White Sox

Mistakes abound as White Sox lose to Twins

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Mistakes abound as White Sox lose to Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — John Danks took the blame for Monday night’s loss and there’s no question he played a significant role in the outcome.

But make no mistake: the White Sox lost 13-2 to the Minnesota Twins in front of 24,094 at Target Field behind a team effort. The White Sox made three outs on the bases, committed three errors and Danks allowed nine runs in 5 1/3 innings as Minnesota won the eighth of 11 meetings between the teams.

“I stunk,” Danks said. “There’s really no other way to put it. Wasn’t good in the bullpen, wasn’t good in the game. Made bad pitches, got hit. Got to throw early strikes, get ahead, make quality pitches. I did none of those.”

His teammates didn’t cross off many of the necessary boxes to win a ballgame behind him.

It began innocently enough on the bases.

[MORE: White Sox: Melky Cabrera's bat has heated up in June]

Trailing 1-0, the White Sox rallied on a two-out, two-run, bases-loaded single by Adam LaRoche in the third inning. The White Sox appeared to be in line for a big inning as Alexei Ramirez followed with another two-out hit — something they sorely lacked — but Melky Cabrera was thrown out at home after he appeared to look back to locate the ball. Byron Buxton fired a rope from center to throw Cabrera out by two steps to end the inning.

Gordon Beckham started the fourth with a single to shallow center, a play that took the middle infielders far away from the base. Beckham hustled and tried to sneak into second only to be easily thrown out as pitcher Tommy Milone covered and tagged the runner out.

Geovany Soto followed Beckham with a double to right and one out later, he was thrown out on the bases. Soto headed for third on Adam Eaton’s fielder’s choice and rather than throw to first — where he likely would have had time to retire Eaton for the final out — Trevor Plouffe started an inning-ending rundown to retire Soto.

“Right now we’re just not finding a way to win the game, make the plays to win the game, getting the knocks to win the game,” Beckham said. “We’re just not finding the way to do it.”

The three outs on the bases gives the White Sox 36 for the season, which is how many Tampa Bay, who had the most OOB in the majors, had to start the day.

Then the defense took over.

Shortly after Joe Mauer tied the game at 2 with a solo homer off Danks, the defense let things get out of hand. Danks walked Torii Hunter but appeared to get a routine double play off the bat of Plouffe only for Ramirez to throw over the head of second baseman Carlos Sanchez and into right field. On the next play, Cabrera hauled in a routine fly to left and Ramirez didn’t catch his relay throw, which struck Hunter and allowed Plouffe to advance to second base on an error. Kurt Suzuki made it 3-2 with a sac fly and Kennys Vargas put the Twins ahead by two runs with a two-out single to left.

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Three more errors give the White Sox 49 on the season, the sixth-most in the majors.

“There’s one of that you should have made, we know that,” Ventura said. “At that point it does get frustrating, but that wasn’t the reason for the game.”

“We made some mistakes but they swung it, too.”

Danks left one up to Eduardo Nunez, who homered to give Minnesota a 6-2 lead. Two innings later, Danks gave up three more hits, including a massive three-run homer to Vargas as the Twins went up 9-2.

Danks — who entered the game with a 5.16 ERA — has allowed 14 homers in 80 1/3 innings this season. Last season, Danks gave up 25 homers in 193 2/3 innings.

The Twins’ power surge wasn’t finished as Hunter doubled in two more runs in the sixth inning off Scott Carroll. Then in the eighth, Brian Dozier hit a two-run homer off reliever Junior Guerra.

“It wasn’t for a lack of trying, lack of care,” Danks said of the Ramirez error. “Just the game of baseball. That play had no bearing on any pitches after that. It was my job to pick him up and I didn’t do it. That play had no bearing on the sixth inning, either. “That’s not why we lost the game.”

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.”