White Sox

Pierzynski: I'm over the whole All-Star thing

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Pierzynski: I'm over the whole All-Star thing

A.J. Pierzynski has said about all he has to say regarding his exclusion from the American League roster for next weeks MLB All-Star Game.

Despite a strong case and many supporters inside and outside the White Sox clubhouse, Pierzynski was not named to the roster by Texas manager Ron Washington, who is in town as the Rangers and White Sox begin a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field tonight.

On Sunday, Washington expressed remorse for having to leave Pierzynski off the team. Pierzynski responded harshly at the time, but toned down his comments Tuesday in the Chicago clubhouse.

Im kind of over the whole All-Star thing, so its nice to hear but at the end of the day it doesnt change anything, Pierzynski said about Washingtons comments. Im looking forward to four days at my house, and getting away from baseball and just hanging out with my family.

Thats a different tone than Pierzynski had Sunday.

If (Washington) felt that bad he would have put me on the team, Pierzynski said then. He had an opportunity to do it and he didnt do it. Obviously he can feel as bad as he wants, but he didnt feel that bad.

For his part, Washington wasnt interested in rehashing his decision or reiterating his initial statement. He also didnt want to respond to Pierzynskis rebuke.

I said what I had to say about AJ, and it came from my heart, Washington said. After that, I have no more comment on that. I said what I said. I was asked a question. I brought up Pierzynskis name, thats about it.

Pierzynski is far from the first player to feel snubbed by the All-Star Game selection process. Its an annual event that sometimes overshadows the roster announcement itself.

He deserves to go, but this happens every year and its happened for years and years and years, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. Its nothing new. He deserves to go. Hes played great. But unless they expand the rosters, this is something were going to talk about all the time.

Ventura added he felt Alex Rios also deserved a spot on the team.

Pierzynski is having one of his best seasons in a White Sox uniform. He is batting .285 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI. He leads AL catchers in RBI and is second in home runs, slugging percentage, OPS, runs scored and average.

AJ has been by far one of our most steady offensive guys, but you could say that about (Alejandro) De Aza and Rios, too, said Adam Dunn, one of two White Sox who were named to the AL team. Those guys had tremendous first halves and deserved to go, but I realize you cant take the whole team.

Pierzynskis exclusion came down to Washington choosing Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer as the squads third catcher. Rangers catcher Mike Napoli won the fans vote and will start. Baltimores Matt Wieters won the players vote.

By rule every team must be represented, and Mauer was a clear choice as the Twins sole selection. Mauer leads the AL in on-base percentage and is third in batting average entering Tuesdays action.

When youre picking teams sometimes a lot of people will get snubbed, not because you wanted to but thats the way it is, said Washington, who also managed the AL All-Star team in 2011. You only have so much that you can do and you try to do the best with what you have to do. You cant please everyone.

You got to move on. Thats just life, theres nothing you can do about it. Im certainly not going to apologize for what we put together. We tried to do the best we could.

Making things especially interesting is that Pierzynski and Washington are in the same stadium for the next three days.

Pierzynski said hes known Washington for a while and got to know him a little better during the Rangers run to the AL pennant last season while working for FOX Sports. But he had no plans to confront Washington regarding the perceived snub.

I will say hello to him -- Ive known him for a long time, Pierzynski said. Ill wish him luck and thats it.

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.