Chicago White Sox: Gordon Beckham

Jones, Beckham in holding pattern

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
8:30
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox are optimistic they will start moving forward with injured players Nate Jones and Gordon Beckham.

Jones had a gluteus muscle strain during spring training and a hip strain that put him on the disabled list at the start of the season. But the White Sox now seem to have gotten to the root of the issue after an MRI exam this week.

"He had an MRI the other day and it seems the source of his issue is in his lower back, which is a little different," general manager Rick Hahn said. "We had mostly mentioned the glute. The glute was probably radiating from the back issue. He did receive an epidural earlier in the week. He feels much better, which is good."

Jones could get his rehab jump-started by beginning baseball activity in a few days, according to Hahn.

Beckham remained out of the lineup at Double-A Birmingham on Thursday as his rehab assignment is on hold.

Beckham, who suffered an oblique injury during spring training, felt discomfort before a game at Birmingham on Friday and hasn't played since. He went hitless one night earlier in the only rehab game he has played to date.

"There's a chance he returns in the next few days," Hahn said. "He was re-evaluated by our doctor in Birmingham. We think things are calming down. He's going to start swinging again today and hopefully work his way back into the lineup in the coming days."

There remains no timetable on the second baseman's return. Only when Beckham returns to seeing live pitching again will the White Sox have an expectation on when he might return to the major leagues.

Utility man Jeff Keppinger, who started the season on the disabled list because of a shoulder issue, played three innings of an extended spring training game Wednesday but still needs more time before starting a rehab assignment.

Beckham starts rehab assignment

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
8:30
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO – Gordon Beckham began a rehab assignment Thursday night at Double-A Birmingham as he continues his recovery from a strained left oblique muscle.

The second baseman has been out of action since mid-March, when the injury first surfaced as he took swings in the batting cage at the team’s spring-training complex in Glendale, Ariz. While there is no timetable for Beckham's return, he is eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday.

The 27-year-old former first-round draft pick missed about a third of the schedule last season with various injuries, most notably a broken bone in his hand.

The career .249 hitter, who finished fifth in the 2009 rookie-of-the-year voting, has just one more year of arbitration eligibility and is set to become a free agent after the 2015 season.

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 7, Twins 6 (11)

April, 2, 2014
Apr 2
5:39
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox put together a frantic rally Wednesday for a 7-6 victory in 11 innings over the Minnesota Twins.


How it happened: Leury Garcia scored the winning run on a wild pitch. He reached base on a two-strike bunt single, went to second on a balk and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Paul Konerko started a game-tying rally in the ninth inning with a pinch-hit single off the third base bag. Garcia got the White Sox within a run with an RBI single and Adam Eaton hit a slow roller to third base to bring home the tying run. Nate Jones struggled in his first appearance of the season, as he failed to retire any of the three batters he faced and wiped out a one-run lead in the seventh inning.

What it means: It's already an upside down season when the offense can overcome bullpen deficiencies. It wasn't out of the question to expect some struggles at times from the White Sox bullpen, but Jones figured to be one of the more dependable relievers. He has been known to have command issues on occasion and struggled to get things going early last season. Perhaps easing any concerns the White Sox might have over Jones was the impressive performance put in by Daniel Webb. The right-hander went a marathon 2 2/3 innings and didn't give up a run until his 48th and final pitch.

Outside the box: Among one of the worst fielding teams in baseball last season, the White Sox made their first miscue of the season Wednesday. What made it at least a little easier to take is that the error came from the third option at second base in Garcia. It did lead to an unearned run in the inning, though. Garcia is the third choice at second behind Gordon Beckham, out with an oblique injury, and Marcus Semien, who moved to third since Conor Gillaspie was out with the flu.

Off beat: The White Sox lost their first umpire review of the season. With a Twins runner on first base, Oswaldo Arcia lifted a fly ball to center. Eaton appeared to catch the ball and lose it on the transfer to his bare hand. MLB replay officials, though, said it wasn't a catch, putting runners on first and second. The White Sox got out of the jam when Webb struck out two batters and left fielder Alejandro De Aza threw out a runner at home after a single.

Macho men: If the title for toughest player goes to the person that withstands the cold best, give Eaton the title. Despite a first pitch Wednesday at 38 degrees, Eaton and Jose Abreu were the only two White Sox players not wearing long sleeves. But after the first inning, Abreu went back into the clubhouse and put on long black sleeves under his white jersey. Give the Cuba native credit for trying, but he couldn't match an Ohio native in Eaton when it came to braving the cold.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander Jose Quintana (9-7, 3.51 ERA in 2013) to the mound Thursday in the finale of the three-game series. The Twins will counter with right-hander Phil Hughes (4-14, 5.19) in the 1:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Sox place Beckham, Keppinger on DL

March, 30, 2014
Mar 30
1:13
PM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
The Chicago White Sox put infielders Gordon Beckham and Jeff Keppinger on the 15-day disabled list, both retroactive to March 21.

Beckham, who has a strained left oblique, last played on March 14 in a Catcus League game. Keppinger is continuing his recovery from right shoulder surgery last September. He appeared in just six games this spring, with his last appearance on March 10.

Following the moves, the White Sox's active roster is at 25. The 40-man roster remains at 39.

Sox's system is loaded at second base

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
12:25
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Say what you want about the level of talent in the Chicago White Sox's farm system -- and many baseball analysts have taken their shots -- but second base is where the organization has no shortage of rising young players.

Guys like Micah Johnson, Marcus Semien, Carlos Sanchez and Leury Garcia all are considered viable options at second base for the future.

And with the oblique injury to Gordon Beckham, that will sideline the second baseman for a week and possibly more, there will be plenty of at-bats in upcoming Cactus League games for the next generation of middle infielders.

Johnson and Garcia add blazing speed to their overall package, Semien adds more of a power element along with the versatility to play shortstop and third base, while Sanchez was having arguably the best big league camp of anybody while batting .538 (7-for-13) before he was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte.

Stockpiling middle infield talent continues to be one of the bigger challenges for organizations. While shortstop talent is most desired, a lack of second-base talent can send teams scrambling for options.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals have recently signed Cuban middle infielders. In October, the Dodgers added Alex Guerrero on a four-year, $28 million contract, while earlier this month the Cardinals added Aledmys Diaz on a four-year deal for around $8 million.

"It's tough to find middle infielders in the draft," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "There are only a couple every year that are true middle infielders, and you're not always going to have the chance to draft them. For us having the opportunity to sign a middle infielder (in Guerrero) with his age and his experience at the international level we thought it was worth it."

The Dodgers went as far as to double up on Cuban middle infielders, also signing shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena to a five-year deal.

The White Sox have Garcia and Semien who can play shortstop, but neither is considered to be the defensive equivalent of Alexei Ramirez. The White Sox did draft junior college shortstop Tim Anderson in the first round last year.

While Anderson remains plenty of years away, a new second baseman could be in place as soon as next season. Beckham will make $4.175 million this season and could be in the $6 million range next year, which is his last of arbitration eligibility. Beckham reaches free agency in 2016.

It isn't impossible that Beckham could be traded this season to a team in need of second base help, especially if the White Sox have come to the conclusion that will be headed in a new direction anyway next year.

If the White Sox have shown anything this past offseason it is that they aren't afraid to make trades from an area of strength. With four left-handers in the rotation, they moved one early this winter for an upgrade in center field and in the leadoff spot when lefty Hector Santiago was part of the deal that brought back Adam Eaton.

And with Nate Jones emerging as a closer for the future, the White Sox went ahead and traded closer Addison Reed for third baseman Matt Davidson.

Johnson, Semien, Sanchez and Garcia all are coming, with one of them likely to take over at second soon, and maybe one or more used in trade packages to land talent in other areas.

Beckham has eyes on No. 2 hole

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
3:20
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Gordon Beckham doesn't mind hitting in the No. 8 spot this spring, but it doesn't sound as if he wants to build a permanent residence in that neighborhood.

Manager Robin Ventura already has said that he isn't fixed on a No. 2 hitter just yet, although he did have Alexei Ramirez in that spot for Friday's Cactus League opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After the ninth spot, Beckham's 832 plate appearances in the second spot are his next most. Third most are his 506 trips to the plate in the eight hole.

"The two hole is probably best for me and best for the team because I can move runners over, I can do something with the bat," Beckham said before Friday's game. "I don't necessarily have to hit there. Obviously, that's up to somebody else. But I feel confident that, given the chance, I can hit there and do a good job there."

Last year's numbers told a different story, though. Beckham batted .190 with a .245 on-base percentage as a No. 2 hitter. In the eight spot he batted .325 with a .375 OBP. Further hurting Beckham's chances to move up in the order is that multiple members of the coaching staff have said they don't want to make too much out of spring training numbers.

"I was hot in June and July and then started to get some knick-knack injuries and stuff; that didn't help," Beckham said. "There's no excuse but that didn't help and that's when I was put in the two hole. It was bad timing last year more than anything."

Beckham is confident situational hitting can be his forte. It can have its mental challenges, though, since the objectives are often precise.

"There is definitely some of that and for me it needs to me more of, 'Don't worry, don't think about it, let your instincts take over,'" Beckham said. "When you're in the two hole you have to hit the way you're capable of and not worry too much about being too fine. But if the situation were important enough, I feel like I could move a runner over when I need to do it."

White Sox losing their sweet tooth

February, 26, 2014
Feb 26
12:10
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The roster isn’t the only target when it comes to changes the Chicago White Sox are in the midst of undertaking.

Dietary enhancements are already in place, and an entire remodel of the home clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field that will include a new kitchen capable of providing healthier meals to players is a possibility in the next couple of years.

Healthier athletes are hardly a new concept as the idea has spread throughout sports in recent years. One noticeable change for the White Sox is with the clubhouse snacks provided to players.

Candy and snack cakes that were once prevalent have been replaced by at least relatively healthier choices of fruit and grain bars, and granola-based options. Even the chewing gum has been reduced to only the sugar-free variety.

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Two hole a possibility for Beckham

February, 23, 2014
Feb 23
4:05
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The latest carrot that Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura dangled before his clubhouse full of rabbits was one specifically intended for Gordon Beckham.

Other than catcher, where Tyler Flowers seems to have has the inside track, Ventura insists that all his position, bullpen and lineup decisions will come from players reaching out to grab the prize. Spring training, as well as past performance, is being relied on to make the choice.

[+] EnlargeGordon Beckham
Rob Tringali/Getty ImagesGordon Beckham could get another shot at batting second this season.
Asked about the No. 2 spot in this year’s lineup, Ventura made it known Sunday that Beckham remains in the picture for a role that didn’t quite agree with him last season.

“It’s a possibility the way it’s shaking out right now,” Ventura said of Beckham as a No. 2 man. “That’s a possibility. You could have Alexei Ramirez) there too. There’s a few options to think about, we can tinker with.”

Going on 2013 numbers, there seems to be little need for a debate. In 142 at-bats last season in the two hole, Beckham batted .190 with a .245 on-base percentage. In 154 at-bats in the No. 8 spot he batted .325 with a .375 OBP. On the other side, Ramirez batted .288 with a .317 OBP as a No. 2 hitter.

The White Sox’s coaching staff is careful when judging spring performances, knowing that preseason statistics in the desert have their flaws. But they still want to see Beckham in action before making a lineup decision.

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Eaton gets early Konerko treatment

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
2:10
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Before new center fielder Adam Eaton even had a chance to don a full Chicago White Sox uniform for the first time, he already was exposed to the leadership of veteran Paul Konerko.

As the White Sox’s captain was preparing for his final season at his private North Scottsdale batting cage this winter, he invited fellow Scottsdale resident Adam Eaton to join him.

Forget the fact that the two barely knew each other and that their individual style of play is nothing alike, Konerko saw the opportunity to welcome aboard a new teammate and didn’t hesitate to bring him into the fold.

“It was great; he invited me out to his place a little bit, I think three or four times,” Eaton said. “I really enjoyed getting to know him. His swing too, and as a ballplayer and how he goes about his business, is something special, even at this stage of his career. He’s very focused on what he needs to get done.

“It was an honor for him to invite me out there, just to get to know him in a more on a personal way than in the cage.”

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Konerko's arrival will take center stage

February, 19, 2014
Feb 19
2:57
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Chicago White Sox are preparing for their first full-squad workout Thursday, although nearly everybody on the roster already has arrived.

[+] EnlargePaul Konerko
Joy R. Absalon/USA TODAY SportsPaul Konerko is expected to report Thursday to his final spring training as a player.
The star attraction will be captain Paul Konerko, who will arrive at camp for the final time in his career. Konerko, who signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal in the offseason, has already said that he will retire at the end of the year.

The only player not expected to be in attendance is reliever Ronald Belisario, who is being delayed in his native Venezuela by visa issues. The White Sox could know more about his situation by Monday as they anxiously await the arrival of the pitcher they signed to a $3 million deal.

The latest arrivals Tuesday were Adam Dunn and Avisail Garcia, the latter of whom faced Chris Sale and Jose Quintana in live batting practice Wednesday.

Konerko works out on his own and typically arrives on report day, although he has made early visits in the past to get a jump on his annual physical exam. Catcher Tyler Flowers already tried to tease Konerko via text for not being in camp yet and the veteran replied that he was pacing himself and referred to Flowers as "kid."

While spring training figures to be business as usual for Konerko, his real adjustment will come once the regular season starts as he adapts to more of a bench role.

"There's going to be a lot of days this year where I don't play, or I play and don't do good that day, and the end results might not be anything even close to what I've done since the playing time will be less," Konerko said at SoxFest last month. "But I know a lot of those days where I don't even play I can go home saying, 'That's a great day,' because of what I know I did.

"That's totally different than in years past where when you're that four-hole hitter, you have to carry the team at times, you have to drive in runs, you have to be the guy. If you do the other things, great, but you know everything is hinging on you producing and putting up numbers. It's different now. I still want to do well, don't get me wrong, I want to help the team win."

While Konerko's production waned sharply last season, with injuries as a major factor, all of Konerko's teammates are anxious for his arrival to kick off a send-off season.

"I wanted him to come back for one more year," Gordon Beckham said Tuesday. "I think he deserves it; I think baseball deserves it. He would never say that, but I think he needs a little bit of a victory lap. I feel like he is one of the most unsung guys in the big leagues for as good as he is.

"I think he deserves at least to be recognized throughout the year. He doesn't want that, but as his friend and a guy that respects what he has done, he deserves that."

Crowd gathering behind Beckham at 2B

February, 18, 2014
Feb 18
2:50
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Chicago White Sox have a glut of middle infielders coming up through the system, which means if Gordon Beckham has designs on holding his current job much longer, now is the time to show what he can do.

It seems to be the same mantra every spring: When will Beckham show the growth that his breakout 2009 season suggested?

[+] EnlargeBeckham
AP Photo/Paul BattagliaTwo injuries slowed Gordon Beckham last season.
Over the years, Beckham's offense struggled, but he made huge strides with his second-base defense. His power numbers climbed, but his batting average and on-base percentage were not what the White Sox were looking for from a potential No. 2 hitter.

Last year, Beckham had a chance to put it all together, but first came a broken bone in his hand, then came leg issues late in the season. He played in just 103 games last season, which is the same number he played in his rookie year, interestingly enough.

Last season's on-base percentage of .322 was second to his .347 mark in his rookie year, and while his home run total was down (mostly a result of the hand injury), his slugging percentage of .372 was his best in the past three seasons.

"Last year I felt good about what I was doing, and I think it was showing on the field," said Beckham, who made his first appearance in camp Monday. "I feel like I dealt with a lot, and I felt like I had a pretty good year last year considering how healthy I was.

"To fight through that actually gives me more confidence for this year. I think I'm in a good spot and everything feels good. I just have stay healthy. If I can stay healthy, I can do what I am capable of."

Aside from getting married this offseason, Beckham added some muscle in preparation for the season.

"I weigh maybe a little more than I have in the past coming in, but I lose a lot of weight, or I have in the past, during the season, so my idea is to bulk up a little more and lose a little bit less," he said.

Maybe the strength will help him fight off all those second-base candidates lined up behind him in the system. In big league camp alone there is Carlos Sanchez, Leury Garcia, Marcus Semien and Micah Johnson, who isn't on the 40-man roster but got an invite anyway.

Beckham, who is signed for $4.175 million this season, has one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining before he becomes a free agent in 2016. His rising salary combined with all those rising second-base prospects seem to be at odds, but Beckham remains focused on team goals over individual achievements.

"There are a lot of things that are different, and it's just a different season," Beckham said of the 2014 club. "Last year I think there were a lot of things that didn't go our way, and then it just steamrolled. If we get off to a little better start -- I'm not saying we have to get off to a good start -- but just go out there and do the fundamentals and try to relax and I think that it will all come together for us."

Abreu: 'Expectations for me are clear'

February, 18, 2014
Feb 18
12:30
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Replacing a legend like Paul Konerko at first base won't come easy, so Jose Abreu is making sure he is doing everything he can to make the transition as smooth as possible.

[+] EnlargeJose Abreu
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastNew Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has earned praise from teammates for his work ethic.
First and foremost, the Chicago White Sox's biggest offseason acquisition is going above and beyond to put in the work necessary for success as he adapts to a new country from his native Cuba.

He participated in a hitting camp in January and begged for extra at-bats. Then he arrived for spring training two weeks before the rest of the position players to get in more preparation.

Gordon Beckham arrived to camp Monday and observed that Abreu was already putting in four-hour stints in the batting cage. Adam Eaton, who has taken advantage of his residence in Scottsdale to also arrive to camp early, said that Abreu's determination oozes in his body language.

"Expectations for me are clear, but I have to prepare," Abreu said Tuesday through an interpreter. "That's all I control for now is preparation. That's what I'm doing right now."

Everything Abreu has done since signing with the White Sox has been focused and precise. The White Sox can only hope that the route Abreu takes can lead to the same place as that of countryman Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers, especially when looking at Puig's dynamic debut last season when he seemed to single-handedly turn around his team's fortunes.

Along with Puig, the Oakland Athletics' Yoenis Cespedes needed little to no learning curve upon his arrival, finishing second in the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year voting to the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout. Yet Abreu doesn't see the performances of Cespedes and Puig as a high standard that he must live up to.

"They're a great source of inspiration for me what they have been able to do," Abreu said. "I see it as that. I don't see it as, 'Hey, I have to do what they have done.' It's more like, 'It's great they have done that and it's an inspiration for me.'"

Abreu has plenty of time to show what he can do as a hitter. What the 26-year-old has already revealed is a maturity beyond his years.

"He has a great work ethic," Eaton said of the limited exposure he has had with Abreu in the past two months. "He really works his tail off. He's very quiet, but he's passionate about the game. [Taking] ground balls, anything he can do, you can see it in his body language. If he doesn't do something right, he goes after it again and learns from it. He works his butt off in the cage. I'm excited to work with him."

As for taking over at first base for Konerko -- unseating the team captain, no less -- Abreu won't take anything for granted.

"Expectations for me are clear, but I have to prepare," he said. "That's all I control for now is preparation. That's what I'm doing right now."

He even deflects all the attention he is getting, suggesting that it can all go away just as easy as it arrived.

"I'm thankful for the attention but for me, that's a source of motivation to be able to perform and prepare better so it's a good source of motivation," Abreu said.

Konerko and Abreu only met briefly during that hitting camp in January, but Abreu seems anxious to get together again. Konerko is expected in camp Thursday when position players are required to report.

"I'm very thankful to have somebody like him," Abreu said. "I want to learn a lot from him because he has had a great career, he has had great success, and I have nothing but respect for him. I'm just happy to have access to somebody like that."

Asked about his interests outside of baseball, Abreu revealed that his job is essentially his hobby as well.

"I'm a homebody," Abreu said. "I love to spend time with my family. One of the things I love to do is watch video of good old players who have done a lot of good things in baseball. ... There are a lot of names but [Josh] Hamilton, [Miguel] Cabrera."

It starts to sound too good to be true. At this point, the White Sox's chief concern must be that Abreu figures out how to pace himself for the long season. Dialing him back will be far easier to do than to convince somebody to have motivation, so in that sense it's a good problem to have.

And if his work days aren't long enough, Abreu said he is taking daily English lessons and hopes to one day do his interviews in a second language. First things first, though, Abreu wants his swing to be ready to go, not just for Opening Day, but also for the start of the Cactus League schedule at the tail-end of the month.

"Right now I'm thinking of preparing for the 28th when the games start," he said. "I'm working on little things, being able to hit the ball the other way, the way I pulls my hands through. I'm not concerned with hitting home runs at all. I'm working my swing. It's a process. It takes a little while but as I keep getting there I know I'll be ready."

Countdown to Camp: Infield

February, 4, 2014
Feb 4
2:22
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Jose AbreuAP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastThe addition of Jose Abreu makes filling out the lineup at first base and DH a bit more complicated for Robin Ventura.
With Chicago White Sox spring training set to begin Feb. 15 when pitchers and catchers report in Glendale, Ariz., we’re taking an early look around the diamond.

Anybody who asks will get the same response: The White Sox do not believe their logjam of lumbering power-hitting first baseman will be an issue for anybody involved.

Perhaps everybody involved will go in with the right idea on how to deal with the situation, but plenty of questions remain when it comes to how the situation will work. How will Paul Konerko adjust to far less at-bats this season? How will Adam Dunn ever get into any kind of groove when his plate appearances are sporadic?

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At this point, everybody is impressed with the raw talent shown by new first baseman Jose Abreu. The reality, though, is the early glimpse at Abreu's ability came in a couple of batting-practice sessions in Arizona. Much more will be known once he faces live pitching, although his ability compares favorably to that of fellow Cubans Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig, both of whom have fared well on the big-league level.

In the final year of his contract, Dunn can't be pleased with a situation where he can't prove himself before heading into free agency. And the White Sox will probably miss out on the best season Dunn could have delivered them. The facts are that Dunn's failure to meet expectations forced the White Sox to look to the future and when Abreu was available this offseason they elected to pounce.

Gordon Beckham continues his effort to live up to expectations. His latest setback was a slew of injuries last season from a broken bone in his hand to leg issues late in the year. With free agency on the horizon in 2016, Beckham has a lot to prove.

There is no way to sugar-coat it, Alexei Ramirez was a major disappointment last season. His goal was to improve his run-producing numbers but his home run and RBI numbers were the lowest of his six seasons. And instead of developing into a Gold Glove-caliber defender, Ramirez has been far off that lofty status. He seems more than capable of improvement in that department.

The battle at third base should be the most spirited in camp this spring. Newcomer Matt Davidson will get every chance to prove himself, but Marcus Semien and Conor Gillaspie won't make it easy on the former highly-rated prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks system. The White Sox will not hesitate to send Davidson down for more seasoning if his strikeout totals are high and his defense looks less-than polished.

OUTLOOK: Changes always brings about a bit of the unknown, especially on defense. It has the potential to work out just fine up the middle if Beckham and Ramirez can play to their capabilities. Abreu's defense is reportedly middle-of-the pack when compared to others in the major leagues, but the White Sox quickly disputed that assessment. If Dunn is at DH against right-handers and Konerko hits against lefties, that could bode well for Dunn's playing time. While all indications are that manager Robin Ventura goes with his hottest hand, the guess here is that Konerko sees more time in his farewell season.

Sox: 'No grief about our mascot'

January, 22, 2014
Jan 22
3:50
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Don’t try telling elementary school children that mascots are a waste of time.

While the Chicago Cubs have been getting criticism this month for introducing the first mascot in team history, the Chicago White Sox had another opportunity to see Wednesday how a friendly furry creature can stir the next generation of fans.

[+] EnlargeSouthpaw, the Chicago White Sox mascot, has been a big hit with young fans.
Ron Vesely/Getty ImagesSouthpaw
White Sox manager Robin Ventura and second baseman Gordon Beckham were greeted with moderate applause when introduced to a portion of the student body at McClellan Elementary School on the South Side.

When the White Sox mascot Southpaw was introduced, though, there was a welcoming high-pitched shrill at least triple of anything either the manager or the player received.

Beckham read to the students an anti-bullying story. Southpaw, who was the main character of the narrative, acted out the scenes along with help from students and faculty. Both Ventura and Beckham are in town in advance of SoxFest this weekend at the Palmer House Hilton.

“Southpaw has done a great job of starting this campaign and the White Sox have continued it,” Ventura said. “To do it at a school so close to the stadium, it’s special. They are right in your backyard and it’s fun for us to be able to come and do this.”

(Read full post)

Prior moves lessen Tanaka sting

January, 22, 2014
Jan 22
2:54
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Even though the Chicago White Sox failed to land the biggest prize on the free-agent market this winter, the events surrounding the pursuit of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka seemed to have left more optimism than disappointment.

Both manager Robin Ventura and second baseman Gordon Beckham said Wednesday that the fact that the White Sox were willing to pursue Tanaka seemed to bode well for the future.

“You don’t sit there and get into the nuts and bolts of it unless you are going to be serious about it,” said Ventura, who met with Tanaka earlier this month in Los Angeles, along with general manager Rick Hahn and executive vice president Kenny Williams. “They were serious. I appreciate trying to get us better players.”

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OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Ramirez 4
RBIA. Ramirez 14
RA. Eaton 15
OPSA. Ramirez 1.044
WC. Sale 3
ERAC. Sale 2.30
SOC. Sale 29