White Sox

Catcher Rob Brantly's joke with Rick Renteria results in first career pitching appearance

Catcher Rob Brantly's joke with Rick Renteria results in first career pitching appearance

What began as an attempt at humor with his manager on Thursday resulted in Rob Brantly’s first time pitching since he played youth sports.

With Carlos Rodon a late scratch and the team short on arms, the White Sox catcher walked over to manager Rick Renteria and volunteered his services. Less than an inning later, Brantly was in the bullpen to test out his arm. And before the night was over, Brantly became the first White Sox catcher to ever pitch in a game as he threw an inning in an 11-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

“I jokingly went up to the skip and I was like ‘Hey, fresh arm today if you need it’ and I gave him a high five,” Brantly said. “Completely joking. And then like all of a sudden in the ninth inning, I’m standing on the mound of a Major League Baseball game. I haven’t thrown since forever, but yeah. It was fun to be in there and at least throw strikes.”

Mike Pelfrey pitched four innings in Rodon’s stead after he learned 20 minutes before the game he would make the start. But Pelfrey struggled early as the first four batters reached and he trailed 4-0 after Edwin Encarnacion’s homer. At that point, the possibility the White Sox would need a new solution resulted in Brantly headed to the bullpen.

“Rick told me, ‘Let’s find out if you can make it 60 feet, 6 inches first,’ ” Brantly said. “We went down there and he felt pretty confident that I could come in and throw strikes if the situation came up and you don’t want to be in that situations.”

Brantly bounced his first pitch but quickly settled in. He allowed a solo homer to Erik Gonzalez with one out in the ninth inning, but retired the next two. Included in the inning was a comebacker and a chance to cover first on a 3-1 ground out.

“I got tested today on both of them,” Brantly said. “The one where I covered first, that play is no joke. There are a lot of different things going on there. (Greg) Allen is a fast runner, he was barreling down for the knock and to catch the ball and find the bag at the same time, I have a whole new respect for pitchers and their PFPs.”

White Sox reportedly not offering up top prospects for Manny Machado

White Sox reportedly not offering up top prospects for Manny Machado

The Manny Machado saga spins on, though it’s looking far less promising for White Sox fans who wanted to see the Baltimore Orioles’ superstar third baseman come to the South Side this winter.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale chronicled the latest happenings with Machado in an exhaustive Thursday report that heavily featured the White Sox, who apparently have not decided to blow up their rebuilding effort by dealing away multiple top prospects. That’s not happening, per Nightengale, who reported the White Sox didn’t include any of their highest rated guys in an offer that was at one point reported to be the best out there for Machado. Nightengale did still report the White Sox offer as “solid.”

In fact, as Nightengale continued, it seems the White Sox made their offer completely expecting to have Machado for just the 2018 season. Machado is slated to be one of the headliners of next winter’s crazy good free-agent class.

The catch comes, perhaps not surprisingly to those familiar with the Orioles’ reputation, from Baltimore owner Peter Angelos, who is dramatically concerned that the White Sox would acquire Machado simply to flip him elsewhere in a trade — specifically, Angelos worries, to the New York Yankees, the Orioles’ division rivals. Nightengale added that the White Sox have repeatedly assured the Orioles they won’t do such a thing, but Angelos doesn’t seem to be sold.

The big headline for the White Sox, though, from the whole thing is that all this buzz and speculation doesn’t seem to involve them pulling a 180 on what they’ve worked for more than a year to do: gather a ton of highly touted prospects and build a homegrown champion. Michael Kopech, who seemed to fit the Orioles’ wishes as a young controllable pitcher, has been said to be “untouchable.” And if none of the organization’s top prospects were included in the deal, as Nightengale said, it’d be logical to assume that Lucas Giolito wasn’t involved in the team’s trade proposal either.

The White Sox became the buzz of baseball on the final day of the Winter Meetings with reports flying all over the place that they were making the most aggressive push for Machado and that they had made the Orioles the best offer of any team. The initial, middle-of-the-night report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal listed Kopech and Giolito as potential trade chips.

But a trade seemed to make little sense for the South Siders, who would have to give up multiple of their precious prospects — players projected to be the future of the big league team and deliver perennial contention — for nothing more than one guaranteed season of Machado, who is expected to receive a huge payday once he hits the free-agent market. Even with Machado, the White Sox wouldn’t figure to be a championship contender in 2018. That’d be putting all the eggs into one basket, that one season in Chicago would somehow convince Machado to skip the free-agent frenzy and sign with the White Sox.

Simply put, it’d be an incredibly risky move.

But apparently those aren’t the dice Rick Hahn and his front office are ready to roll, which ought to ease the concerns of rebuild fans, even if it might disappoint those who wanted to see Machado come to Chicago.

Jose Contreras, Tim Raines join A.J. Pierzynski as new White Sox ambassadors


Jose Contreras, Tim Raines join A.J. Pierzynski as new White Sox ambassadors

The White Sox are welcoming back two more fan favorites.

They added to their growing list of team ambassadors Friday, announcing that Jose Contreras and Tim Raines will be joining A.J. Pierzynski — who made his own announcement Monday at the Winter Meetings — in returning to the organization.

Like Pierzynski, Contreras was a member of the beloved 2005 world championship squad. He teamed with Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland and Orlando Hernandez to form a formidable rotation that season. Contreras posted a 3.61 ERA during the 2005 regular season but was even better in the postseason, turning in a 3.09 ERA in four starts. He pitched into the eighth inning in each of those starts, including a complete-game effort in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, which the White Sox won to clinch the pennant.

All in all, Contreras spent six seasons with the White Sox from 2004 to 2009.

Raines, meanwhile, is a newly enshrined Hall of Famer, inducted earlier this year in honor of his 23-year major league career. He spent five of those seasons on the South Side and holds the franchise record in stolen-base percentage. He swiped 143 bags during his White Sox tenure.

Raines hit 98 doubles, 28 triples and 50 homers in a White Sox uniform.

The addition of this latest trio of ambassadors adds to an already impressive group of former White Sox in that role: Harold Baines, Carlton Fisk, Mike Huff, Bo Jackson, Ron Kittle, Carlos May, Bill Melton, Donn Pall, Dan Pasqua and Mike Squires.