White Sox

Top 10 White Sox home games of 2016

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Top 10 White Sox home games of 2016

The weather hasn’t quite warmed up in Chicago yet, but we’re just over a month until the re-tooled White Sox begin the 2016 season. With that in mind, we’re looking at the 10 best home games of the upcoming season. 

Friday, April 8 vs. Cleveland (3:10 p.m.)

The White Sox play their first game at U.S. Cellular Field in 2016 after a four-game series at Oakland against an Indians team that, like the White Sox, harbors a hope to compete for the AL Central this year. 

Tuesday, May 3 vs. Boston (7:10 p.m.) 

Boston’s only trip to Chicago comes from May 3-5, which means one last chance to see David Ortiz play before he retires at the end of the 2016 season. 

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Friday, May 20 vs. Kansas City (7:10 p.m.)

The White Sox don’t play the defending World Series champions until this May 20-22 series at U.S. Cellular Field. Given how heated things got between these two teams last year, there could be more intrigue to this series than just the White Sox trying to knock off the American League’s most recent power — even if Jeff Samardzija, who was at the center of that brawl between the two teams last April, isn’t here anymore. 

Monday, July 4 vs. New York Yankees (1:10 p.m.)

The Yankees, somewhat surprisingly, hosted (and lost) last year’s American League Wild Card game, and might have another playoff run in their aging, expensive roster. This game, and three-game series, could be big near the midway point of the season for the White Sox to help solidify themselves as playoff contenders. 

Sunday, July 10 vs. Atlanta (1:10 p.m.)

A.J. Pierzynski turns 40 at the end of the 2016 calendar year, so the White Sox three-game series against Atlanta from July 8-10 may be the final time he visits Chicago as a a player. He hit .300 in 2015, so perhaps 2016 won’t be his final season, but catchers approaching 40 generally don’t have long shelf lives. Tyler Flowers — who once again is Pierzynksi’s backup — will also return to the South Side in this series. 

Monday, July 25 vs. Cubs (7:10 p.m.)

Tuesday, July 26 vs. Cubs (7:10 p.m.)

The Cubs are projected by just about everyone around baseball to be the best team in the sport this summer, but these Crosstown series are notoriously unpredictable. And if the White Sox are in playoff contention as well? The four games between the two Chicago clubs could be a fun throwback to those heated Crosstown games of the late 1990s and 2000s. 

Monday, Sept. 5 vs. Detroit (3:10 p.m.)

The White Sox final series against Detroit — which went out and splurged on right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and outfielder Justin Upton this winter — begins on Labor Day and comes in the middle of a 20-game stretch against AL Central opponents that could make or break the White Sox playoff hopes. 

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Sunday, Sept. 11 vs. Kansas City (1:10 p.m.)

This matinee represents Kansas City’s final trip to Chicago, and if both teams are in playoff contention, could provide for an awfully entertaining afternoon.  

Sunday, Oct. 2 vs. Minnesota (2:10 p.m)

The White Sox end the 2016 season at home against a Minnesota side that made a surprise playoff push in 2015. If Rick Hahn & Co.’s plan comes together, this game will at best be a celebration of a playoff berth, or potentially an edge-of-your-seat afternoon to see if the White Sox reach the postseason for the first time since 2008. 

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

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AP

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Some teams have it easy, with their 25-man rosters seemingly locked into place before spring training games even start.

The White Sox actually have a lot more locked-down spots than you might think for a rebuilding team, but this spring remains pretty important for a few guys.

The starting rotation figures to be set, with James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer the starting five. Carlos Rodon, of course, owns one of those spots once he returns from injury. But the date of that return remains a mystery.

From this observer’s viewpoint, eight of the everyday nine position players seem to be figured out, too: Welington Castillo behind the plate, Jose Abreu at first base, Yoan Moncada at second base, Tim Anderson at shortstop, Yolmer Sanchez at third base, Nicky Delmonico in left field, Avisail Garcia in right field and Matt Davidson as the designated hitter. More on the omission of a starting center fielder in a bit.

Omar Narvaez would be a logical pick to back up Castillo at catcher, and Tyler Saladino is really the lone reserve infielder with big league experience, not to mention he’s a versatile player that can play anywhere on the infield.

Leury Garcia also figures to be a lock for this 25-man roster. But will he be the everyday center fielder, as he was for a spell last season? He played 51 games in center in 2017 but battled injuries throughout the year. I think Leury Garcia will end up the starting center fielder when the season begins because of his bat. His .270/.316/.423 slash line isn’t going to make anyone do cartwheels, but it’s better than the offensive struggles of Adam Engel, who started 91 games in center in 2017 and slashed .166/.235/.282. Engel would still be a solid inclusion on the bench because of his superb defense, but to create that big a hole in the everyday lineup is tough.

How could that position-player group change? Keep your eyes in center field, where there are a couple other guys who could force their way into a roster spot this spring: Charlie Tilson and Ryan Cordell. Tilson has had a tremendous amount of trouble staying on the field since coming over to the White Sox in a 2016 deadline deal, but that hasn’t dampened the White Sox hopes for him. And Cordell got name-dropped by general manager Rick Hahn during SoxFest, when the GM said he’s received multiple calls about Cordell since acquiring him last summer. Cordell put up good numbers at the Triple-A level prior to a significant injury last year.

But the main battles figure to be in the bullpen. At times this winter, as the White Sox kept adding players to that relief corps mix, that the whole thing seemed wide open. But when you think about it, maybe there are only one or two open spots.

You’d have to think these guys are pretty safe bets to make the team: Juan Minaya, Gregory Infante, Nate Jones, Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan. Though Hector Santiago was just recently acquired on a minor league deal, he’s really the only long man of the group, and he could sub in if there’s an injury to a starting pitcher. That leaves two spots between the group of Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar, Jace Fry, Jose Ruiz and Thyago Vieira — not to mention guys signed to minor league deals like Xavier Cedeno, Jeanmar Gomez and Bruce Rondon.

Bummer had a 4.50 ERA in 30 big league games last year. Farquhar had a 4.40 ERA in 15 games. Vieira has gotten attention as a flame-thrower, but he’s got just one big league game under his belt, something that might or might not matter to the rebuilding White Sox. Guys like Gomez, who has 40 career saves including 37 just two years ago, and Rondon, who had multiple shots at the Detroit Tigers’ closing job in the past, could vault themselves into the mix as potential midseason trade candidates.

Then there's the question of which of those guys will be Rick Renteria's closer. Minaya had closing duties after most of the bullpen was traded away last summer. He picked up nine saves and posted a 4.11 ERA in his final 17 appearances of the campaign. Look to Soria, though, a veteran with plenty of closing experience from his days with the Kansas City Royals. If he's given the opportunity to close and succeeds, he could fetch an intriguing return package in a potential deadline deal.

But now it's game time in Arizona.

“The fun part of playing the game of baseball is playing the game of baseball," Renteria said earlier this week. "We prepare. I think they all enjoy what they’re doing in terms of their preparation. They take it seriously, they focus. But ultimately like everything that we do in life, I guess it’s a test. And the games are a test for us on a daily basis. And how we are able to evaluate them and take advantage of the opportunities that we have to see them in a real game situation is certainly helpful for us.”