White Sox

Dioner Navarro to Yoenis Cespedes: Stay away from my pet pig Sassy


Dioner Navarro to Yoenis Cespedes: Stay away from my pet pig Sassy

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- PETA made comments and sent Yoenis Cespedes vegan bacon after he sent his prized pig to the butcher. Dioner Navarro offered his own message Thursday — my micro pig isn’t for dinner.

Unlike his counterpart, the White Sox catcher plans for his pet pig to be around much longer than a digestive cycle or two.

Last month, Navarro purchased a pet micro pig named Sassy for his wife as a Valentine’s Day gift. Navarro said Thursday that micro pigs can live for up to 30 years, an expected lifespan far greater than that of the 270-pound hog that the New York Mets outfielder reportedly purchased for $7,000 on Saturday.

 Cespedes' $7000 pig at the St. Lucie County Fair (Sandy Croghan)

Cespedes has since drawn the ire of PETA as the Mets confirmed the pig was sent to a butcher several days after the highly publicized purchased at the St. Lucie County Fair.

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Navarro promises that Sassy has a much brighter future.

“This pig is going to live like a fricking princess in my house,” Navarro said.

The micro pig is one of several rare animals that Navarro, his wife Sherley, and their three sons keep as pets. They also have a French bulldog, a bearded dragon, a Nigerian Uromastyx, a chinchilla and a cat. Navarro’s wife grew up on a farm in Puerto Rico and raised goats, pigs and horses. Navarro, who grew up in a small town near Caracas, Venezuela, said he never had any pets as a child.

“We never saw those things,” Navarro said. “Ever since I met my wife we’ve been attached to animals. The fact I wasn’t able to experience all that as a kid and now I’ve got an opportunity to experience it with my kids and my wife is huge.”

Navarro’s wife has wanted a micro pig for some time. They did their research and have a decent idea of what to expect, though Navarro said there’s no guide for raising a micro pig. He and his wife drove 90 minutes from their home in Tampa, Fla. on Feb. 14 to pick and purchase the pig for $850. Navarro said the farmer owned a 45-year-old micro pig and offered specialty pigs for up to $5,000.

“They’re really clean, they’re really smart,” Navarro said. “All you’ve got to do is feed them. They use the cat litter as a toilet. They never do their business where they sleep, so she always goes to the cat litter.

“You’ve got to feed them every two to three hours and just get used to the personality.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

A paper published by Emory University last summer suggested pigs are pretty smart.

According to the findings, pigs can “prioritize important memories,” they engage in “social play” with other pigs and can even understand and use pointing and “other indicating actions” by humans.

Navarro is under the impression Sassy can be trained to go outside instead of in the cat litter box. But even if she can’t, she’ll be spared a trip to the butcher.

“(My wife) did all the research that said you can even train them to go outside and do their business,” Navarro said. “So we’ll see how that goes.”

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey


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


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.