White Sox

LIVE: White Sox leading Rays 3-0

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LIVE: White Sox leading Rays 3-0

Thursday, April 7, 2011Posted: 9:20 AM

Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Rays keep adding to the worst start in franchise history, but insist they're not overly concerned.

Given their recent matchups when facing Edwin Jackson, the Rays might have a difficult time earning their first win of the season and spoiling the Chicago White Sox's home opener Thursday.

Tampa Bay has batted a miserable .136 and been outscored 22-7 during its 0-5 start. The Rays haven't managed more than five hits in any game and have been held to one run in four contests.

One of those lowly performances was Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Angels. B.J. Upton hit his second homer in as many games, and manager Joe Maddon held Manny Ramirez out of the lineup after he started the season 1 for 16.

"How many games have we've played? We've got plenty of time," said Ramirez, who will miss Thursday's contest against his former team for personal reasons.

Without Ramirez, the Rays are hoping to bounce back at U.S. Cellular Field, where they had a combined 22 runs and 24 hits while winning the final two of a three-game series last April.

Tampa Bay, though, is scheduled to face Jackson (1-0, 3.00 ERA), who became the third pitcher to no-hit the Rays in less than a year on June 25 while with Arizona. The right-hander, who played for Tampa Bay from 2006-08, held on for a 1-0 victory despite walking eight batters and throwing 149 pitches - the most in a nine-inning game in five seasons.

In his only other previous matchup against Tampa Bay in 2009, Jackson allowed three runs and six hits over eight innings in a 5-3 win for Detroit.

Jackson enters this game after yielding three runs and striking out seven in an 8-3 win at Cleveland on Saturday. The White Sox (3-2) seemed to give him plenty of support after batting .314 and scoring 40 runs in their first five games.

They had 18 hits during Wednesday's 10-7 win in 12 innings in Kansas City after slugger Adam Dunn underwent an emergency appendectomy Tuesday night. The designated hitter, who homered in his White Sox debut, is expected to miss at least five games.

Carlos Quentin had a go-ahead two-out double in the ninth inning before the Royals tied it, then hit another double to open the 12th. Quentin also had his second home run of the season during a four-hit afternoon.

The White Sox might not need Quentin's or Dunn's help against David Price (0-1, 5.14), who is 0-3 with a 5.00 ERA in three career matchups with Chicago. The left-hander struck out seven in Friday's season opener against Baltimore, but allowed four runs over seven innings in a 4-1 defeat.

"I felt good. But when you're going against another team's No. 1 and give up four runs, you're going to lose," said Price, who was 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA and finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2010. "I've got to get better."

After losing six of eight matchups with the White Sox in 2009, the Rays claimed last season's series by a 4-3 margin.

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.