White Sox

Jose Quintana gets first victory vs. KC, White Sox win

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Jose Quintana gets first victory vs. KC, White Sox win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jose Quintana worked overtime Saturday night to earn his first victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Making his 17th start against the Royals, Quintana stranded six men in scoring position over seven scoreless innings to pace the White Sox in a 6-1 victory at Kauffman Stadium. Alexei Ramirez and Geovany Soto both homered for the White Sox, who played outstanding defense behind Quintana to earn their third straight win.

“This was probably his best showing with these guys,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He was really getting his curveball over. Not having to rely on a fastball early in the count. He went a little backward. Great curveball, he could drop it in pretty much any time he wanted, kept them off balance. Any time he does that and has command like that, he’s tough.”

[MORE: Adam Eaton continues to excel despite shoulder soreness]

Not much was easy for Quintana -- who said he used a similar game plan to the one employed by John Danks on Friday -- against the Royals aside from the first inning.

Kansas City had runners on the corners and no outs in the second inning only for Quintana to escape unscathed. Jose Abreu made a nice play to get lead runner Kendrys Morales in a rundown before Quintana retired the next two batters to strand a pair.

He also worked around one-out doubles in the third and fourth innings and a two-out double in the sixth.

But Quintana saved his best escape act for last. With runners on second and third and one out, Quintana struck out pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes before he retired Alcides Escobar on a grounder to second with the aide of a fantastic play by Gordon Beckham.

Quintana, who had been winless in six career decisions against Kansas City with a 4.68 ERA, allowed seven hits and struck out five. Afterward, Quintana knew it was his first victory over the Royals. He also said he was pumped up to help the White Sox clinch a series victory.

“I’m so excited to get this game,” Quintana said. “It’s really fun when you get runs. I’m excited to get the series for us and we continue to try day by day to get some wins. We’re ready for tomorrow.”

Kansas City didn’t let up after Quintana departed as Nate Jones stranded runners on the corners when Ramirez turned a fantastic inning-ending double play in the eighth. Jones was the third pitcher of the inning as the Royals cut it to 4-1.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

The White Sox didn’t do much early before the offense woke up in the fourth inning against Royals starter Danny Duffy. Abreu drew a leadoff walk, one of two free passes, and Avisail Garcia singled off Duffy’s glove. Trayce Thompson flew out to deep left center and Abreu tagged up on the play and went to third before Ramirez hammered a 1-2 curveball for a three-run homer.

Three innings later, Soto blasted a solo homer over the home bullpen in left field to give the White Sox a four-run lead.

Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera added on to the lead with two-out, RBI singles in the ninth inning.

Beckham, who also had two hits and scored a run, was surprised to learn it was Quintana’s first victory over the Royals.

“Q was hitting his spots all night,” Beckham said. “He’s just a competitor. More than anything he just competes. That’s what you want out there as a pitcher. Playing behind him is a lot easier because you know he’s locked in and he’s going to compete as well as he possibly can.”

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.”