White Sox

Tim Anderson would like to see more fans in 'danger zone' protected by netting

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USA TODAY

Tim Anderson would like to see more fans in 'danger zone' protected by netting

HOUSTON -- Tim Anderson and Rick Renteria lent their support Thursday to extended netting after a foul ball seriously injured a young New York Yankees fan.

The day after a 2-year-old girl was struck in the face by a ball, the White Sox shortstop said he tries to ensure his own family only sits in areas covered by protective netting. That means Anderson’s wife and 1 1/2-year-old daughter rarely sit down the line or behind the dugout. Only 10 of 30 baseball stadiums have netting that extends beyond the home plate side of each dugout as per the recommendation of Major League Baseball.

“I don’t like them sitting above the dugout or down the line -- it’s kind of the danger zone,” Anderson said. “Line drives go down there all throughout the game.”

“You hate to see that happen. Hopefully they’ll be able to extend nets down there to protect kids because there’s a lot of kids that sit that above the dugouts that the parents don’t pay attention to during the game, they’ve got their heads on their phones.”

Prior to the 2016 season, teams were encouraged by MLB to add netting for all seats within 70 feet of home plate.

[MORE: Jose Abreu's gift to Yoan Moncada just keeps on giving

But that still leaves plenty of fans in harm’s way. It’s surprising to see incidents similar to Wednesday’s -- which involved a line drive off the bat of ex-White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier -- don’t happen more often. As Anderson noted, baseball has a lot of downtime and because there isn’t constant action sometimes fans get distracted and look at their phones. That can be a recipe for danger for those sitting near to the field.

“Balls are flying off those bats at high rates of speed,” manager Rick Renteria said. “There is a chance for injury. Fans are consumed with not only watching the game, but they’re also taking care of a lot of different things that are going on. They might not be aware of balls in flight, even though they are warned about it.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to (extended netting).”

The White Sox extended their protective netting from the home plate side of each dugout before the start of last season. A team spokesperson said the club works closely with MLB on the topic.

“No one wants to see any fan injured at the ballpark, and our hearts go out to the young girl and her family in New York last night,” White Sox senior vice president of communications Scott Reifert said. “We felt badly for Todd Frazier as well. The White Sox work closely with MLB to continually review fan safety recommendations and the protective netting question. It's a topic that we regularly discuss with MLB, and it likely will be discussed again on a league-wide basis during the offseason as well.”

Anderson said he would approve a change.

“When you see a line drive go into the stands you definitely hope it doesn’t hit anybody,” Anderson said. “Just want to keep all the fans safe, especially the kids.”

Daily White Sox prospects update: Eloy Jimenez hitless no more after crushing two home runs

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Daily White Sox prospects update: Eloy Jimenez hitless no more after crushing two home runs

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Double-A Birmingham

Remember how Eloy Jimenez had yet to pick up his first hit of the 2018 season? Yeah, not anymore. Jimenez smacked a pair of solo home runs in the first of two games Birmingham played Monday.

That's an exciting sight for rebuild-loving White Sox fans, of course. The two dingers came in a 9-5 loss, but Jimenez added a single in the second game, a 6-0 win. Seby Zavala also homered in Game 2, and Jordan Stephens threw six scoreless innings.

Triple-A Charlotte

Charlie Tilson had a hit and a walk in a 5-3 win.

Class A Kannapolis

Luis Gonzalez had a walk and an RBI in a 3-0 win.

Yo-Yo and the Big Elephant: Now this is the show South Side fans have been waiting for

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AP

Yo-Yo and the Big Elephant: Now this is the show South Side fans have been waiting for

Yo-Yo and the Big Elephant sound like characters from your kid’s favorite show (or your favorite show, if you happen to be a kid).

But instead they’re the duo South Side baseball fans have been waiting for.

You might know them better as the Cuban Connection, an alliterative and far less confusing nickname that describes Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu, who in Monday night’s 10-4 win over the visiting Seattle Mariners combined for seven hits, three home runs, a double, a triple, six runs scored and four RBIs.

It was a welcome sight after the White Sox offense slumbered through a weekend series with the Houston Astros in which they mustered just two runs. Heck, this offense has been hard to find during the entire month of April. Entering Monday, it’d produced just 16 runs in its last seven games (with 11 of those coming in a single contest).

But then came Monday’s show, in which Abreu launched a pair of homers and Moncada came a single short of hitting for the cycle. That had to be a proud moment for Abreu, who’s taken his countryman under his wing since Moncada arrived in the majors last summer.

“I’m really mad at him because he had two chances to do it and he couldn’t,” Abreu joked with the help of a translator. “Seriously, I’m really happy for him. I know today was a special game for him. I know he couldn’t hit for the cycle today. But he’s going to have more chances in the future. He’s going to be good.”

This is what White Sox fans have been hoping for. It’s what they’re still waiting for, considering much of that oft-discussed team of the future is still developing in the minor leagues. But Moncada is the story of 2018 at the major league level, how development will continue for the player White Sox fans drooled over at this time last year, when he was ranked as baseball’s top prospect.

Moncada got a lot of early attention for his high strikeout total, and with another punch out Monday he’s now got 34 on the season, still one of the highest totals in the league. But his numbers are looking good in many other facets. He raised his batting average .026 points Monday alone, and he’s now slashing .240/.345/.493 on the still-young season.

Abreu, of course, is the White Sox best hitter and has been ever since he arrived from Cuba before the 2014 season. For a team in such an offensive rut, Abreu’s four-hit night Monday raised his batting average up over .300, to .308. He’s now got six homers on the season, the most on the team and one of the higher totals in the American League. While Moncada and others will spend 2018 showing the White Sox what they will be in the future, this was expected from a guy who’s been one of baseball’s most consistent hitters in the last half decade.

But the future comes into play with Abreu, too, whose consistency at the plate and his presence in the clubhouse as a mentor to Moncada and other young players make him as believable a part of those planned future contenders as any of the organization’s highly rated prospects. A contract decision will need to be made at some point, obviously, but the White Sox will tell you any day of the week how much they value Abreu, who knows exactly where this franchise is and is excited as anyone about where it’s going.

“Everybody knows we are in the process, and everybody knows what this process is about,” Abreu said. “We have a lot of young talent, a lot of young players. They are going to hit some bumps and have some struggles as a team. But I think we all know how we have to play this game. (Manager Rick Renteria) has taught us how to play this game, how to play this game representing the White Sox organization and how they play this game.

“I feel really happy. We prove today that we are able to play a good game and to show the rest how we win games. That is the way we like to play.”

Monday was a bright spot in what’s been an otherwise very tough start to the 2018 campaign. But for a team where the future is what matters most, this is what fans have been waiting to see. A game like this might not be commonplace as the summer rolls on on the South Side. But for those dreaming about Moncada and Abreu teaming to lead those contenders of the future, this was one heck of a glimpse into the crystal ball.

“That’s our goal to have big games together for this team,” Moncada said. “Having the opportunity to play with Abreu — ‘The Big Elephant’ as we call him in Cuba — it’s good for me. It’s a big honor. I feel really happy when we have these kinds of games.”