White Sox

Big Hurt Speaks Candidly on Dye, Steroids, Sosa

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Big Hurt Speaks Candidly on Dye, Steroids, Sosa

Friday, Feb. 12, 2010
4:42 PM

On the day that Frank Thomas announced his retirement from baseball, he almost overshadowed himself by disclosing the stunning news of another former White Sox player who might retire right behind him.

Jermaine Dye.

Thomas spent time with Dye last week in Las Vegas, and during our interview following his retirement press conference, Thomas revealed to Comcast SportsNet that Dye is pretty sad about still being unsigned, and said Jermaine is prepared to retire if the right opportunity doesnt present itself.

Thats what he told me and I told him he was crazy, Thomas said. Hes 36 years-old, but hes at peace. If he has to retire, hes going to retire, because he cant see himself going somewhere where he wont be happy and not get what he deserves.

Dye, who made 11.5 million with the White Sox in 2009, reportedly turned down a 3.3 million offer from the Cubs last month to be their fourth outfielder. His name has been attached to the Braves, Indians, and Tigers. But his age, terrible second half in 09 (.179 batting average), plus the perception that his skills have diminished in the outfield are proving to be quite an obstacle.

Before making his own decision to retire, Thomas told CSN on Friday that the only team I really wanted to play for (in 2010) was the White Sox again. That was it. And now that Thomas has officially closed that door, hed like to see the Sox open it for Dye.

To be honest, I wish the White Sox would bring him back because I still think hed be a great asset to the team. Hes such a lovable guy. Hopefully, hell be back in this organization before he has to go someplace where he really doesnt want to go.

Big Franks frank comments werent limited to Dye. He also opened up on a more controversial topic:

Steroids.

When I asked if it made him angry watching guys like McGwire and Bonds shatter the record books with their bloated bodies during the height of the steroid era, Thomas chose a different word.

Im not going to call it anger. It was more like Aha! Im killing myself in the weight room and these guys are hitting the ball further than me. Now I know. Im not going to hold it against anyone, but man I did a hell of a job keeping up with those guys. Thats the way I look at it. What would Frank Thomas have been like if he was on that stuff? Its one of those things that Im damn proud of. I did it the right way and I dont have to worry about cameras or the media looking for me, asking me questions because Im here to answer them all.

One player who hasnt been as forthcoming is Thomas former White Sox teammate Sammy Sosa, whose career happened to explode at the same time that his body did while playing for the Cubs.

Do you think Sosa is doing an injustice by not coming forward?

Im going to leave that up to Sammy, Thomas said. Ive got respect for him. He was a teammate of mine for three-and-a-half years, but we all know something wasnt right. Hes a hell of a guy, and I hope one day that we all get the truth.
Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox slugger Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

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.