White Sox

Tigers pour it on late to put away Chris Sale, White Sox

Tigers pour it on late to put away Chris Sale, White Sox

DETROIT — J.D. Martinez homered and drove in three runs, Mike Pelfrey ended an 18-start winless string and the Detroit Tigers beat Chris Sale and the White Sox, 7-4, on Saturday.

During the game, the White Sox announced they had acquired former All-Star pitcher James Shields and cash from San Diego for two players.

White Sox left fielder Jason Coats, making his major league debut, exited in the seventh inning after colliding with center fielder J.B. Shuck. Coats was bleeding from a cut in his mouth, was tested for a concussion and was listed as day to day.

Martinez hit a go-ahead home run in the sixth that helped Pelfrey post his first win since last Aug. 12. He allowed two runs on five hits and three walks in six innings, striking out three.

After Mark Lowe allowed two runs in the ninth, Francisco Rodriguez got the final out for his 14th save.

Sale (9-2) failed again to become the first 10-game winner in the majors. He allowed four runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings, and is now 0-2 in his last three starts.

Victor Martinez went 2-for-2 with a walk against Sale and is now hitting .500 (18-36) against the White Sox ace in his career.

For Detroit's annual Negro League Tribute game, the Tigers wore Detroit Stars jerseys while the White Sox were dressed as the Chicago American Giants.

Coats was called up from Triple-A Charlotte earlier in the day. He was hurt catching Miguel Cabrera's line drive into the gap.

Coats held onto the ball and was able to get up and make a throw but then fell back to the ground. He walked off on his own power.

The White Sox started the game with three hits to take a 1-0 lead, but Todd Frazier rounded first too far on his RBI single and was thrown out.

Pelfrey was able to escape the inning, and Detroit loaded the bases in the bottom half on two singles and a walk.

Martinez lined a sacrifice fly to left, tying the game, but Nick Castellanos popped out.

Adam Eaton led off the third with a triple and scored his second run of the game on Tyler Saladino's groundout.

Light rain began to fall during the third, but the game continued without interruption as Pelfrey and Sale matched scoreless innings.

Just as the precipitation began to get heavier, J.D. Martinez lined a two-run homer over the White Sox bullpen to give Detroit a 3-2 lead in the sixth. Cameron Maybin added an RBI single in the seventh, and Detroit scored three more in the eighth.

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.