White Sox

Danks, White Sox discover correct formula in win over Oakland


Danks, White Sox discover correct formula in win over Oakland

OAKLAND — When the White Sox score four runs, they’ve been awfully hard to beat this season.

As their offense continues to heat up, the White Sox have recently found themselves in that position quite often. Avisail Garcia had three hits and John Danks pitched well after he yielded two early runs as the White Sox topped the Oakland A’s, 4-3, in front of 28,445 on Saturday. Danks (2-3) gave up two runs over seven innings and David Robertson notched a four-out save as the White Sox won their fourth straight game and for the eighth time in 11 tries to improve to 16-17.

The White Sox, who have won four straight series, are 15-3 when they score at least four runs, including 6-2 over the past eight games.

“We’re not an easy lineup top to bottom and we play hard and play until the last out,” Danks said. “If I can keep them there until the last out we have a decent chance. Fortunately things went our way, I was able to hold them there and we scored enough runs to win. Don’t like early holes, but a two-spot in the first is no need to panic with this team.”

Especially with how the offense has performed the past 12 games.

[MORE: Jose Abreu: Confidence is 'very high' after Friday's final play]

Entering Saturday, the White Sox had 57 runs in their previous 11 contests and were hitting .283/.349/.403.

Garcia made up for a second-inning baserunning error during a third-inning rally. With the bases loaded and two outs, Garcia fell behind Oakland starter Jesse Chavez 0-2 in the count before he worked it full and singled into center to drive in two and tie the game. An inning earlier, Garcia, who had doubled, ran through a stop sign at third base and was caught leaning on a Conor Gillaspie single. Garcia finished 3-for-3 and also drew a walk in four trips.

The White Sox took the lead after another mistake by the A’s in the seventh. Adam Eaton, who went 2-for-5, reached on a two-out bunt single and reliever Fernando Rodriguez’s throw soared over first base, which allowed the leadoff man to reach third. Melky Cabrera then singled him in and Jose Abreu, who has an 11-game hitting streak, followed with an RBI double to give the White Sox a 4-2 lead.

The White Sox — who averaged a shade over three runs a game in their first 20 contests — have outscored opponents 22-8 in the seventh inning.

“They continue to believe and I think that’s the biggest thing out of these guys,” manager Robin Ventura said. “They’re getting to be a confident group and going in there feeling like they can win some games.”

The way Danks has pitched the last two times out, and four of the last five, has to have the White Sox confident as well.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

He followed up Saturday’s gem with his fourth quality start in five games.

The left-hander’s night didn’t get off to a rousing start as he gave up two first-inning hits, including a two-run home run by Billy Butler. Danks also got into trouble in the second inning as Oakland got two aboard with one out. But Danks struck out Eric Sogard and got Billy Burns to pop out.

From there, Danks didn’t find trouble once as he limited the A’s to a pair of harmless walks. He retired the side in order in the third, fifth and seventh innings, setting down 17 of the final 19 batters he faced. Danks — who has a 3.81 ERA over his last five starts, allowed three hits — walked three and struck out six.

Zach Duke gave up a run in the eighth inning but rookie Carlos Sanchez turned a fantastic double play and Robertson took over after two straight two-out hits to retire Brett Lawrie on a fly out to center.

“We are in a great moment,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “I think this is just the beginning of the good things we have ahead. We have to keep on working hard and try to do the best every day, but I think right now, we are in a great, great moment with the offense.”







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.”