White Sox

Melky Cabrera's wrist good enough to return to White Sox lineup

Melky Cabrera's wrist good enough to return to White Sox lineup

The White Sox are confident Melky Cabrera’s right wrist has healed and they want back him in the lineup.

Though they have improved their output, the White Sox offense has still been wildly inconsistent this season. Cabrera -- who has a .294/.344/.462 slash line with eight home runs and 39 RBIs and is first on the team with a 112 wRC+ -- has been their most consistent bat. After he missed five days because of inflammation in his wrist, Cabrera returned to the lineup for Monday afternoon’s series opener against the New York Yankees. The White Sox went 4-1 in Cabrera’s absence.

“You like him in the lineup no matter what,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s been fighting it the last couple of days. We’re past that five-day window. He swung the bat yesterday and said he felt pretty good.”

One reason the White Sox feel confident about the decision is that Cabrera is hitting from the right side against Yankees left-hander C.C. Sabathia. Cabrera’s wrist has only bothered him when hitting from the left side. The White Sox initially said Cabrera would miss three-to-four days. Instead, they gave him one extra day as to not chance it --- “He knows enough to let it heal and get over it,” Ventura said.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Through 82 games, the White Sox are averaging 4.17 runs per contest. Last season they scored 3.83. The team is hopeful the offense could get another boost when Justin Morneau comes off the disabled list after the All-Star break. Morneau, who had elbow surgery in December, also began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte on Monday.

They haven’t announced a timeline for Austin Jackson and he still hasn’t returned to the team. But there’s hope he could return soon, too. Throw those two in with a hot start from rookie Tim Anderson and the White Sox are hopeful they’ll continue to play as they have the previous four series.

“We have room to grow,” Ventura said. “Have to get healthy first. If we can get some guys back, Justin is going out on his rehab assignment right now and there is some stuff that could change in the way we look. TA coming on, there is some different dynamics to what we are compared to when we left spring training.”

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

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.