White Sox

SI unveils White Sox health report

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SI unveils White Sox health report

Sports Illustrated's Will Carroll and Dan Wade rolled out their yearly pre-season injury reports for each MLB team on Wednesday, and as usual, they dole out praise to Herm Schneider and his training staff. I really like this line from Dan:

"The front office may not intentionally present the med staff with a team full of problem cases, but knowing that even chronic injuries can be managed by this top-line team has to give Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn a greater sense of freedom with respect to player acquisition."

Freddy Garcia turned out to be a big part of the Sox rotation in 2009 and 2010, managing to stay healthy after a few injury-riddled years after he was dealt to Philadelphia following the 2006 season. Carlos Quentin ran into numerous injuries during his four-year tenure with the Sox, but managed to play at least 130 games in half of those seasons. Those are just two examples of many, but there's no doubting that the Sox do have a great asset in their training staff.

With that in mind, here's how the list breaks down (explanation of the system here):

Green light: Alexei Ramirez, Brent Morel, Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, Gavin Floyd

Yellow light: A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, Gordon Beckham, Alejandro De Aza, John Danks, Philip Humber, Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton

Red light: Dayan Viciedo, Jake Peavy, Chris Sale

I think concerns over Viciedo's weight are a little overblown, but Dan does make a good point that if Viciedo picks up a minor knock, he won't be able to be stashed at DH. Luckily, the Sox have Kosuke Fukudome and Brent Lillibridge on the roster, so if he needs a break, they won't lose much overall.

Sale's red light rating comes from his expected innings bump, but I'd expect the Sox to meticulously manage Sale's workload throughout the season even if they're in contention.

Peavy's an obvious red light, no matter how good he says he feels. He hasn't made more than 18 starts since 2008 and hasn't pitched a full season injury-free since winning the Cy Young in 2007.

Last thought: I was a little surprised to not see De Aza in the red light section given his promising career with the Marlins was derailed due to a string of injuries a few years ago. He was healthy all through 2011, though, and hopefully under the watch of Schneider he'll stay that way in 2012.

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

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.