White Sox

Pitching fits: Garcia working hard, Jenks absent

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Pitching fits: Garcia working hard, Jenks absent

Monday, Sept. 20, 2010
Updated 11:10 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

OAKLAND Something to watch down the stretch, White Sox fans, is the fate of two of the remaining three pitchers from the 2005 World Series-winning Chicago squad, Freddy Garcia and Bobby Jenks.

Garcia has been gradually recovering from back pain hes attempted to fight through since the beginning of September. Garcia pitched six innings in his two most recent, aborted starts, the first an eventual 6-4 win over the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 1 and the second a two-inning effort in a 11-6 loss at the Detroit Tigers on Sept. 7. In the process of recovery, Garcia has even received an epidural to relieve the discomfort in his back and aid the then still-alive White Sox playoff hopes.

Garcia has been a true, key cog on the White Sox this season, and is arguably the biggest surprise of the team in 2010. His numbers are nowhere near gaudy (4.88 ERA, and his first sub-2.00 KBB1.93in a decade), but his 62 percent mark on quality starts is second-best among the teams four season-long starters, trailing John Danks by a wisp and leading Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd.

I expect Freddy to pitch this trip, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. I dont know where. I expect him to pitch again but hes got to throw in the pen first. I wont say Im counting on him, but I feel optimistic about having him on the mound before we return to Chicago.

Guillen has been awestruck by Garcias season, and of late, the veteran starters pain threshold. On the flip side, Guillen has been relatively dismissive of Jenks, subscribing to an outta-site, outta-mind philosophy with his wounded closer. Little changed in his comments on Monday in Oakland.

Bobbys home, Guillen said, surprising his pregame media gathering with the news that Jenks had been left behind. The six or seven days were going to be here, hes not going to throw, so I dont see why we would bring him here. White Sox trainer Herm Schneider knows better about what rehab Jenks is going to do.

Jenks, on the other hand, seems to have packed his season in. I said it last week, and Ill repeat it, with a relatively poor season (just 27 saves, a career low, and a 4.44 ERA, a career high and Jenkss first-ever ERA worse than the league average) marked again by iffy conditioning, Jenks is almost certain to leave Chicago after the 2010 season.

The burly closer has been increasingly slowed by injuries and was already on his way out after making 7.5 million this season and looking for a raise in 2011. But the strained forearm that will essentially erase his September has soured for good his future with the team.

While Jake Peavy is on this trip despite his best contribution to the team being antes to the pot on a bad poker night, Jenks is back in Chicago, purportedly to rehab his right arm in ways he could not on the trip with the team.

When Bobbys on the mound or available to pitch, our bullpen is better, said Guillen, chanting again the mantra hes spun all summer. But I dont know what direction were going to go, dont know what we have in mind. Bobbys been great for this organization since hes been here.

If it turns out Jenks has tossed his last with the White Sox, he will go down as the teams second-best fireman of all-time, with 173 saves trailing only Bobby Thigpens 201. And he will also have gone out on a high note, with badass doubleheader saves on Sept. 4 at the Red Sox.

Bringing Jenks back is the front office peoples job, Guillen said. I dont have any idea what theyre going to do. We havent talked about it yet. We havent had any meetings yet. I have to wait and have a clearer idea.

If that sounds like Guillen is hedging, he is. Theres a clear idea of what the future holds, and that future has any number of options, from Sergio Santos to Chris Sale to J.J. Putz to Matt Thornton, taking a crack at filling Jenkss shoes for a fraction of the price. It would be overly dramatic to say Jenkss lost September is the final straw, but while Garcia is fighting like hell to get back on the mound to finish out the season, Jenks is packing up his locker.

Its not just moxieor the lack ofthat has separated the two pitchers as their time in Chicago winds short. Garcias 2010 efforts have produced 1.4 WAR, which is by no means spectacular but downright stellar for the starters 1 million pricetag. Conversely, the only pitcher on the White Sox full-season roster worse than Jenkss 0.3 WAR is Tony Penas -0.6. As overpaid as Scott Linebrink is, he also boasts a 0.3 WAR for 2.5 million less than Jenks.

I hope when we get to Chicago, at least he can throw one or two innings to see if he can finish the year, Guillen said.

Guillen, while fully respecting the enormous role Jenks has played for the White Sox in his six seasons on the South Side, surely doesnt believe he will.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

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.”