White Sox

Sox crush Twins with late offensive explosion

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Sox crush Twins with late offensive explosion

Dormant for the previous week, the White Sox offense has resurfaced the last two nights.

Tuesdays appearance couldnt have been timed any better as the White Sox rallied late for an 11-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins in front of 34,715 at U.S. Cellular Field. Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn both homered and Dayan Viciedo had a clutch two-run single as the White Sox scored nine runs in their final two innings at-bat to move back into a tie with the Detroit Tigers for first place in the American League Central. Nate Jones (4-0) earned the victory for the White Sox, who have scored 18 runs the last two days, with a scoreless inning pitched.

Dunns homer was his 30th of the season.

He couldnt have picked a better spot.

Down two in the seventh, Dunn followed a walk to Kevin Youkilis with a 417-foot homer to right-center off Twins left-hander Tyler Robertson to tie the game. Dunn has now hit at least 30 homers eight times in his career.

But the White Sox -- who scored 22 runs in the last nine games of their 10-game road trip -- werent done yet.

Konerko, who hit a solo homer in the fifth inning to give the White Sox a lead, stayed hot with a single to center. Konerko finished 4-for-4 and has 15 hits in his last 28 at-bats.

Alex Rios then doubled off the wall in left and the Twins elected to intentionally walk Alexei Ramirez.

Viciedo then provided the White Sox with their first hit with a runner in scoring position -- a two-run single to left -- to give his team a 6-4 lead. The White Sox were 0-for-6 before Viciedo and stranded seven base runners.

An inning later, Alejandro De Aza and Youkilis walked and Dunn doubled to the corner in left to score two more. Rios continued the offensive explosion with an RBI single and Ramirez hit a two-run homer to make it 11-4.

Jose Quintana looked strong early, but paid for a pair of mistakes to Josh Willingham.

Willingham tied the game with a solo homer in the fourth inning. Two innings later, Willingham he a three-run shot -- his 25th -- to give Minnesota a 4-2 lead.

Quintana allowed four earned runs and eight hits in 6 13 innings.

Jones, Matt Thornto and Brett Myers combined for 2 23 scoreless innings in relief.

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.