White Sox

Oakland rocks Jeff Samardzija, White Sox in double-digit loss


Oakland rocks Jeff Samardzija, White Sox in double-digit loss

Leury Garcia and Alexei Ramirez both pitched for the White Sox on Tuesday night.

Should give you an idea how things went for Jeff Samardzija.

In the midst of an already difficult season, Samardzija was rocked for a career-high 10 runs in three-plus innings and the White Sox were trounced by the Oakland A’s, 17-6, at U.S. Cellular Field. Garcia and Ramirez each threw a scoreless inning as the White Sox pitched two position players in the same game for only the second time in club history and first since 1902.

“It's been tough, especially it's tough to do when you've got your position players out there pitching on the day you start,” Samardzija said. “It doesn't feel good and it's not what you want.”

Garcia and Ramirez provided levity to an otherwise awful day for the White Sox.

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Consider: Jose Abreu reached base four times in four trips and both Ramirez and Melky Cabrera hit their 10th home runs and none of it mattered.

Samardzija (9-13) made it all moot.

He walked two of the first four batters he faced to load the bases en route to surrendering five first-inning runs.

And it only got worse.

Samardzija, who allowed nine runs three previous times, including twice this season, faced 10 batters in the first inning. The White Sox scored twice in the bottom of the first but Eric Sogard’s RBI triple in the third gave Oakland a 6-2 lead.

Then the A’s began to pour it on.

They sent 15 men to the plate against Samardzija and Daniel Webb in the fourth inning and scored 10 times to take a 14-run lead.

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Samardzija was showered with boos as he exited after he allowed 11 hits and walked three in three-plus innings. The outing raised his earned-run average from 4.89 to 5.27.

“It's got to be command,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It's going to come down to command and being able to spot, throw strikes, all that stuff. I mean that's what it comes down to.

“He's going out competing. The results aren't there but as far as focus and being in the moment and pitching, he's doing that. It's just not going well. That’s a fact.”

With both Samardzija and Sunday’s starter Chris Sale only recording nine outs each, and a 14-inning game in between, Ventura needed a yeoman’s effort from his bullpen.

But Webb only recorded an out as he allowed six runs (four earned) and Zach Putnam, Nate Jones and Matt Albers could only get the White Sox through the seventh inning. Ventura turned to Garcia, who pitched last season, for the eighth and Ramirez in the ninth.

“You really don't like doing that,” Ventura said. “The way the bullpen was the last few days, we're very light out there. Leury has done it before, Alexei is probably the best equipped to throw strikes and make the best of a bad situation.”

Garcia’s scoreless inning was his second career appearance. He struck out one and gave up a hit and a hit a batter.

Ramirez allowed a hit, hit a batter and shook off Geovany Soto in his pitching debut.

Garcia and Ramirez became the first position players since Frank Isbell and Sam Mertes on Sept. 28, 1902 to pitch in the same game for the White Sox, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

“It wasn’t the ideal situation for the team,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “But because of the score and the situation, I just talked with Robin and said, ‘Hey, if you need someone to pitch, I can do it.’ Yeah, I enjoyed it. It was very special. I have to thank him for the opportunity. It was something that I always liked to do and I could do it today. I enjoyed it.”

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries


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?


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.”