White Sox

Trayce Thompson's big night leads White Sox past Red Sox

trayce-thompson-white-sox-8-25-15.png

Trayce Thompson's big night leads White Sox past Red Sox

Trayce Thompson salvaged what looked to be an ugly night for the White Sox on Tuesday.

The rookie outfielder doubled in the go-ahead runs in the seventh inning and finished with three hits and the White Sox rebounded from a series of mistakes to top the Boston Red Sox 5-4 in front of 14,393 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Thompson, who finished a home run shy of the cycle, drove in three runs as the White Sox won their fourth in six tries.

“(Thompson is) on a nice run,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He belongs here and he knows that. The way he’s taking his at-bats, he’s going up there being aggressive and confidence is high with him right now.”

The White Sox have tried to put Thompson in the best position for success since his Aug. 3 promotion from Triple-A Charlotte. So far he’s mostly faced left-handed pitchers as only six at-bats have come against righties.

Thompson has torched southpaw pitchers with 10 hits in 17 at-bats, including a career-high three against Boston starter Wade Miley on Tuesday.

The last of the trio salvaged what had been a miserable night for the White Sox. They had already run into two of three outs on the bases, stranded eight runners and committed two errors.

[MORE: White Sox want base runners to maintain aggressive approach]

But Thompson made it moot when he ripped a 1-0 fastball from Miley into the left-field corner to drive in Melky Cabrera, who had singled in a run, and Avisail Garcia, who walked with two outs.

“Here it’s all about getting in the game,” Thompson said. “If you can help the team win you’re going to get in the game. You always have to stay ready, you never know if they’re going to have a left-hander down there and if Robin wants to use you or not. My routine I think has helped me a lot and I haven’t changed it. It’s helped me a lot and helped me have success.”

Jose Quintana helped keep the White Sox close enough for Thompson’s heroics.

Boston took a 2-1 lead in the third inning on a Keystone Cops routine by Geovany Soto and Quintana, both of whom left home plate unattended when they chased after a bad relay throw home on Mookie Betts’ RBI double, which allowed Betts to score the go-ahead run.

Quintana — who allowed seven hits and four runs (three earned) with six strikeouts in six innings — allowed two more runs in the sixth inning to fall behind 4-2. But he kept Boston from blowing it open with strikeouts of David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez.

“That’s really important because you put your team in a situation for the comeback,” Quintana said. “They did and we came back, Thompson had a really good at-bat and we won.”

The White Sox offense missed opportunities in the early going and gave away three more.

They pulled ahead 1-0 in the second inning on Carlos Sanchez’s two-out RBI single but could have had much, much more. Thompson had a leadoff triple in the second but was thrown out at home on a grounder to third (the contact play was on). Soto followed with a single but was thrown out advancing to third on Sanchez’s single to end the inning. Sanchez also ran into an out in the eighth to give the White Sox a major league-best 59.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Down by a run, the White Sox opened the fourth inning with three straight singles, the last by Thompson to tie it. But Miley got a force at third on Alexei Ramirez’s bunt and pitched out of trouble.

The White Sox stranded another runner in the fifth and two more in the sixth inning as they fell behind Boston 4-2.

But Thompson’s confidence erased it all.

Ventura said Thompson would see more playing time in the future. Thompson became the youngest White Sox player since Ventura on April 15, 1990 to have a single, double and triple in the same game.

“(Playing time is) going to get there,” Ventura said. “The last at-bat was a big one for us.

“You don’t like seeing what we did earlier. … We kicked it around tonight, and I think the offense did enough to overcome it.”

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

0219_alec_hansen.jpg
AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

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

0218-dylan-covey.jpg
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.