White Sox

Avisail Garcia's big day highlights White Sox win over Brewers


Avisail Garcia's big day highlights White Sox win over Brewers

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- This is the kind of day the White Sox hoped for this spring, one with an Avisail Garcia homer that John Danks said is the farthest he’s ever seen hit here.

The White Sox outfielder got positive reinforcement in the form of loud contact on Tuesday as he continues to experiment with a new approach in exhibition games. Garcia blasted a massive two-run home run to left field and also tripled in two more runs. He also singled as part of a 16-hit attack as the White Sox topped the Milwaukee Brewers 10-6. Jimmy Rollins also homered as the White Sox improved to 4-1-1.

“Mechanically, he’s working on some things and sometimes it’ll look a little funky,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think with the way he’s swinging it today, putting the bat on the ball hard to right field and with the homer, some time that stuff clicks in with the more at-bats you have. Good approach from him today.”

Garcia has worked on the new mechanics for a little more than six weeks. In January, he and hitting coach Todd Steverson worked out for three days in Miami to establish a new approach. By standing more upright, the White Sox hope Garcia sees pitches better than he has in the past. They’ve seen some evidence of that in the first. They also had him lower his hands to chest level for a more direct line to the ball.

[MORE: Mat Latos will continue mechanical adjustments on side]

That resulted in a moonshot Tuesday off Chase Anderson that cleared the berm in left field and may have bounced up against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ clubhouse.

The White Sox are not so naïve to think the alterations will kick in overnight. They know it’s a process and it can be a lengthy one. But they figure it’s better for Garcia to experiment now as all statistics are reset in early April.

And the hope is these changes help Garcia tap into a tremendous wealth of potential power by getting the ball in the air more often.

“Difference to me is the finish,” said one American League scout. “Definitely more intent to lift the ball.”

Garcia has six hits and a walk in his first 13 plate appearances this spring. He likes how he has begun, but knows the switch is a work in progress.

“I’m working really hard in the mornings on my routine,” Garcia said. “Trying to take good pitches and learn about the situations in the game.

“I’ve put my hands closer to the strike zone because last year it was up top. Now I moved it a little bit down so it’ll be closer to the strike zone. When I was up, it was too far away.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

The amount of times the 2015 White Sox offense looked as potent as it has this week were few and far between. Rollins and Garcia became the 11th and 12th players to homer this spring with nobody hitting more than one. Rollins and Adam Eaton each finished with three hits while Melky Cabrera and Carlos Sanchez had two apiece.

Garcia said the team has a sense of urgency to start strong this season.

“We’re on our way,” Garcia said. “We have to do it right now. We have to start now and for me it’s important to win right now. Once you start winning, you have the feeling, you can trust the other guys. We have to work and have fun. We have to be ready for the season.”

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries


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?


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.”