White Sox

Todd Frazier's homer in 10th sends White Sox past Royals

Todd Frazier's homer in 10th sends White Sox past Royals

KANSAS CITY -- The White Sox solved their late-inning woes at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night.

All it took was Jacob Turner and Dan Jennings.

Todd Frazier belted a three-run home run and the White Sox overcame a blown save by David Robertson to beat the Kansas City Royals 7-5 in 10 innings in front of 27,134. Shortly after Justin Morneau’s fourth hit, a one-out double, put a pair in scoring position, Frazier ripped a first-pitch fastball by Kelvin Herrera for his 31st homer. The White Sox won for the first time in Kansas City in four tries this season despite their fourth blown save.

“Here it’s always been tough for us,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “They can scratch stuff across.

“It was a nice pushback after that, we get a couple guys on. (Jose Abreu) gets on, Morneau has a great at-bat with a double down the line, hanging in there and getting the barrel on the bat and then Frazier with the big one. Here we need all of them.”

The White Sox had been here before.

In their previous trip in May, the bullpen allowed 14 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings and took the loss in all three games as the Royals swept the White Sox. Seemingly every reliever got roughed up in a horrifying series.

Robertson, who allowed six runs in a non-save opportunity in an 8-7 loss on May 28, surrendered the tying run again on Tuesday. He allowed a leadoff single to Kendrys Morales and pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson stole second and scored on a two-out RBI single by Alcides Escobar. But Robertson, who has blown five of 32 tries, rebounded and retired Raul Mondesi to send it to extras.

Abreu then started a one-out rally in the 10th with a single off Herrera and Morneau yanked a double to right field to bring up Frazier. Combined with a May 9 grand slam in Texas, Frazier is the first player with two go-ahead homers in extra innings in the same season since Colorado’s Alex Gonzalez in 2010.

“It was big,” Frazier said. “We pick each other up. Dave gave up that RBI single, but we knew in our heads ‘Let’s pick the guy up.’ He’s been doing great all year. I needed that in the biggest way in the world.

“Frustrating day. Trying to find my swing a little bit. Finally, I felt a little connection. I was happy about that. I was happy I could help contribute to the team.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

With Nate Jones having pitched a scoreless eighth, Ventura had to determine who was the next to pitch. Turner allowed one run to score, but recorded two outs in the bottom of the 10th. Jennings then struck out Eric Hosmer to end it and earn the first save of his career.

“Not the normal guys coming in at the end, but Jacob has been moving up the ladder getting in there late in the game and Jennings is tough against lefties,” Ventura said.

The blown save cost Chris Sale his 15 th victory.

In search of his first win since July 2, Sale got stronger as the game progressed. The left-hander fell behind 3-1 in the third inning after he surrendered three consecutive one-out hits, including a two-run single by Hosmer.

But Sale stranded Hosmer at third and got on a roll to retired 13 straight. He allowed three earned runs and seven hits in seven innings and struck out seven.

Much like Sale, the White Sox offense came to life after a slow start against Edinson Volquez. Trailing 3-1, the White Sox had five straight two-out singles in the fifth to pull ahead. Morneau had the last to make it a 4-3 game.

The rally had Sale and the White Sox in line for a victory until Kansas City spoiled another ninth inning. But thanks to Frazier, Turner and Jennings, Sale still had the chance to talk about a win afterward.

“We’re listening to music right now and it’s a good time so that’s all that really matters,” Sale said. “I’m not a big fan of individual stats. To be able to come back after something like that, it’s big. It says a lot about our guys, especially being here in this stadium.”

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.