White Sox

Chris Sale, White Sox rout Indians again with 10-3 win

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Chris Sale, White Sox rout Indians again with 10-3 win

CLEVELAND — Perhaps the White Sox hitters should heed Hawk Harrelson’s advice and not stop with the whole scoring of runs.

For a third straight day, a largely comatose White offense looked like a juggernaut as the club scored five first-inning runs and trounced the Cleveland Indians, 10-3, on Saturday night in front of 24,763 at Progressive Field. Jose Abreu drove in three runs, Melky Cabrera and Tyler Flowers each had two RBIs and Carlos Sanchez hit the first home run of his career.

Chris Sale cruised to his ninth win in 14 decisions and Adam LaRoche also had his first RBI in 47 plate appearances for the White Sox, who have outscored Cleveland 24-4 in the series and seek a four-game sweep on Sunday. The White Sox — who had a hit from every starter on Saturday — have three straight wins by at least six runs for the first time since May 25-27, 2012.

“It’s a good feeling sitting in there and before you even throw your first pitch you’ve got a five-spot,” Sale said. “It was fun to watch. It was an offensive explosion.”

[MORE: White Sox: Robin Ventura says Alexei Ramirez is in real good spot]

They’d need several more weeks of pyrotechnical displays from the offense to get back into the postseason picture.

Winners of three straight, the White Sox are still five games under .500 mostly because of an offense that has underperformed all season. Just three days ago, the once-hopeful White Sox capped off a 1-5 homestand in which they scored 18 runs against the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals.

Entering the series, the White Sox, who finished with 16 hits, had averaged 3.37 runs per game. They’ve increased that average to 3.52 runs, which would still be tied for the ninth-worst total in franchise history.

Despite the offseason additions of Cabrera and LaRoche, the team’s bats have collectively been cold. You couldn’t point a finger at any one player as the cause because everyone has struggled, many having the worst seasons of their careers.

Not this weekend.

The same as Jeff Samardzija and Jose Quintana before him, Sale received lavish run support as he was treated to a five-run lead before he set foot on the mound.

[RELATED: White Sox: Jose Abreu doesn't want to jinx healthy finger]

Adam Eaton, who had two walks and two hits, Tyler Saladino and Cabrera all singled off Carlos Carrasco to put the White Sox ahead 1-0. Abreu singled in two more to put his team up by three and after an Alexei Ramirez two-out double, Flowers knocked in two more to make it 5-0.

Sanchez made it a six-run game with a 404-foot drive to right-center in the fourth off Carrasco.

“We started the second half a little weak with the offense, but right now we are hitting good,” Sanchez said through an interpreter. “The results are on the scoreboard and in the score today — 10 runs, it’s good. It’s good when you have a moment like this when everybody is hitting the ball well.”

Everyone got in on the act as the White Sox added on late. 

Eaton and Saladino, who went 3-for-5, singled ahead of Cabrera’s RBI single in the seventh off Austin Adams. LaRoche picked up his first RBI since July 8 with a two-out, run-scoring hit off Adams to make it 8-1.

They still weren’t done.

The White Sox added two more in the ninth as Abreu followed a single by Saladino and double by Cabrera with a single to right to make it 9-3. Avisail Garcia also singled in a run, the last White Sox starter to pick up a hit.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“A lot of times you see maybe in a game like that you kind of fizzle out,” Sale said. “But we’re fighting ‘til the end and it’s fun to watch.”

Sale made easy work of Cleveland, retiring 12 of the first 13 batters he faced. The left-hander allowed a run in the fifth inning and another in the seventh. Sale struck out seven as he limited the Indians to two runs and seven hits. He threw strikes on 76 of 109 pitches.

In all likelihood the White Sox season is finished. The only chance for resuscitation would be an extended offensive renaissance, something theteam has proven incapable of providing so far.

“If we play like that, yeah,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It was great to see. They added on, especially in the first inning you get the balls going through the infield and everybody, it is contagious. You get a good feeling of guys going up there and having good at-bats.”

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.”