White Sox

Danks' first career HR walks off White Sox vs. A's

841893.png

Danks' first career HR walks off White Sox vs. A's

Jordan Danks wasnt deceived one bit by Pat Nesheks funky delivery on Friday night.

The White Sox outfielder had not only faced Oaklands side-winding reliever several times at Triple-A the past two seasons, but he also got a well-timed refresher course from a televised game earlier in the week.

As Danks walked by a clubhouse TV, he recalled noticing Neshek on the mound and several of their showdowns came back to him in an instant.

Those previous encounters paid big dividends for Danks on Friday night when the rookie hit the first home run of his career with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the White Sox to a 4-3 victory over the Athletics in front of 25,041 at U.S. Cellular Field.

The White Sox hit four solo homers and got three scoreless innings from the bullpen to preserve a one-game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.

I remembered whenever I was on deck trying to get the timing down, getting my foot down at a certain point because it is just an awkward delivery, Danks said.

Danks got his front foot down on the first pitch he saw from Neshek with two outs in the ninth inning and blasted away. The 417-foot home run was such a no-doubter that As right fielder Josh Reddick didnt move before he left the field.

The drive capped a night in which the White Sox rallied from a 3-0 deficit.

It was his first home run and it couldnt have come at a better time for a better guy, said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who scored the White Sox first run with a solo homer in the second inning, his 22nd. It was a good win, obviously coming back. We fell down early and found a way to battle back.

Ditto for Gavin Floyd.

The right-hander allowed 11 runners to reach base in six-plus innings. Three of those runners scored in the first two innings, including a pair on Brandon Moss 412-foot homer to right to give Oakland a 3-0 lead.

But Floyd settled down and began to strand runners.

He left the bases loaded in the third inning when he struck out Brandon Inge, Floyds third strikeout of the inning. Floyd also stranded a runner in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, including Cliff Pennington in the sixth after he tripled with two outs.

Despite the early trouble, Floyd limited Oakland to three runs and seven hits.

He got to be more aggressive in the zone and was just sharper, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. Some guys are just like that. I think he'll bust through it. He's got the stuff. He shows it in the middle of the games.

The White Sox showed theyre capable of production even without first baseman Paul Konerko, who was placed on the seven-day disabled list Friday with a concussion.

Ex-Sox pitcher Brandon McCarthy didnt afford the White Sox many opportunities.

But they rallied behind solo homers from Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo.

Viciedo was mired in a 5-for-43 slump prior to his seventh-inning homer, his first since July 25.

Luckily we hit four home runs, Pierzynski said. Other than that we didnt do a whole lot offensively.

The White Sox only managed to get one other runner -- Alejandro De Aza who doubled in the third inning -- into scoring position against McCarthy.

McCarthy allowed three runs and six hits in six-plus innings.

You'd like to see a little more driving in a guy from second base and stuff like that, Ventura said. It's a nice win. You take it, but you want to see the offense do a little more.

Like Danks, who said he envisioned himself hitting a game-winning homer while he stood in the batters box. The rookie said it was the first game-winner of his entire career, dating back to Little League.

Its something that everybody dreams about their whole life, Danks said. Right before that I saw myself doing it and it was just one of those things. It was just awesome.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

mickeradolfo.jpg
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?

0223-rick-renteria-rick-hahn.jpg
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.”