White Sox

Rickety run to finish line for a number of White Sox

Rickety run to finish line for a number of White Sox

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010
10:38 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

OAKLAND There was good news and bad news on the White Sox injury front on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the word on the injured members of the Chicago core wasnt all that good.

Gordon Beckham tried to cautiously work himself back into playing shape by taking some flips rather than live batting practice and had to cut his session short after just a few swings. His discomfort is great enough that the remainder of the road trip and the final White Sox homestand of the season (beginning next Monday) is in clear jeopardy.

Its not good news about Gordon, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. Its still sore. He said he tried to swing the bat and nothing was going for him. We still have to continue his treatment, and when hes ready to play well figure it out.

While Guillen wouldnt shut the door on a return by Beckham, he was frank in hoping he would bow out of the final games of the season, saying so directly.

I wouldnt mind him shutting it down, Guillen continued. We have a couple of guys who can play second.

Gavin Floyd, who left Mondays start after just nine pitches with soreness in the back of his shoulder, was wrapped with ice before Tuesdays warm-up but had removed it in time for the team stretch.

While Floyd indicated he felt increasing pain when his arm was extended on pitches Monday night, he didnt realize his reaction right before he left the game: When Rajai Davis fouled a pitch behind the plate, Floyd threw his arm up to help catcher A.J. Pierzynski locate the popup.

I dont remember doing that, Floyd told me after the game.

The significance here is that Floyd being able to raise his arm to point out a foul might eliminate the possibility of Floyds injury being rotator cuff-related.

The best news with regard to White Sox injuries came from Freddy Garcia, who took time right after his side session to talk to CSNChicago.com about how it went. Even Guillen, who said that hopefully everything went well a half-hour later in his pregame session, wasnt immediately aware of the outcome.

I still feel it, Garcia said of the back pain that has reduced his September to two aborted starts and six innings pitched. But Im better.

Garcia expressed confidence hed be pitching again this season. Its important to get out for one or two more starts.

Its clear that while his back pain was serious enough to necessitate an epidural and throw his season into jeopardy, the pain is all relative to Garcia, who has revitalized his career with his 2009-10 stint with the White Sox (11-6, 4.88 ERA in 144 innings).

This pain is nothing compared to going through surgery and rehab, Garcia said. You never want to think about an injury like that.

Understandably, then, Garcia is prouder of his comeback from shoulder surgery than many of the accomplishmentsrunner-up AL Rookie of the Year, two All-Star Gamesthat came easier to him pre-surgery.

You dont ever think youre going to lose your fastball, Garcia said. Ive have to become a smarter pitcher. My head is more important than my arm now when I have success.

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

Yo-Yo and the Big Elephant: Now this is the show South Side fans have been waiting for

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AP

Yo-Yo and the Big Elephant: Now this is the show South Side fans have been waiting for

Yo-Yo and the Big Elephant sound like characters from your kid’s favorite show (or your favorite show, if you happen to be a kid).

But instead they’re the duo South Side baseball fans have been waiting for.

You might know them better as the Cuban Connection, an alliterative and far less confusing nickname that describes Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu, who in Monday night’s 10-4 win over the visiting Seattle Mariners combined for seven hits, three home runs, a double, a triple, six runs scored and four RBIs.

It was a welcome sight after the White Sox offense slumbered through a weekend series with the Houston Astros in which they mustered just two runs. Heck, this offense has been hard to find during the entire month of April. Entering Monday, it’d produced just 16 runs in its last seven games (with 11 of those coming in a single contest).

But then came Monday’s show, in which Abreu launched a pair of homers and Moncada came a single short of hitting for the cycle. That had to be a proud moment for Abreu, who’s taken his countryman under his wing since Moncada arrived in the majors last summer.

“I’m really mad at him because he had two chances to do it and he couldn’t,” Abreu joked with the help of a translator. “Seriously, I’m really happy for him. I know today was a special game for him. I know he couldn’t hit for the cycle today. But he’s going to have more chances in the future. He’s going to be good.”

This is what White Sox fans have been hoping for. It’s what they’re still waiting for, considering much of that oft-discussed team of the future is still developing in the minor leagues. But Moncada is the story of 2018 at the major league level, how development will continue for the player White Sox fans drooled over at this time last year, when he was ranked as baseball’s top prospect.

Moncada got a lot of early attention for his high strikeout total, and with another punch out Monday he’s now got 34 on the season, still one of the highest totals in the league. But his numbers are looking good in many other facets. He raised his batting average .026 points Monday alone, and he’s now slashing .240/.345/.493 on the still-young season.

Abreu, of course, is the White Sox best hitter and has been ever since he arrived from Cuba before the 2014 season. For a team in such an offensive rut, Abreu’s four-hit night Monday raised his batting average up over .300, to .308. He’s now got six homers on the season, the most on the team and one of the higher totals in the American League. While Moncada and others will spend 2018 showing the White Sox what they will be in the future, this was expected from a guy who’s been one of baseball’s most consistent hitters in the last half decade.

But the future comes into play with Abreu, too, whose consistency at the plate and his presence in the clubhouse as a mentor to Moncada and other young players make him as believable a part of those planned future contenders as any of the organization’s highly rated prospects. A contract decision will need to be made at some point, obviously, but the White Sox will tell you any day of the week how much they value Abreu, who knows exactly where this franchise is and is excited as anyone about where it’s going.

“Everybody knows we are in the process, and everybody knows what this process is about,” Abreu said. “We have a lot of young talent, a lot of young players. They are going to hit some bumps and have some struggles as a team. But I think we all know how we have to play this game. (Manager Rick Renteria) has taught us how to play this game, how to play this game representing the White Sox organization and how they play this game.

“I feel really happy. We prove today that we are able to play a good game and to show the rest how we win games. That is the way we like to play.”

Monday was a bright spot in what’s been an otherwise very tough start to the 2018 campaign. But for a team where the future is what matters most, this is what fans have been waiting to see. A game like this might not be commonplace as the summer rolls on on the South Side. But for those dreaming about Moncada and Abreu teaming to lead those contenders of the future, this was one heck of a glimpse into the crystal ball.

“That’s our goal to have big games together for this team,” Moncada said. “Having the opportunity to play with Abreu — ‘The Big Elephant’ as we call him in Cuba — it’s good for me. It’s a big honor. I feel really happy when we have these kinds of games.”

Yoan Moncada nearly hits for the cycle, Jose Abreu hits two homers and the White Sox finally break out the bats

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AP

Yoan Moncada nearly hits for the cycle, Jose Abreu hits two homers and the White Sox finally break out the bats

So, anyone out there still worried about Yoan Moncada?

The White Sox second baseman, who at this time last year was the top-ranked prospect in baseball, was the subject of much social-media frustration through the season's first few weeks. But it's safe to say he's "redeemed" himself in the eyes of fretting fans.

Monday night, he led the White Sox offensive eruption with a three-hit night that brought him just a single shy of the cycle in a 10-4 win over the visiting Seattle Mariners.

Moncada started the offensive outburst with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the first inning. He doubled to start the bottom of the second and launched a solo homer to begin the bottom of the fourth. He scored all three times.

Moncada entered the game with a .214/.329/.400 slash line, though he's been hot of late. In the last seven games, he's got nine hits, six extra-base hits and three homers. He still has 34 strikeouts on the season, one of the highest totals in the majors, but he's putting up some good numbers elsewhere.

Abreu also had a red-hot Monday night, picking up four hits with a couple of homers, the 12th time he's bashed multiple long balls in a single game.

It was quite the performance for a White Sox offense that has mostly been quiet so far in 2018. They scored just two total runs in three straight blowout losses against the Houston Astros over the weekend. And while they plated 11 in that 14-inning marathon in Oakland, the three road games prior to that featured a grand total of three runs.

Monday night that all changed with the White Sox banging out 18 hits, including seven straight to start the bottom of the first, the first time that happened in the big leagues in four years.