that swap ended up being Josh Donaldson's move to the Toronto Blue Jays.

There are plenty of indications now to suggest the A’s are willing to listen to offers on Samardzija, whom they acquired in a trade from the Chicago Cubs at the midway point of the 2014 season.

The A’s could be looking at middle-infield pieces in return, which makes shortstop Alexei Ramirez a potential target. But the track record of A’s general manager Billy Beane is to acquire players on the upward arc of their careers, and the 33-year-old Ramirez might not qualify under those standards, although Oakland did acquire Jon Lester for Yoenis Cespedes this past season.

The White Sox are loaded with players ready to break through at second base, including Marcus Semien, Carlos Sanchez and Micah Johnson. But one of those players alone would not be enough to complete a Samardzija deal.

White Sox players like Quintana and Avisail Garcia are young and on the upward arc of their careers, but there is no indication the club would be willing to part with either.

Samardzija is headed toward his final year of arbitration eligibility in 2015 and is set to make somewhere between $9-10 million. He would head into his first year of free agency after the upcoming season unless his current club can reach a long-term deal before then.

The Valparaiso, Ind., native was a combined 7-13 this past season, but delivered a 2.99 ERA over 219 2/3 innings with the Cubs and A’s. He went 5-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 111 2/3 innings after he was traded to the American League and had a whopping 8.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio in Oakland.

Projected lineup: LaRoche cleaning up

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
4:38
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- With a few exceptions, Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura expects to use new left-handed hitting run producer Adam LaRoche as his cleanup hitter.

For now, the plan is to have the right-handed hitting Jose Abreu bat third, have the lefty swinging LaRoche in the No. 4 spot and the right-handed hitting Avisail Garcia batting fifth.

“Yeah, that’s how I see it,” Ventura said. “You’re able to split that up and it really balances out our lineup to have Conor (Gillaspie) in a more comfortable spot of just being a line-drive hitter just batting in the sixth hole.

“I would expect (LaRoche) to mostly be in the four-hole unless we somehow end up where Jose’s batting fourth and then (LaRoche) is probably fifth. As of right now, I have him batting right behind Jose in the four-hole.”

Gillaspie played 43 games last season in the No. 3 hole as Ventura tried to balance his lineup between right-handed and left-handed hitters. Gillaspie was even the surprise No. 3 hitter on Opening Day.

The upper two-thirds of the batting order seems to be set. Adam Eaton figures to be the leadoff hitter, followed by Alexei Ramirez, who has been in trade rumors but isn’t likely to be moved unless the White Sox get an impressive haul in return.

Abreu, LaRoche, Garcia and Gillaspie round out the top six spots. That would leave the left fielder -- whether it is Dayan Viciedo or somebody else -- aimed toward the seven-hole, with catcher Tyler Flowers the likely No. 8 hitter.

As of now, the lineup would appear to close with the second baseman. Candidates at second include Carlos Sanchez, Marcus Semien and the speedy Micah Johnson.

White Sox looking at Semien's SS skills

September, 11, 2014
Sep 11
1:00
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Two days after a disastrous night at third base, Marcus Semien got the start at shortstop for the Chicago White Sox on Thursday in the series finale against the Oakland Athletics.

Semien made three errors in a defeat Tuesday night, two of the fielding variety, and after sitting out Wednesday's game, he will have a chance to get that debacle out of his system.

"You're going to have to get him in there and move him around and with Alexei (Ramirez), you can give him a day off," manager Robin Ventura said. "He's going to be back in there and you're going to see how he plays. He's been all over the infield and you just want to make sure you get him in there."

Semien projects more as a second baseman, but his chance at third Tuesday and his game at shortstop Thursday is a clear sign the White Sox could be looking at him as a utility man off the bench in the future.

"There's some of seeing how he can handle short but we've seen him play it before," Ventura said. "He's done it for us earlier in the year and last year. You see him at short and it looks pretty good."

It is far-fetched that the White Sox are taking a look at Semien at shortstop in case they want to trade Ramirez in the offseason. It would take a monster return to pry Ramirez away from the White Sox, especially after he rebounded from a mediocre year in 2013 to become an All-Star this season and return to a well-above-average level of defense.

It is just the fourth game all season where shortstop wasn't occupied by Ramirez, who still has two more seasons remaining on a team-friendly contract, when counting his 2016 team option year for $10 million.

"Compared to what Alexei does, when you see the range Alexei has, that's an elite range shortstop of what he does defensively," Ventura said. "I don't know if (Semien) is necessarily like that, but can he play it? Yeah."

Just because the White Sox are exploring Semien's versatility on defense doesn't mean that he won't be considered for the starting second base job next season. The White Sox are expected to enter the spring with competitive battle for the job at second between Semien, Carlos Sanchez and Micah Johnson.

Johnson projects as the better long-term second baseman of the future, but he is the only one of the three options without any major league experience.

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 2, A's 1

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10
10:28
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- A late Chicago White Sox rally Wednesday gave them a 2-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

How it happened: Avisail Garcia hit a two-run single with two outs in the eighth inning to put the White Sox on top. White Sox pitcher Chris Bassitt was solid in his second career start, giving up one run on five hits over six-plus innings. Former White Sox slugger Adam Dunn drove in the only run against Bassitt in the fourth inning. A’s starter Jeff Samardzija showed once again how he likes pitching at U.S. Cellular Field, giving up six hits over seven scoreless innings.

What it means: At least the White Sox are showing they can be a pest for teams trying to wrap up a playoff spot. They have won two of the first three games in the series against the contending A's. The White Sox still have road series against the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers before closing the season Sept. 25-28 at home against the Royals. Maybe they will have a say in how the American League Central is won after all.

Outside the box: More new faces on defense did not mean issues with the gloves like there were Tuesday. A night after the White Sox made five errors, three by third baseman Marcus Semien, they went error free Wednesday, even with Josh Phegley at catcher, Andy Wilkins at first base, Carlos Sanchez at second and Jordan Danks in left. Danks made an impressive diving catch in the seventh inning. The White Sox entered with 10 errors over their last seven games after committing just five in their previous 14 contests.

Offbeat: Didn’t it figure that Dunn’s first RBI against the White Sox after all his time playing for Chicago wouldn’t come on a home run, but on an opposite-field single. Like most teams had when Dunn played on the South Side, the White Sox went with a defensive shift in order to take away the right side of the field. So Dunn went with the pitch from Bassitt and dropped it over the head of third baseman Conor Gillaspie, who had shifted over in the general vicinity of shortstop.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander Chris Sale (11-3, 2.09 ERA) to the mound Thursday in the finale of this four-game series. The A’s will counter with left-hander Scott Kazmir (14-7, 3.42) in the 1:10 p.m. CT start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Sox don't want to be second guessing

September, 9, 2014
Sep 9
11:08
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO – The next generation of Chicago White Sox second basemen had a rough go of it Tuesday in an 11-2 defeat to the Oakland Athletics.

The White Sox are loaded with no fewer than three prospects ready to break through at middle infield, and two of them got a chance to show what they can do. With Carlos Sanchez actually playing second base Tuesday, Marcus Semien was asked to tap in to his versatility and play third.

In the end, it wasn’t pretty. Semien made three errors while going 0-for-3 at the plate with a strikeout. Sanchez had his own issues. He collided with Oakland’s Craig Gentry while late to cover first base in the fifth inning, and Gentry had to leave the game with a concussion. Then, on his RBI double in the seventh inning, Sanchez appeared to lose track of the ball and was easily thrown out while trying to stretch his hit into a triple.

Growing pains aren’t unexpected at this time of the year, and the White Sox know the issues they saw from their young infielders Tuesday all are correctable.

“You want them to get it out of their system,” manager Robin Ventura said. “They're good players -- bad night. We've seen Marcus make plays. Sanchez, same thing. They're up here, and you try to get that experience and get it out of your system and play better. That's a part of being up here. There's been guys that have been around a long time that had nights like that.”

Not in action Tuesday was probably the most talented second-base option of the bunch, Micah Johnson, whose season ended after he developed hamstring issues late in the year at Triple-A Charlotte.

Johnson ultimately projects as the long-term answer at second base, with his ability to use speed, his occasional power and an improving glove that has the White Sox excited for the future. Johnson entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the fastest base runner in the Chicago system.

Where Semien and Sanchez fit into the mix remains to be seen. One or both could be used as trade bait this winter, which makes their time on the major league stage over the next few weeks a valuable showcase.

Then there is the idea that Semien or Sanchez takes over at second base for perhaps another year, until Johnson is ready to assume the job. But Johnson will already be 23 next year, and the White Sox might be ready to give him his chance.

In 2009, Johnson was a ninth-round draft pick out of Indiana University. He didn’t get his first taste of Triple-A until this season, after he started the year at Double-A. He batted a combined .294 with five home runs, 44 RBIs and 22 stolen bases, though he was caught 13 times.

The glut of options is why the White Sox were finally comfortable severing ties with longtime second baseman Gordon Beckham. He was traded to the Los Angeles Angels in August, though he still had one more season of arbitration eligibility remaining before he hits his free-agent years.

It was Semien who started at second base on Opening Day when Beckham was out with an oblique injury. He showed flashes of brilliance early, especially with clutch hitting, but he was prone to striking out -- something he still needs to work out of his game.

As for his defense, Tuesday wasn’t a proud moment, but the White Sox won’t let one game change their feelings about him.

“You know what, you just have to move on,” Semien said afterward. “There are some plays I should have made -- I didn’t make ’em. We had a tough night tonight, so that’s it.”

Maybe next the White Sox will find out how Semien can put the rough days behind him, something Beckham always seemed to struggle with.

“Yeah, I can look at the plays all I want, [and] I can practice them,"Semien said. "I just want to come back tomorrow, have a good day at work, and if I’m in there, forget about today and move on."

Series preview: White Sox at Twins

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
12:55
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
By the end of a brief two-game series that starts Tuesday night against the Minnesota Twins, there is a chance that Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreu could stand alone as the only player in the major leagues with 100 RBIs.

Abreu leads the American League with 99 RBIs, and is tied with the Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton for the overall lead in baseball.

With his next RBI, Abreu will become just the fourth White Sox rookie to reach the 100 mark. Smead Jolley had 114 RBIs as a rookie in 1930, Zeke Bonura had 110 in 1934, and Ron Kittle was the last to do it when he had exactly 100 RBIs in his rookie season of 1983.

The milestone will also add Abreu to an elite list of players who managed to collect at least 30 doubles, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in their rookie season. Hal Troskey did it in 1934, Ted Williams managed it in 1939 and Albert Pujols was the last to do it in 2001.

Abreu will enter play Tuesday at Minnesota with 32 doubles and 33 home runs, along with his 99 RBIs. Abreu is three off the home run lead in the American League, behind the Orioles' Nelson Cruz as he tries to become just the third White Sox player to lead the AL in HRs along with Bill Melton (1971) and Dick Allen (1972, 1974).

Abreu also appears to be a lock to win the AL Rookie of the Year award, which will make him the sixth White Sox player to do so and the first since Ozzie Guillen in 1985.

HEAD TO HEAD


Players on the White Sox roster are a combined 8-for-45 (.178) against Twins starter Tommy Milone with no RBIs. Tyler Flowers is 0-for-8 against the left-hander. ... Twins starter Trevor May has never faced the White Sox. ... Twins batters have a combined 65 at-bats against White Sox starter Hector Noesei, with Eduardo Escobar delivering three RBIs against the right-hander and the rest of the roster delivering a combined four. ... The 12 losses White Sox starter John Danks has against the Twins are his most against any team. He also has a 5.35 ERA against them, his worst against any AL Central club.

NOTES


Even with a four-game series split against the Tigers this past weekend, the White Sox are just 3-10 over their last 13 games. ... Rookie second baseman Carlos Sanchez has a hit in nine of his last 10 games and is batting .317 (13-for-41) over that stretch. ... Conor Gillaspie, whose batting average dipped under .300 for the first time Saturday, ended a 12 at-bat hitless streak Sunday with an RBI single in the first inning. ... Flowers has three extra-base hits over his last three games. ... Since July 10, a stretch that includes a stint on the disabled list, Adam Eaton has seven games where he has delivered three or more hits. ... Paul Konerko needs one home run to tie Jason Giambi (440) for 41st place on the all-time list, while Alexei Ramirez needs two runs scored for 500. ... Abreu has driven in 15 runs in the 14 games played against the Twins. ... The Twins lead the season series 8-6 and have won five of the eight games at Target Field this year.

PITCHING MATCHUPS


Tuesday: White Sox RH Hector Noesi (8-9, 4.75 ERA) vs. Twins LH Tommy Milone (6-4, 4.08), 7:10 p.m. CST
Wednesday: White Sox LH John Danks (9-9, 4.88) vs. Twins RH Trevor May (0-3, 8.79), 7:10 p.m. CST

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 3, Indians 2

August, 27, 2014
Aug 27
10:18
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory Wednesday over the Cleveland Indians.

How it happened: Jose Abreu’s impressive rookie season kept humming along with three hits, including an RBI single in the third inning to give the White Sox their first run and a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning. Adam Dunn had an RBI double in the third inning. Hector Noesi pitched seven solid innings, giving up two runs on six hits. Zach Putnam faced one batter, the Indians' Chris Dickerson, and recorded his fourth save.

What it means: Once claimed off waivers, and possessing a 14.21 ERA when he arrived in Chicago, Noesi won for the sixth time in his past 10 starts. With the White Sox this season he is 8-8 with a 4.30 ERA in 23 appearances (22 starts), leaving him with an overall ERA of 4.75. The right-hander has put himself in the mix for at least the No. 5 spot in the rotation next season, and he has another month this season to solidify his case. The White Sox would be more than satisfied if he turned into an inexpensive innings eater.

Outside the box: His power numbers might be down, but Abreu continues to hit as the season closes in on its fifth full month. Abreu has only two home runs since July 29, but he was batting .345 with a .901 OPS over that time (through Tuesday’s game). More recently, he has hit safely in 11 of his past 12 games, going 19-for-45 (.422) with 10 RBIs.

Offbeat: There are plenty of ways to end up with a foul ball, but few are more memorable than the one a fan pulled off in the fourth inning. The White Sox’s Carlos Sanchez hit a foul ball down the left-field line, and the fan sitting a few sections before the foul pole first batted the ball into the air with his bare hand. With the ball headed back toward the field of play, he then caught it inside his cup of beer to have a souvenir and a story that he can keep for a lifetime.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander John Danks (9-8, 4.96 ERA) to the mound Thursday in the finale of the three-game series. The Indians will counter with right-hander Carlos Carrasco (5-4, 3.14) in the 7:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Series preview: Indians at White Sox

August, 26, 2014
Aug 26
3:01
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Seven more days remain before the Chicago White Sox will get some reinforcements in the form of September call-ups from the minor leagues.

General manager Rick Hahn has already suggested that the White Sox will call up five to eight players, with that set to happen after the current homestand is completed. That homestand begins Tuesday night with a three-game set against the Cleveland Indians, followed by a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers that includes a day/night doubleheader Saturday.

The dog days of August certainly seem to have taken their toll on the White Sox, who are fading fast. They are just 6-15 in August, after going 14-12 in July and will enter Tuesday night's game a season-high 12 games under .500 at 59-71.

Where the White Sox need the most help is in the bullpen. They are 13th in the 15-team American League in bullpen ERA at 4.41, 14th in save percentage at 60 percent and last in strikeouts from their relievers at 297.

The bullpen is operating without a left-hander, although that could change if they add Carlos Rodon to the mix next month. The team's first-round draft pick this June already has delivered two impressive outings at Triple-A Charlotte over the past week.

The expected number of reinforcements might be one player less since infielder Carlos Sanchez has already arrived, joining the team after Gordon Beckham was traded to the Los Angeles Angels last week. And Hahn already has said that infielder Marcus Semien will join the team on or after Sept. 1.

One year after being completely dominated by the Indians, when the White Sox went 2-17, they are a much-improved 8-5 against their division rivals, although each team has scored 58 runs in the season series.

HEAD TO HEAD



Indians rookie starter T.J. House faced the White Sox in his third career outing in May, giving up one run on five hits over 6 1/3 innings of a game the White Sox eventually won. ... The White Sox's Jose Abreu is 3-for-9 against Indians starter Corey Kluber this season with a home run. ... The White Sox's Alejandro De Aza is 5-for-10 (.500) with two doubles and four RBIs against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco. ... The Indians' Michael Brantley is 7-for-15 (.467) with two doubles, a home run and four RBIs against White Sox starter Jose Quintana. ... The Indians' Jason Kipnis is 0-for-10 with two strikeouts against White Sox starter Hector Noesi. ... The Indians' Ryan Raburn is 14-for-42 with five doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs against White Sox starter John Danks.

NOTES


Adam Eaton, who has been out since Aug. 9 with a strained right oblique, has been reinstated to the active roster. ... The White Sox are on a season-long six-game losing streak and they have also lost 13 of their last 17. ... Abreu has hit safely in nine of his last games and is batting .395 (15-for-38) over that stretch with two home runs and eight RBIs. ... De Aza is batting .354 (23-for-65) with six doubled and two RBIs over his last 18 games, hitting safely in 15 of them with seven multi-hit contests in that stretch. ... De Aza needs one hit for 500 in his career. ... Adam Dunn needs three home runs to tie Jose Canseco (462) for 34th on the all-time list, and needs two walks to tie Ken Griffey Jr. (1,312) for 41st on the all-time list. ... Paul Konerko needs one home run to tie Jason Giambi (44) for 41st on the all-time list. ... The Indians' Brantley is batting .100 (3-for-30) over his last eight games.

PITCHING MATCHUPS


Tuesday: White Sox LH Jose Quintana (6-10, 3.25 ERA) vs. Indians LH T.J. House (2-3, 3.80), 7:10 p.m. CST
Wednesday: White Sox RH Hector Noesi (7-8, 4.39) vs. Indians RH Corey Kluber (13-7, 2.46), 7:10 p.m. CST
Thursday: White Sox LH John Danks (9-8, 4.96) vs. Indians RH Carlos Carrasco (5-4, 3.14), 7:10 p.m. CST

Series preview: White Sox at Yankees

August, 22, 2014
Aug 22
2:57
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
The Chicago White Sox will begin life without Gordon Beckham on Friday night when the team opens a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Beckham, whose departure had been expected for some time, was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday for a player to be named later or cash considerations. With no less than three young second base prospects ready to break through to the major league level, Beckham was considered expendable.

Micah Johnson and Marcus Semien are two of the White Sox's highly-touted second-base prospects, but it is Carlos Sanchez who will take Beckham's roster spot and be available in the series at New York. Semien will be called up when rosters expand in September, while Johnson has been shut down for the rest of the year with a hamstring issue.

Johnson is considered the second baseman of the future and the team remains high on Semien, despite his strikeout issues during his time with the major league team earlier this season. Sanchez's future with the White Sox is cloudier.

The White Sox could let Sanchez play every day in the hopes that potential success could make him attractive on the trade market this offseason. Or he could be the starting second baseman to start next season if Johnson isn't quite ready to break through and he is deemed a better option than Semien.

What is a certainty is that the White Sox's depth at second base is better than at any other position in the minor leagues, which made Beckham's days numbered.

HEAD TO HEAD



Yankees rookie starter Shane Greene, who will be making his ninth career appearance and eighth career start, has not faced the White Sox. ... The White Sox's Alexei Ramirez is 8-for-21 (.381) with two home runs and eight RBIs in his career against Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda. ... The White Sox's Adam Dunn has seven hits and two home runs in 27 at-bats against Yankees starter Chris Capuano, while the rest of the players on the White Sox's active roster have a combined 15 at-bats against the lefty. ... The Yankees Derek Jeter is 6-for-20 (.300) against White Sox starter John Danks. ... Yankees hitters are a combined 0-for-9 with a walk and four strikeouts against White Sox starter Scott Carroll. ... Jeter is 3-for-8 (.375) with a home run against White Sox starter Chris Sale.

NOTES



The White Sox moved to a season high nine games under .500 at 59-68 after going 2-4 on their just-concluded homestand against the Blue Jays and Orioles. ... Leadoff man Adam Eaton is on a minor league rehab assignment for an oblique injury and is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, but he is not expected to play in the series against the Yankees. ... Since returning from the disabled list last weekend, White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia is 5-for-16 (.313) with a home run, four RBIs and three runs scored. ... Expect Paul Konerko to be in the starting lineup Sunday, which will be his last game at Yankee Stadium. Konerko has hit safely in nine of his last 14 games, is hitting .283 against left-handers this season and the Yankees will have a lefty in Capuano on the mound for the series finale. ... In the 17 games the teams have played at new Yankee Stadium, the Yankees have won 12 of them, including five consecutive over the White Sox.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Friday: White Sox LH John Danks (9-8, 4.94 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Shane Greene (3-1, 2.91), 6:05 p.m. CST
Saturday: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (5-7, 4.99) vs. Yankees RH Hiroki Kuroda (8-8, 3.97), 12:05 p.m. CST
Sunday: White Sox LH Chris Sale (10-3, 2.12) vs. Yankees LH Chris Capuano (1-3, 4.35), 12:05 p.m. CST

Micah Johnson out as Sox consider call-ups

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
7:01
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Scratch Chicago White Sox second base prospect Micah Johnson from the list of potential September roster additions.

Johnson, one of the top position player prospects in the system, will be shut down for the season with a strained left hamstring. He was batting a combined .294 between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte this season and had been struggling through leg pain of late.

[+] EnlargeMicah Johnson
Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images/AP ImagesMicah Johnson, one of the Sox's top position player prospects, will be shut down for the season with a strained left hamstring.
“The other day during an at-bat, he actually felt something in the front by the knee, which led to him being pulled out of the game and being brought to Chicago for evaluation,” White Sox GM Rick Hahn said. “It turned out that even though the pain was from the front of the leg, it was actually related to the same hamstring strain. So we’ve elected to shut him down. We’re going to give the strain four to six weeks to heal, and we expect he should be 100 percent and go into next season without restriction.”

So who will the White Sox call up?

The team needs pitching help, especially in the bullpen, but the system is thin on major league-ready arms. First-round draft pick Carlos Rodon remains a strong possibility to see time in a White Sox uniform next month, possibly as a reliever.

Rodon made his Triple-A debut Tuesday night, and the left-hander gave up one run over three innings for Charlotte.

“There has been a lot of speculation about our plans for him in September,” Hahn said. “There is nothing set in stone in terms of him coming here or not coming here. The decision is going to be made strictly based upon his development and his long-term fit for us. If we feel that he has the ability to come up here and compete, excel and learn from the experience, then it’s something we need to talk about internally and make a decision.”

Two likely roster additions will be infielder Marcus Semien and catcher Josh Phegley, who are both on the 40-man roster. Infielder Carlos Sanchez also could be recalled, and Hahn even talked about the possibility that outfielder Jared Mitchell comes up. Mitchell’s minor league career has been marked with ups and downs, but he is currently hitting the ball well in Charlotte.

Another intriguing roster addition would be first baseman Andy Wilkins, who is putting on a power display at Charlotte with 29 home runs, 35 RBIs and 82 RBIs, while slugging .568. The problem with calling up Wilkins is that the White Sox would first need to add him to the 40-man roster.

While the club already has had internal talks about who to add to the roster, Hahn said nothing has been finalized.

“I don’t have an answer on that yet,” he said. “It’s going to be more than a couple. Historically, we’ve been in the five-to-eight range, and we’ll probably be back in that range this year.”

One delicate issue with the extra bodies is that regulars will start losing playing time. Semien could be starting over Gordon Beckham at second base, and Phegley could be cutting into Tyler Flowers’ playing time behind the plate.

“I'm going to talk to [Hahn] about it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “When you get closer to September, if guys are going to get called up and it's going to affect them, then you start talking to them about it. I don't think we’re there right now.”

Beckham refuses to put blame on rumors

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
7:17
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Gordon BeckhamDavid Richard/USA TODAY Sports"You just have to let it happen the way it's going to happen," Gordon Beckham said of trade rumors.

CHICAGO – Gordon Beckham struggles as the scouts gather to watch him play, and it would be shortsighted not to think that the latter is having a major influence on the former.

The Chicago White Sox infielder knows a trade is likely coming. He is well aware of his situation as a solid major league mainstay who is only getting more expensive as a bevy of young second-base prospects are refining their talents right behind him.

He doesn’t want to go, but also knows that a deal will possibly land him with a contender, so that isn’t all bad. Ultimately it seems as if the uncertainty of it all is bothering the 27-year-old the most.

To Beckham’s credit, though, he isn’t blaming the unknown for his struggles. He doesn’t want to make excuses. He won’t make excuses.

“There is always a chance of [a trade],” Beckham said Monday before the White Sox opened a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals. “It’s there, but that’s about it. You just have to let it happen the way it’s going to happen. It’s not one of those things I’m going to worry about. If it’s here or somewhere else, that’s what’s supposed to happen.”

As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline gets closer, the struggles only seem to mount. Beckham is batting just .083 (4-for-48) over his past 12 games. Over his past 31 he is batting .136 (16-for-117). He is no longer hitting the ball hard up the middle as he was early in the season, and the scouts have taken notice.

One major league scout noted Monday that Beckham is the perfect example of a player who just needs a fresh start with a new organization.

Beckham knows what is happening, and he is trying to block it out, but it has been difficult.

“A lot goes into it,” Beckham said about being a successful baseball player. “You come in, show up every day, you work hard, you want it to work out for you and your team. Baseball is a very unforgiving game. When you’re going well, all of a sudden it tends to not go well. It’s a tough game. But there is a lot more that goes into it than the box score.”

That seems to be Beckham’s way of saying that baseball players are human and they have distractions too. But he doesn’t say it and he won’t make that excuse, even if it is a legitimate one.

“You just have to go play the game and it’ll turn. ... It’ll turn,” he said, trailing off.

The Toronto Blue Jays were the team that was rumored to have the most interest in Beckham and have had a scout on hand for each of the four games of Chicago's current homestand.

If Beckham is dealt, the White Sox could immediately plug Marcus Semien into his spot. Eventually, though, it seems clear that Micah Johnson will be the second baseman of the future. The White Sox also have Carlos Sanchez and Leury Garcia, who can play second.

But right now Beckham is their man, and manager Robin Ventura is trying to get the most out of him.

“He really is focusing more on going the other way, which would help him a bit,” Ventura said. “But when you press, it’s harder to buy all in to be able to do that. You have to take baby steps, maybe give a little ground on power and things like that to get it over there.”

The answer likely lies with the calendar changing to August. Then Beckham will finally know his fate.

“I haven’t really talked to him about it but I’m sure some of that is probably there,” he said. “You hear about it enough and any kind of distraction can be it. Hopefully it’s not.”

Beckham is simply trying to keep his head up and plug along the best he can. The White Sox are the only organization he has ever known and that might all change before the next 10 days come to a close.

“Yeah, I’m not worried about that,” Beckham insisted, before quickly changing gears. “It will be tough to leave because I have always been here, but whatever happens, will happen and I’m prepared for anything.”

Taylor Thompson gets the call at 27

July, 20, 2014
Jul 20
1:05
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox filled out their bullpen Sunday, purchasing the contract of right-hander Taylor Thompson, who was being used as a closer at Triple-A Charlotte.

The White Sox had made room on the 25-man roster Saturday when they optioned infielder Carlos Sanchez back to Triple-A. To make room on the 40-man roster, Felipe Paulino (shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

The 27-year-old Thompson was 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 31 relief appearances at Charlotte and was 6-for-6 in save opportunities. The former 44th-round pick in 2009 credited the revival of a pitch he had turned his back on for his success this year.

“It’s probably my split-finger this year,” Thompson said. “I hadn't thrown it for the last few years, and I brought it back this year to try to give me another edge. It's really helped. Other than that, I probably have a standard fastball. I’m glad I brought it back for sure.”

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