White Sox

LIVE: Morel's homer extends White Sox lead

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LIVE: Morel's homer extends White Sox lead

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011
Posted: 11:19 a.m.

Associated Press

The Kansas City Royals won't be appearing in the postseason for a 26th consecutive year, but they're giving their fan base plenty to look forward to heading into next season.

The Royals try for a 10th win in 12 games while the Chicago White Sox hope to avoid a sixth straight home defeat Saturday night.

While Kansas City, which hasn't made a playoff appearance since winning the 1985 World Series, is assured of an eighth consecutive losing season, it's surprisingly played like one of baseball's best teams of late.

The Royals (69-88) have outscored opponents 70-36 en route to taking nine of 11 - a stretch during which they are batting .323 with runners in scoring position.

"A lot of teams tend to put it in cruise control a little bit and finish out the season, and this team hasn't done that, not for one second," manager Ned Yost said. "They haven't ... they come every day ready to play.

"(They) are totally focused on finishing this year strong so they can take it into next year, and that's important. That's an important mindset to have."

Kansas City continued its late-season surge Friday with an 11-1 rout at U.S. Cellular Field. Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar and Jeff Francoeur all went deep while Bruce Chen threw eight innings of one-run ball.

Hosmer is batting .500 (19 for 38) over an eight-game hitting streak. Fellow rookie Mike Moustakas, who collected a season-high four hits Friday, is batting .457 with three homers during an 11-game run of his own.

"It's been a blast these past couple weeks," Moustakas said. "We've been playing great baseball, everyone's hitting, so yeah, I guess you could say we're hitting our stride."

The Royals, who have taken four of five from Chicago during their recent hot streak, haven't fared well against John Danks (7-12, 4.36 ERA), who will pitch Saturday after helping the White Sox to their only victory during that stretch.

Danks allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings of Sunday's 10-5 win, improving to 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA over his last eight outings against the Royals.

Danks, however, owns a 9.14 ERA over his last four starts overall, yielding 36 hits and seven walks in 21 2-3 innings.

Facing Melky Cabrera and Francoeur, though, could help the left-hander regroup. Cabrera is 4 for 21 (.190) lifetime against Danks while Francoeur is 1 for 9. Alex Gordon, who is 3 for 23 (.130) versus Danks, is expected to miss a second straight game with flu-like symptoms.

Taking the mound for Kansas City is rookie Everett Teaford (2-0, 2.54), who has impressed since transitioning to the starting rotation less than two weeks ago.

After throwing five scoreless innings during a 2-1 win at Seattle on Sept. 11, the left-hander limited the White Sox (76-81) to one run and four hits in six innings of last Saturday's 10-3 victory.

"I was very impressed with the way Teaford pitched, his ability to pitch his way out of jams," Yost said.

Teaford faces a White Sox team which has dropped 10 of 13, including five in a row at home while batting .200.

"Obviously it's been a very tough season for everyone," manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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

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USA TODAY

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

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USA TODAY

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.