White Sox

Sox fall in extras, nine-game winning streak snapped

782310.png

Sox fall in extras, nine-game winning streak snapped

Ichiro Suzuki homered twice, John Jaso hit a tiebreaking double in the 12th inning and the Seattle Mariners ended Chicago's nine-game winning streak by beating the White Sox 10-8 Saturday.Jesus Montero led off the 10th with a double against Addison Reed (0-1). One out later, Jaso drove in pinch-runner Munenori Kawasaki. Chone Figgins followed with an RBI single.Tom Wilhelmsen (2-1) pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one hit, for the victory. Hisashi Iwakuma earned his second save by pitching the 12th, retiring Adam Dunn on a grounder with a runner on second to end it.Michael Saunders homered and had four of Seattle's 15 hits.Chicago's Dayan Viciedo tied the game with a two-out solo homer in the eighth off Stephen Pryor - the eighth home run of the game, four by each team.The Mariners had rallied with three runs in the eighth off Jesse Crain for an 8-7 lead on Brendan Ryan's two-run double and an error on catcher A.J. Pierzynski, when his throw attempting to nab a stealing Ryan skipped past third and into left field.Suzuki, just moved back to the leadoff spot Friday, hit two of Seattle's homers on a breezy, 73-degree day at U.S. Cellular Field.Chicago's Gordon Beckham, who had a pair of homers in Friday night's series opener, drove out a two-run shot to finish Seattle starter Hector Noesi after 4 1-3 innings and give the White Sox their first lead at 6-5. Beckham added an RBI infield single in the seventh for a two-run cushion.In addition to Suzuki, Justin Smoak and Saunders also went deep off Chicago starter Gavin Floyd.Pierzynski and Alex Rios also homered for first-place Chicago.Suzuki homered to start the game, the 37th leadoff homer of his career. Smoak led off the second with another shot and then Ichiro went deep again leading off the third - the sixth multihomer game of his career.Saunders, who dropped a fly ball in the eighth inning Friday night that helped the White Sox to a 7-4 victory, hit Seattle's fourth homer of the game off Floyd, a two-run shot that made it 5-3 in the fourth.Pierzynski had a two-run homer, his ninth of the season to surpass his total from last year, in the second and Beckham added an RBI single in the third.Rios homered off Noesi in the fourth, cutting Seattle's lead to 5-4. The White Sox got an insurance run in the seventh when Alejandro De Aza singled, stole second and kept running to score on Beckham's infield single.Noesi allowed seven hits and six runs. Floyd yielded nine hits and five runs in five-plus innings and has given up 37 hits and 26 earned runs in his last 19 2-3 innings over four starts.NOTES:
Carlton Fisk, a Hall of Famer who caught for both the Red and White Sox, threw out the first pitch. Fisk said he was happy for former teammate Robin Ventura when he got the manager's job in Chicago, although he was scratching his head when he first heard. "When he got the job, I was saying Why? What is the purpose? How did this come about?' And then my first time in here, I sat in Robin's office for 45 minutes ... and just talked about the whole process. It's pretty interesting the way it came about," Fisk said.

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

0219_alec_hansen.jpg
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

0218-dylan-covey.jpg
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.