Chicago White Sox: Robin Ventura

Abreu welcomes return of power game

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
11:06
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The dog days have arrived, the Chicago White Sox are slipping even further in the standings, and the start of school has brought with it a hit in attendance for a team that was already having its issues drawing fans.

Through it all, Jose Abreu has remained a must-see attraction, even as a dip in power recently seemed to reduce him to a singles hitter who exchanged run-production numbers for batting average prowess.

[+] EnlargeJose Abreu
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastJose Abreu had not hit a home run since July 29 before he connected for one Tuesday in the White Sox's loss the Orioles.
On Tuesday, though, the power returned in the form of a 405-foot home run, Abreu's first since July 29 and first in 77 plate appearances. It ended up being the White Sox's only run in a 5-1 defeat in front of 13,307 fans that left the club 4-9 over its past 13 games.

"It's one of those things that's part of the game," Abreu said through an interpreter. "It happened to me in Cuba before, and I know it's one of those things you go through in a season. But today I was glad and thankful I was able to make good contact, and tomorrow I may have another one. As long as we're helping the team, that's a good thing."

Of all the impressive things Abreu has done this season, add navigating the waters of a home-run drought to the list.

The 27-year-old rookie could have handled the lack of power so much different. He could have started pressing to hit home runs, knowing that his team needed the runs as the struggles of the second half started to mount.

Instead, Abreu showed his professional side as the long balls started to wane. From July 30 (the day after his 31st home run) until Aug. 18 (the day before his 32nd home run), Abreu stayed focused by taking advantage of what pitchers gave him.

He batted .318 over that 18-game run with a .408 on-base percentage, and still managed to drive in six runs and score eight times even though the offense around him was falling flat.

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Ventura left to pick bullpen's lock

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
6:44
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Like using chess pieces to play checkers, or fixing your car with lawnmower parts, Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura is going to have to figure out a way to be creative when it comes to his struggling bullpen.

Fresh off the latest meltdown Monday night, it's not as if Ventura has a whole lot of options to make it better. Rosters will expand Sept. 1 so the White Sox are inside of two weeks remaining before some help arrives, but those minor-league reinforcements carry their own question marks.

Ventura is left with nothing to do but play matchups and hope his hunches are correct.

"You can sit there and overanalyze it," Ventura said. "It's being too much in the middle of the plate more than anything. You continue to work at it and hopefully they can work themselves through a period of being more successful at doing that."

Trailing 3-2 to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, Ronald Belisario, Eric Surkamp and Matt Lindstrom combined to give up five runs in the eighth inning, which put the game out of reach.

The White Sox's bullpen has a 9.70 ERA in 42 2/3 innings this month, which has raised the group's overall ERA this season from 3.81 to 4.49.

Belisario, who was the closer at one point this season, has given up 14 runs (12 earned) over his last eight games. Lindstrom has been a shell of his former self since coming off the disabled list Aug. 12, giving up six runs in three outings. All four batters he faced Monday reached base.

Surkamp had been sent back to Triple-A Charlotte but came back this past weekend when Javy Guerra was put on the bereavement list. Daniel Webb has been hit or miss of late, giving up a run in each of his first four outings this month, as he works on control issues.

Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka have been as dependable as the current group of relievers get, but Ventura isn't able to use them every night. He is going to have to find spots where the other relievers can have some success.

"That's always the toughest part," Ventura said about figuring out the best reliever combinations on a nightly basis. "Bullpen stuff, if it goes well nobody says anything. When it doesn't go well, that becomes a focal point. They're frustrated like everybody else. You have to continue to work at it and fight through it."

The downward spiral is now cyclical. Poor results are leading to a lack of confidence and a lack of confidence is leading to more poor results.

"It's like anything else," Ventura said. "Like with hitting, you get one hit one day then you don't get hits the next three days, it's the same. It's an unforgiving position. The bullpen is a glaring position. You come in, you get everybody out, it's great, and if you don't it's sitting there for everyone else to see. It's always going to be that kind of position. When it goes well it's great, when it doesn't it doesn't make you feel good."

It seems to have gotten so bad, that there is a reluctance to attack hitters and take control of at-bats. It is the opposing hitters who are dictating the action at this point.

"If you have good hitters you have to pitch inside, and establish that and your offspeed stuff," Ventra said. "Being in the middle of the plate, more often you're going to get hit like that. Last night we definitely missed some spots. That's part of it, but to get people out you have to establish your fastball inside."

Conor Gillaspie hitting his stride

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
6:49
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Even without the kind of power he flashed Sunday, Conor Gillaspie has managed to show this season that he has long-term potential at third base for the Chicago White Sox.

As recently as the start of the season, that didn't seem a likely scenario. Gillaspie had a tendency to overthink things and failed to show consistency at the plate last year (his first with the White Sox), and his defense raised some red flags.

The White Sox even went out and traded closer Addison Reed to get power-hitting third baseman Matt Davidson into the system. If Gillaspie was prone to having his mind moving too fast, the presence of Davidson would surely spin him off his axis.

Instead, the Wichita State product has managed to lock in, mentally. He beat Davidson for the third-base spot this spring and has not looked back. After posting a batting average that reached as high as .353, on June 9, Gillaspie entered Sunday seventh in the American League with a .311 mark.

[+] EnlargeConor Gillaspie
David Banks/USA TODAY SportsThe White Sox gave up major league talent to get Gillaspie, who is in the AL's top 10 in batting average after a forgettable 2013 season.
"He's getting better at third base, so I think the way he swings the bat, he's definitely a piece that you like, and he's a good player," manager Robin Ventura said when asked if Gillaspie has developed into a core player. "I think on winning teams he's going to be a good player."

If there was an area Gillaspie seemed to sacrifice to get more base hits, it was the power department, but he showed Sunday that he hasn't given up on taking pitchers deep. His first-inning grand slam started the White Sox on their way to a 7-5 victory and a series win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Gillaspie is far from power obsessed, though. Instead of trying to add the power element now that he is settling into an everyday, big league role, he seems just fine being a contact guy who takes the home runs when they come.

"Like I've been [saying] all year, I try not to give away at-bats," Gillaspie said. "It's a bad feeling when you go up there and, for whatever reason, you don't compete or you take an at-bat off. No matter what the results are, that's a bad feeling. I went through it a lot last year, and I've been through it at times this year, so I always try to do my best to do the right thing when I'm up there, and I try to think ahead.

"The home runs are great, but at the end of the day, regardless of what happens hit-wise, if I'm not giving away at-bats, I at least know I'm putting in the effort and I didn't take at-bats off."

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Rapid Reaction: White Sox 7, Blue Jays 5

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
4:11
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 7-5 on Sunday to win their first series since the start of August.

How it happened: The White Sox opened with a six-run first inning and then held on for the victory. Conor Gillaspie hit a grand slam to get the White Sox on the board and Jordan Danks followed with a two-run home run. Scott Carroll worked in and out of trouble to earn the victory, giving up five runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings. Four White Sox relievers combined to take it the rest of the way, with Jake Petricka pitching the ninth inning to earn his ninth save.

What it means: Things haven’t gone so well of late, but the White Sox managed to make a positive out of the weekend. Not only did they win the series against the Blue Jays by taking two out of three games, the offense resurfaced in victories Friday and Sunday. And even in the game they did lose Saturday, Avisail Garcia returned to the lineup, and Mark Buehrle was celebrated in his first start as an opponent at U.S. Cellular Field. It was the White Sox's first series victory this month.

Outside the box: Showing he’s not just a batter who hits for average, Gillaspie tapped into his power side with his grand slam. It was just the fifth home run of the season for the third baseman, who hit 13 for the White Sox in 134 games last year. At the start of the day, Gillaspie’s .311 batting average was seventh best in the American League. Jose Abreu's .306 average was 10th best and Adam Eaton’s .304 mark was 11th.

Off beat: This time, manager Robin Ventura avoided an ejection when a call at home plate didn’t go his team’s way. The White Sox appeared to get Jose Reyes at the plate in the first inning when he stepped on catcher Adrian Nieto's leg and was tagged out. After a replay review, though, it was determined that Nieto blocked the plate and the run was allowed to score. On Wednesday at San Francisco, Ventura was ejected and subsequently fined when an apparent out at home was reviewed and the run was allowed to score.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander Chris Sale (10-2, 2.01 ERA) to the mound Monday against Baltimore in the opener of a three-game series. The Orioles will counter with right-hander Bud Norris (10-7, 3.75) in the 7:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Ventura fined for dirt-kicking incident

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
12:01
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura was fined an undisclosed amount for his on-field tirade Wednesday at San Francisco when he argued with crew chief Fieldin Culbreth and kicked dirt on home plate.

Ventura was upset that a call was overturned, allowing Gregor Blanco to score a run for the Giants. Catcher Tyler Flowers tagged out Blanco, but the umpires used replay to determine that Flowers blocked the path to the plate. A day earlier, umpires reviewed a similar call with the Giants on defense, but allowed the out to stand.

Asked if he was fined before Sunday’s game, Ventura answered with a simple, “yes,” but gave no other details. Asked if the fine could have paid for a lavish party, Ventura said “yes” again before walking away.

Ventura did not specify if he was fined over and above the regular amount given to players, managers and coaches when they are ejected.

MLB rules prohibit managers from arguing with umpires after a replay decision has been made.

Buehrle, Garcia highlight night of returns

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
11:22
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- It was a night of big returns Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field as Mark Buehrle came back to pitch in his old ballpark and Avisail Garcia took the field again far earlier than what was originally projected.

It gave Chicago White Sox fans plenty to cheer about on a night that was far more energetic than most have been this season.

“It's fun to have a lot of people here, obviously,” said John Danks, who started for the White Sox opposite Buehrle and his Toronto Blue Jays. “We know the reason why and whatnot, but nonetheless it was a good atmosphere; it was fun to pitch.”

For Buehrle, the thank yous were delivered in four separate standing ovations, two before the game even began. And on multiple occasions Buehrle acknowledged those who had his back for 12 seasons on the South Side.

It seemed only fitting that when Garcia got the White Sox on the board finally with an RBI single in the sixth inning, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons removed Buehrle from the game. It was a symbolic torch passing in a lot of ways from the guy the fans came to honor in Buehrle to Garcia, who has returned to pick up where he left off when he went out with a serious shoulder injury in April.

Buehrle raised both arms in the air when he walked off the field, waving to the first- and third-base sides.

Immediately afterward, he wondered if that was the proper thing to do.

“I actually texted [Paul] Konerko and kind of apologized and said, ‘Hey, I hope nobody is pissed on the team that I tipped my hat kind of walking off the field,’ because I don’t know what the rule is as far as being a visitor and kind of tipping your hat,” Buehrle said.

“It’s one of those things that I didn’t want to piss anybody off on the other team, but at the same time the reaction I was getting from the crowd, I felt it was right.”

If anybody felt it was improper that Buehrle showed his appreciation to the outpouring of love and support, they probably will be sent lumps of coal at Christmas.

“Obviously coming out of the dugout and running out, fans started chanting and going crazy, but I just tried to focus and realize what I had to do,” Buehrle said. “The reception I got, I was kind of thinking it might be good. But what they did, coming off the field, every time I ran out, to hear people cheering, walking off around the dugout, it was exceptional.”

During Garcia’s first at-bat after four months away because of surgery to the labrum on his left shoulder, the cheers weren’t as intense as those Buehrle received. That changed eventually as the burly outfielder doubled during his first at-bat. He lined out to center in the fourth inning before his sixth-inning RBI single.

“It was great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Garcia’s return. “I think it’s a shot in the arm for us, adding another bat. I think he’s really excited. You can see it in the way he was playing.

“He’s a great player and we’re excited to have him back. I think he showed the talent that he has and why we’re excited about having him.”

Buehrle and Garcia admitted to being more nervous than they expected, although Buehrle said he was actually more anxious to talk to the media Friday.

“Honestly, I told my wife I was so glad Friday was over,” Buehrle said. “Pitching today, I knew there was going to be some emotions and nerves going, but it's just kind of what do you do.”

Garcia’s early nerves came with a little confusion attached.

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Rapid Reaction: Blue Jays 6, White Sox 3

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
9:06
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO – After the Chicago White Sox’s 6-3 defeat Saturday, their series with the Toronto Blue Jays was evened at a game each.

How it happened: After Mark Buehrle and John Danks pitched to a duel over six innings, the Blue Jays scored three times against reliever Matt Lindstrom to take over the game. Buehrle, in his first start at U.S. Cellular Field since he left the White Sox after the 2011 season, gave up three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Danks gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings. Avisail Garcia had two hits and an RBI in his return to action after labrum surgery on his left shoulder in April.

What it means: The most important aspect of Garcia’s return is that he gets 40 games of big league experience down the stretch that he would have lost had he missed the entire season. The White Sox insist they are not rushing Garcia’s return and doctors have cleared every step of his rehab. It also gives the club a month and a half to see how Garcia and Jose Abreu can feed off each other in the same lineup.

Outside the box: With Garcia back, the White Sox are looking at a platoon in left field, with Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza. Viciedo got the start Saturday against the lefty Buehrle, and it could be De Aza’s turn Sunday since the Blue Jays have a right-hander on the mound. It will be interesting to see if White Sox manager Robin Ventura sticks to a strict lefty-righty platoon or if he gives Viciedo some chances against right-handed pitching.

Offbeat: There were plenty of standing ovations for Buehrle, including when he went to the bullpen to warm up, returned to the dugout after warming up, took the field in the first inning and left the game in the sixth inning. Credit the Blue Jays players for letting Buehrle take the field by himself in the first inning. Buehrle raised his arms and waved to the crowd when he left the field in the sixth.

Up next: The White Sox will send right-hander Scott Carroll (4-7, 4.81 ERA) to the mound Sunday in the finale of the three-game series. The Blue Jays will counter with right-hander Drew Hutchinson (8-10, 4.60) in the 1:10 p.m. CT start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Abreu still delivers without HRs

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
12:04
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- A night like Friday just might give Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreu that second wind he is looking for.

Abreu hasn't hit a home run since July 29, but he gladly will take the three RBIs he delivered on two singles, all before the sixth inning of an eventual 11-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Abreu finished the night with three hits, all singles.

[+] EnlargeJose Abreu
David Banks/Getty ImagesJose Abreu's power numbers may have stalled recently, but he knocked in three more runs Friday in a win over the Blue Jays.
Even if Abreu didn't play another inning this season he essentially has the American League Rookie of the Year honor wrapped up. He not only entered play Friday tied for the major-league lead in home runs with 31, but his 86 RBIs were also tied for the lead and nobody had a better slugging percentage than his .600 mark.

Now 122 games into his first major-league season, Abreu acknowledged the physical toll the season has taken. He has also refused to give into the exhaustion.

"The reality is that it is a long season, but the reality too is that we have only a few games left," he said through an interpreter. "That's the way it is. But I am working daily to be able to combat being tired.

"I knew this. Many people mentioned this to me that it's going to be a long season. Fortunately, I've been taking care of myself physically to be able to stand up to this right now. And I continue to do it. Nothing is going to change. I'm going to continue to work until we get to the end of the season."

Instead of calling his power dip the result of tired muscles, Abreu prefers to look at it as a typical hiccup during a long season. He has only three extra-base hits, all doubles, since hitting his last home run.

"I see that as something normal, and to be honest with you, it's something that happened to me in Cuba," Abreu said. "There'd be a time where I would hit home runs a whole week, a whole bunch of home runs. There'd be a time when I would cool off a little bit. So I see it as something normal. It's nothing to be concerned with, and I know I'm going to come out of it."

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Cooper back, blasts ump decision in SF

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
7:53
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Pitching coach Don Cooper is back and as feisty as ever.

After missing most of the past three weeks because of vertigo related to an inner-ear infection, Cooper was in the clubhouse Friday and fighting mad about an on-field ruling during the team's game in San Francisco.

Cooper initially unleashed his venom verbally, at the television screen, after Tyler Flowers was ruled to have blocked the plate during Wednesday's game. Flowers easily tagged out Gregor Blanco at home, but upon replay review, the call was changed, and the run was allowed to score. On a similar play one night earlier, with Giants catcher Buster Posey at the plate, the call was not reversed, and the White Sox did not get a run.

"We got f---ed in San Francisco," Cooper said. "[Pitcher Jose Quintana] found another way to get f---ed. That rule has got to be changed. It's ridiculous. The whole thing about getting replay is to get the play right. They had the f---ing thing right. He's out by 10 feet. That's going to be tweaked I'm sure, but that doesn’t stop us.

"They took a game from us as a team, and they f---ed our pitcher. I'm not in favor of either one of those things. They need to figure that s--- out."

Clearly Cooper is back and ready to do all he can for the White Sox.

"I thought I could be here earlier, but again, I couldn't," he said. "I knew the first day that I'm just not up to doing the whole job. But going to therapy and doing a whole bunch of stuff, I actually feel a whole lot better. I'm not 100 percent, but the doctor said I could come and be here, and I can go to work.

"My balance is much better. My equilibrium is much better. Dizziness is much better. I've been getting lots of letters and/or phone calls from people and fans that have had and deal with this. I appreciate everybody's concern. And I'm back."

Manager Robin Ventura was appreciative of having his pitching coach on the bench again.

"He does feel better, and he's talking a lot, so that's good," Ventura said. "You have a guy who's not feeling good, and it's frustrating for him, I know. We like having him here, so it's just 'take it as it goes,' but I'm glad to have him back, and I know he's excited to be here. We'll see how it goes."

Could Avisail Garcia return this weekend?

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
6:01
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Once expected to be lost for the season, outfielder Avisail Garcia could be back in a Chicago White Sox uniform and on the field before the weekend ends.

“It could be; you never know,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “For him, you’ve got to make sure he feels comfortable enough that he has the right amount of at-bats that when he comes up here, you don’t want him feeling like he’s still a step behind of feeling totally ready to go.”

Garcia suffered a shoulder injury while diving for a ball in April and had subsequent surgery to repair the labrum in his left shoulder. Originally, the White Sox projected Garcia’s return for spring training 2015 with the possibility he could play winter ball before that.

When Garcia started progressing quickly, a September timetable was set. And after more than two weeks of playing rehab games at Triple-A Charlotte, the power-hitting threat is showing he is healthy again.

“I think in spring training you’d probably have around 55 to 60 at-bats that you would feel comfortable with him, so he is getting closer,” Ventura said. “I know he’s been playing a lot in the outfield, so that’s good news.”

Through Thursday, Garcia had 50 at-bats with Charlotte over 13 games. He was batting .340 with three doubles and a home run.

Garcia might not make a difference when it comes to making a playoff push, but the White Sox would be interested in seeing how he and Jose Abreu can feed off each other in the same lineup. The club only saw what the duo looked like for eight games before Garcia went out.

“It would be a great thing if he would be able to come back. Obviously because of the effort that he’s put in to get back, but also because he’s going to help us as a team,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “I just thank God that he’s been able to do what he’s been able to do. That wasn’t easy. It took a lot of effort from him to work and to get where he’s at right now.”

Series preview: White Sox at Mariners

August, 7, 2014
Aug 7
1:10
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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As the dog days of August have arrived, the Chicago White Sox might actually be favoring hotel beds and restaurant meals over all the comforts of home.

A just-completed six-game homestand saw the White Sox's pitching staff implode twice by giving up 16 runs in single games to both the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers. The White Sox won just twice in the six games, managing one victory despite giving up eight runs and another that was called after seven innings because of rain.

The way manager Robin Ventura see it, with how the White Sox performed at home, their level of play can only get better.

"Either way we're going to play better whether it's (home) or on the road," Ventura said after Wednesday's 3-1 defeat to the Rangers. "Put this behind you and start focusing on playing better baseball. You get that hit to fall in, but we need to be able to play a little bit better."

The White Sox are six games under .500 on the road this season at 26-32, but away games have been better of late. The White Sox won two of three games at Detroit in their last road series, having success despite the distraction of the pending trade deadline.

In fact, the White Sox went 5-2 on their seven game tour through Minnesota and Detroit.

The West Coast hasn't always been kind to the White Sox, of course. They were 5-1 at Seattle in 2011 and 3-0 there in 2012, but went 1-2 there last year and are 27-32 all-time at Safeco Field. This season, the White Sox are 3-6 in games west of the Rocky Mountains.

HEAD TO HEAD



The White Sox's Jose Abreu and Dayan Viciedo, both natives of Cuba, each have a home run against Mariners starter Roenis Elias, who also hails from Cuba. ... The nine White Sox hitters who have faced Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma are a combined 6-for-54 (.111) against him with 11 strikeouts. ... Mariners starter James Paxton has never faced the White Sox and has made just seven career major league starts. ... White Sox starter Scott Carroll will make his first appearance against the Mariners. ... The Mariners' Kyle Seager has just one hit against White Sox starter Jose Quintana in seven at-bats, but the hit is a home run. ... Hector Noesi faced his former team, the Mariners, on July 6, going 6 2/3 scoreless innings in an eventual 1-0 White Sox victory. ... New Mariners outfielder Austin Jackson is 18-for-45 (.400) in his career against White Sox starter John Danks, with three home runs and seven RBIs.

NOTES



The White Sox have scored just one run over their last 18 innings, a home run from Viciedo in the seventh inning Wednesday. ... Adam Eaton's availability is questionable Thursday after he crashed into the right-center field fence at full speed Wednesday and had to leave the game. ... White Sox pitchers have allowed 11 home runs over the past four games. ... While the White Sox's bullpen has been struggling, right-hander Jake Petricka has delivered a 1.08 ERA over his last nine appearances. ... The White Sox's Alexei Ramirez is on a nine-game hitting streak, hitting .395 (15-for-38) over that stretch. ... Alejandro De Aza has delivered at least two hits in five of his last six games and is 10-for-20 (.500) over that period. ... The wild-card contending Mariners are just 28-31 at home this season. ... While the White Sox's bullpen is 13th in the American League with a 4.44 ERA, Mariners relievers lead the AL with a 2.36 mark.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Thursday: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (4-6, 4.36 ERA) vs. Mariners LH Roenis Elias (8-9, 4.19), 9:10 p.m. CST
Friday: White Sox LH Jose Quintana (6-7, 3.04) vs. Mariners RH Hisashi Iwakuma (9-6, 2.94), 9:10 p.m. CST
Saturday: White Sox RH Hector Noesi (6-8, 4.97) vs. Mariners LH James Paxton (2-0, 2.76), 8:10 p.m. CST
Sunday: White Sox LH John Danks (9-7, 4.93) vs. TBA, 3:10 p.m. CST

As Sox slide, Eaton won't give up fight

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
5:13
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- As bad as the Chicago White Sox have been of late – a struggle that includes the pitching staff, defense and now offense – they still have somebody willing to pay the ultimate price for success.

Adam Eaton refuses to slow down, even with the White Sox fading fast in the won-loss columns. His 11-game hit streak and 21-game on-base streak might be finished, but his full-speed crash into the right-center field fence Wednesday showed that he still has plenty of fight left in him.

[+] EnlargeAdam Eaton
David Banks/USA TODAY SportsAdam Eaton said his back suffered the brunt of the pain from his full-speed crash into the fence in right-center field.
Not only did Eaton have to leave the game in the second inning against the Texas Rangers, he required X-rays, which came back negative. Despite going face-first into the fence, his biggest issue was with his lower back.

“I’ve been better,” Eaton said. “I’ve never done that before. I’m a little embarrassed. But my back kind of took a beating a little bit there. I’m very happy that it wasn’t my head. I thought that I went into the wall pretty hard.

Eaton sounded as if he wouldn’t be able to play Thursday in Seattle, but he said he would let the four-hour flight to the West Coast determine his fate. From the way he struggled to put on his dress clothes for the plane ride, playing Thursday seems highly unlikely.

Eaton obviously hit the fence running forward in a full sprint, but the impact was so violent that the energy transfer affected his back.

“I think it was the kind of snap, coming back,” Eaton said. “As soon as I hit the wall, that was my initial feeling. I felt a little tension in the back. Not a pop but definitely felt it. It was kind of scary. (Dayan Viciedo) kind of kept trying to pick me up. I told him to leave me alone, I can’t even breathe. Let me catch my breath. It knocked the wind out of me.”

Eaton said he was glad a head injury wasn’t involved and he didn’t have a concussion, but when asked about the homestand he couldn’t think of who the White Sox played before the Ranges were in town. He also couldn’t remember how many games the team won or lost since the homestand started Friday.

For the record, the White Sox went 2-4 during the six-game home games, and the pitching staff gave up 16 runs to the Twins on Sunday and another 16 to the Rangers on Tuesday.

With some rough defeats in mind, manager Robin Ventura was more than appreciative for a player fighting to keep the losses from mounting, although a defeat happened anyway Wednesday. Ventura did not knock Eaton’s effort, which some might have viewed as reckless.

“He’s going after everything; that’s just the way he plays,” Ventura said. “You don’t want to take that away from him. He has done the same thing and made some great catches. That’s part of playing the game. It wasn’t necessarily silly. He thought he had a shot at it and it ended up carrying out of the ballpark. Right there, the way the wind blows, it can ride through that area and just keep sailing. He thought he had a shot at it at first.”

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Cooper to miss series at Seattle

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
1:59
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
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CHICAGO -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, who has been suffering from the dizzying effects of vertigo for the past two weeks, will miss at least the upcoming series at Seattle.

Cooper was around the team for this past weekend’s series against the Minnesota Twins, but left the ballpark before Monday’s game against the Texas Rangers and hasn’t been back.

“He’s off the flight today,” manager Robin Ventura said. “I would say he’s out of the Seattle series. He’s just not feeling any better. It wouldn’t do him any good to get him on a plane. The doctors have basically said ‘Don’t fly. That would be the worst thing you could do right now.’ Just be here, get some treatment and figure out what’s going on.”

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August return for Garcia not ruled out

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
1:32
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- That timetable for Avisail Garcia's return keeps getting closer and closer.

Where it was once thought that Garcia would have to wait until spring training to return to the White Sox, that belief was recently amended to the chance that the outfielder could come back when rosters are expanded in September.

Suddenly, it is starting to look like Garcia could come back from his April shoulder surgery by the end of this month.

“It’s possible,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You look at what he’s doing right now, where he’s at, you don’t want any setbacks. But if there are no setbacks, if he’s available and ready to play, you’d like to have him. “

In four games of his injury rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte, Garcia is 8-for-15 with a home run, showing his batting eye has returned quickly.

“It’s nice to see,” Ventura said. “I think it just shows the kind of work he did while he was up here, not only just the rehab stuff, but staying in baseball shape. It shows just being around it is helpful also. As soon as he was available to get on the field he was out there. He was the first guy there pretty much every day.”

The White Sox have insisted from the start that Garcia’s recovery won’t be rushed. If he returns to the team it’s only because he has nothing more to prove in his rehab assignment.

“He just needs more time,” Ventura said. “I’ve seen some guys that have done that before, where you go down there and don’t get much time and you come up here and there will still be a breaking-in period just like there is in spring training. Hopefully he gets that down there.”

83 mph? Dunn claims more is in tank

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
12:48
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Adam DunnJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesSox slugger Adam Dunn finally got his wish to pitch, throwing one inning in a blowout loss Tuesday.


CHICAGO -- For those who take their baseball like the military treats wake-up calls, this one is not for you.

For those who aren’t afraid to indulge in a slice of cake every once in a while, well, Adam Dunn brought the batter, the frosting, one of those knives that doubles as a spatula, and a whole stack of plates.

Dunn, who left before talking about his one-inning pitching performance Tuesday night, addressed the event Wednesday, shocked to learn it resonated so well among many.

“I didn’t think it would be this big of a deal,” he said, while still in street clothes Wednesday morning. “I thought it would just be a big deal to me.”

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SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
10 2.12 158 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAC. Gillaspie .309
HRJ. Abreu 32
RBIJ. Abreu 90
RJ. Abreu 65
OPSJ. Abreu .956
ERAC. Sale 2.12
SOC. Sale 158