White Sox

Tim Anderson blasts first homer as White Sox top Red Sox

Tim Anderson blasts first homer as White Sox top Red Sox

BOSTON — Tim Anderson has all the makings of being the White Sox shortstop of the future, having hit his way to top prospect status while ascending through the minor leagues.

Only a few days after being promoted to the majors, Anderson was moved to the team’s leadoff spot in an attempt by manager Robin Ventura to spark a scuffling lineup.

On a warm night in Boston, Anderson provided that spark and checked off another first in the process.

The 22-year-old shortstop’s leadoff home run, the first of his career, helped propel the White Sox to a 3-1 win over the Boston Red Sox Tuesday evening at Fenway Park. He blasted the first pitch of the game — a middle in, elevated 91 mile per hour fastball from Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz — over the Green Monster and out of the historic stadium toward Landsdowne Street.

“You get 1-0 after one pitch and that’s going to give you a jolt of energy,” starter Chris Sale said.

The White Sox tacked on another run in the first inning as boos were cackled toward Buccholz from a crowd that had barely settled in its seats. That was more than enough for Sale, who allowed one run over seven innings with nine strikeouts.

Through his first 11 games, Anderson is hitting .292 with a .771 OPS. His aggressiveness has, so far, played well at the major league level — six of his 14 hits have gone for extra bases. He doesn’t have a walk and has 14 strikeouts, and eventually, opposing pitchers will try to turn that aggressiveness against him.

But given Buchholz’ wildness (he entered Tuesday with a career-worst 10.5 percent walk rate), Anderson figured he would get something to hit early in the count to begin the game.

“I felt like he was going to be aggressive, and I’m aggressive too,” Anderson said. “It was just a great moment, good location for me to hit it and I didn’t miss it.”

The White Sox are still a game under .500 and need a win Wednesday to record three consecutive victories for the first time since early May. But after losing 26 of their previous 36 games, the White Sox have pulled out two wins against a legitimate playoff contender in Boston.

On Monday night, Zach Duke and Jose Abreu were the catalysts for a dramatic extra-inning win. Tuesday’s came a little easier thanks to the way Anderson kicked things off.

The irony of Anderson’s home run was that, because it literally left the stadium, there was some question about him getting the ball back to keep. And a few players used the opportunity to rib Anderson about maybe hitting the ball too hard — though he did wind up having the ball returned to him.

“Yeah, that’s what they said,” Anderson smiled, “‘you’re not going to get that one back, since you hit it too far.’”

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey


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


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.