White Sox

Adam Eaton on White Sox: 'The Titanic is now upright'

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Adam Eaton on White Sox: 'The Titanic is now upright'

CLEVELAND -- The White Sox have begun to right the ship and Adam Eaton wants to follow his team’s lead.

Though his production doesn’t show it, the White Sox leadoff man said he has had a good feel at the plate for all but Sunday’s game. So far that has translated into two hits in 25 at-bats with no walks in six games.

But much like the White Sox have begun to turn things around, Eaton, who signed a five-year, $23.5-million contract extension last month, is confident he’ll get going soon, too.

“Baseball is a funny game,” Eaton said. “For some reason it doesn’t always reward good at-bats and good pitching. The last two games were great, it gave us the confidence it was there and we were gelling and coming together and the city of Chicago is not burning to the ground. The Titanic is now upright. We’ll be all right.”

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Eaton admits part of his problem is he probably has been too aggressive at the plate in the early going.

Through six games, Eaton has seen an average of 3.36 pitches per plate appearance, down from 3.89 a season ago. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said it’s in Eaton’s personality to try harder when things haven’t gone well, that the center fielder enjoys his role as a catalyst and wants to help the club become a winner.

“He’s probably pressing,” Ventura said. “He’s a guy, there’s a certain amount of going too hard, and he has some of that, over-swinging and things like that. Part of it is personality. You know he’s going to eventually come out of it, and you know the talent that is there and how good he is. If we can win games and he’s not in the middle of it, eventually he’s going to be in the middle of us winning games too.”

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The White Sox as a whole have been overly aggressive, perhaps as a side effect of losing their first four games. Through the season’s first week, White Sox hitters have drawn six walks.

But Eaton said the group began to click during its four-run rally on Saturday and has gained confidence. He hasn’t lost confidence and isn’t panicked, but Eaton would like to get going soon.

“I’m not all upset with my at-bats but this game is about production and getting hits and it’s not about having good at-bats,” Eaton said. “I want to get hits, get on base, I haven’t walked yet. There’s a lot of bad things at the plate right now. …

“I just need to pick up on my end.”

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

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USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sunday marked the first surprise of White Sox spring training, courtesy of first baseman Jose Abreu.

“This year, I’m going to try to steal more bases,” Abreu said through a translator.

This might have sounded like a joke, but Abreu was completely serious.

On paper, he’s not exactly Rickey Henderson. In 614 career games, Abreu has only six stolen bases. However, the slimmed-down first baseman does have some sneaky speed. His six triples last season ranked third in the American League. So there are some wheels to work with.

“I like the challenge. I think that’s a good challenge for me. I’m ready for it,” Abreu said.

How many steals are we talking about? A reporter asked sarcastically if a 30-30 season is in the offing? Abreu didn’t exactly shoot down the possibility.

“Who knows? When you fill your mind with positive things, maybe you can accomplish them,” Abreu said. “The mind of a human being works in a lot of different ways. If you fill your mind with good things, good things are going to happen.”

The morning began with Abreu walking to the hitting cages with his Cuban compadres Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, who the White Sox signed last summer. He held his first workout on Sunday. At the White Sox hitters camp last month, Moncada took Robert under his wing, showing him the ropes, even telling Ricky Renteria, “I got him.”

But Sunday, Abreu was in charge, holding court with the three of them in the cage. Abreu watched closely as Robert hit off a tee, giving him pointers about his swing.

“I just like to help people,” Abreu said. “When I started to play at 16 in Cuba, I had a lot people who hounded me to get better. At the same point, I want to give back things that I’ve learned and pass that along to other people. That’s what I’m doing. I’m not expecting anything else. I’m just glad to help them and get them better.”

What kind of advice has he passed along to Robert?

“Since I came to this country, I learned quickly three keys to be a success: Be disciplined, work hard and always be on time. If you apply those three keys, I think you’re going to be good. Those are the three keys I’m trying to teach the new kids, the young guys,” Abreu said.

Abreu lost about 10 pounds during the offseason. He said he hopes to learn more English in 2018. He also arrived at spring training sporting a scruffy beard which he grew while he was in Cuba so he “could be incongnito.”

Abreu likes his new look. Moncada thinks he should shave it off.

“If the organization doesn’t say anything, I’m just going to keep it,” Abreu said.

Well, so much for that.

Moments after Abreu spoke with the media, Renteria told reporters that Abreu will have to “clean it up a bit.”

The two will find a compromise. Come to think of it, maybe Abreu and the White Sox should do the same about a contract extension in the near future.

Yes, he’ll be 33 when his contract expires in two years, but there have been no signs of a decline with his performance. Instead, Abreu is only getting better both offensively and defensively.

Heck, now he wants to steal bases, too.

After Renteria, Abreu is the leader of this team. He commands ultimate respect inside the clubhouse. He’s become another coach to Moncada, Robert and others. He’s a huge brick in the present and too big of an influence and cornerstone to not have around in the future.

“I hope to play my entire career in the majors with the White Sox,” Abreu said Sunday. “But I can’t control that.”

At some point, a decision will have to be made whether to keep Abreu or trade him. In the meantime, ask yourself this question: What will bring more value to the White Sox, getting a high-end prospect or two in return not knowing if they’ll ever succeed in the majors? Or keeping your best player, the heart and soul of your team, allowing him to show your future stars the way while they’re developing in the major leagues?

Seems like an easy decision to me.