White Sox

Adam Eaton ejected after White Sox-Royals game ends

Adam Eaton ejected after White Sox-Royals game ends

White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton was ejected by home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt on Friday night -- but his booting, oddly, came after the game ended. 

Eaton struck out looking to end the White Sox 4-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals and, after saying something to Wendelstedt, was tossed even though there was no longer a game from which to throw him out. 

Eaton's strikeout looking was the eighth the White Sox took Friday night, and an inconsistent strike zone was the root of his grievance. 

"It’s tough when you strike out and you only saw one strike and you didn’t take the bat off your shoulder, it’s pretty tough to hit like that," Eaton said. "I think most guys didn’t like the inconsistency all night. Like I said, it’s tough. I think I know the zone pretty well. The at-bat before that, the first pitch I didn’t really like, and he told me to go look at it. So I went down and looked at it, and at the end of the game, I told him I looked at it, and it wasn’t a strike, either.

"Like I said, the inconsistencies are tough to deal with as a hitter. Hitting is hard enough as it is, and when you have those inconsistencies, it makes it even more hard – especially Wade Davis throwing 95-plus. Very difficult. I think he heard my displeasures. But new day tomorrow. Those guys have got a job to do and we do, too, so we’ll get back at it."

According to Brooks Baseball's strike zone plots, Eaton and the White Sox had legitimate gripes with a handful of calls throughout the evening (called strikes for Kansas City pitchers are the red triangles):

There are a couple of blatant called strikes out of the zone here, and a few borderline ones that weren't consistently called. That the White Sox struck out looking eight times sticks out, and while the Royals didn't have any backwards-K's, that's probably normal for an aggressive lineup that's generally focused on putting the ball in play. 

White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier expressed some displeasure toward Wendelstedt after Joakim Soria had a fastball called a strike in the seventh, and Eaton's strange ejection was the culmination of a frustrating day at the plate for the entire lineup. 

Eaton isn't expected to receive any additional discipline because of the timing of his ejection.

"He's going to be in the lineup tomorrow," Ventura said, adding some deadpan analysis: "This game he's out. He couldn't have come back and played in this game."

This was Eaton's second career ejection (his first came in September 2014 against the Minnesota Twins). He's not the first player to earn a postgame ejection, either -- Mike Aviles was tossed after a game in 2013, for example. 

"I think he (Wendelstedt) understands my frustrations," Eaton said. "Umpiring is very difficult. I understand that, I really do. But like I said, when you strike balls with such conviction, I have a problem with it."

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

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AP

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Some teams have it easy, with their 25-man rosters seemingly locked into place before spring training games even start.

The White Sox actually have a lot more locked-down spots than you might think for a rebuilding team, but this spring remains pretty important for a few guys.

The starting rotation figures to be set, with James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer the starting five. Carlos Rodon, of course, owns one of those spots once he returns from injury. But the date of that return remains a mystery.

From this observer’s viewpoint, eight of the everyday nine position players seem to be figured out, too: Welington Castillo behind the plate, Jose Abreu at first base, Yoan Moncada at second base, Tim Anderson at shortstop, Yolmer Sanchez at third base, Nicky Delmonico in left field, Avisail Garcia in right field and Matt Davidson as the designated hitter. More on the omission of a starting center fielder in a bit.

Omar Narvaez would be a logical pick to back up Castillo at catcher, and Tyler Saladino is really the lone reserve infielder with big league experience, not to mention he’s a versatile player that can play anywhere on the infield.

Leury Garcia also figures to be a lock for this 25-man roster. But will he be the everyday center fielder, as he was for a spell last season? He played 51 games in center in 2017 but battled injuries throughout the year. I think Leury Garcia will end up the starting center fielder when the season begins because of his bat. His .270/.316/.423 slash line isn’t going to make anyone do cartwheels, but it’s better than the offensive struggles of Adam Engel, who started 91 games in center in 2017 and slashed .166/.235/.282. Engel would still be a solid inclusion on the bench because of his superb defense, but to create that big a hole in the everyday lineup is tough.

How could that position-player group change? Keep your eyes in center field, where there are a couple other guys who could force their way into a roster spot this spring: Charlie Tilson and Ryan Cordell. Tilson has had a tremendous amount of trouble staying on the field since coming over to the White Sox in a 2016 deadline deal, but that hasn’t dampened the White Sox hopes for him. And Cordell got name-dropped by general manager Rick Hahn during SoxFest, when the GM said he’s received multiple calls about Cordell since acquiring him last summer. Cordell put up good numbers at the Triple-A level prior to a significant injury last year.

But the main battles figure to be in the bullpen. At times this winter, as the White Sox kept adding players to that relief corps mix, that the whole thing seemed wide open. But when you think about it, maybe there are only one or two open spots.

You’d have to think these guys are pretty safe bets to make the team: Juan Minaya, Gregory Infante, Nate Jones, Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan. Though Hector Santiago was just recently acquired on a minor league deal, he’s really the only long man of the group, and he could sub in if there’s an injury to a starting pitcher. That leaves two spots between the group of Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar, Jace Fry, Jose Ruiz and Thyago Vieira — not to mention guys signed to minor league deals like Xavier Cedeno, Jeanmar Gomez and Bruce Rondon.

Bummer had a 4.50 ERA in 30 big league games last year. Farquhar had a 4.40 ERA in 15 games. Vieira has gotten attention as a flame-thrower, but he’s got just one big league game under his belt, something that might or might not matter to the rebuilding White Sox. Guys like Gomez, who has 40 career saves including 37 just two years ago, and Rondon, who had multiple shots at the Detroit Tigers’ closing job in the past, could vault themselves into the mix as potential midseason trade candidates.

Then there's the question of which of those guys will be Rick Renteria's closer. Minaya had closing duties after most of the bullpen was traded away last summer. He picked up nine saves and posted a 4.11 ERA in his final 17 appearances of the campaign. Look to Soria, though, a veteran with plenty of closing experience from his days with the Kansas City Royals. If he's given the opportunity to close and succeeds, he could fetch an intriguing return package in a potential deadline deal.

But now it's game time in Arizona.

“The fun part of playing the game of baseball is playing the game of baseball," Renteria said earlier this week. "We prepare. I think they all enjoy what they’re doing in terms of their preparation. They take it seriously, they focus. But ultimately like everything that we do in life, I guess it’s a test. And the games are a test for us on a daily basis. And how we are able to evaluate them and take advantage of the opportunities that we have to see them in a real game situation is certainly helpful for us.”