White Sox

White Sox: Alexei Ramirez deems ninth-inning safe call incorrect

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White Sox: Alexei Ramirez deems ninth-inning safe call incorrect

DETROIT — The throw to second base was there. The shortstop was incensed by the safe call when he tagged the runner out. The umpire authoritatively ruled the runner had safely reached the bag.

Without what he believed was proper evidence from his dugout until it was too late, White Sox manager Robin Ventura elected not to challenge the definitive play in a 2-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Friday afternoon.

Two batters after Nick Castellanos was ruled safe at second base -- though the Detroit Fox Sports feed appeared to show Alexei Ramirez tagged him out -- Jose Iglesias singled through a drawn-in infield to give the Tigers a walkoff victory. The loss, their second straight, dropped the White Sox to 3-6.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Controversial play helps Tigers past White Sox]

“They said (Ramirez) missed him,” Ventura said of his video crew. “I wish I could actually watch it. You have to go with what your guys are going with. You could just go out and challenge it anyway, but when you get a ‘He missed him,’ you don’t challenge it.”
“You think about doing it anyway if you get a maybe. Yeah you think about doing it. I didn’t even get a maybe.”

There’s no uncertainty in the mind of Ramirez.

After Avisail Garcia -- who provided the White Sox only run with a fourth-inning solo homer -- overran the ball hit by Castellanos, he quickly picked it up and fired a strike to second. Ramirez cleanly fielded the ball and tagged the runner’s foot before swiping his glove out of the way.

While local broadcast feeds reportedly didn’t have the correct angle, Ramirez had no doubt second-base ump Brian O’Nora’s safe call was incorrect. 

[MORE WHITE SOX: Jake Petricka could be back in White Sox bullpen mix by Monday]

“He just missed the play,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “I am sure that I tagged him, and I think he was in the wrong spot to see the play. For me it is clear, and I feel it. I tagged him.”

Not surprisingly, Castellanos believes O’Nora made the correct call.

“A lot of umpires, if the ball beats you there, they’ll take it for granted, and call you out,” Castellanos told local reporters. “The ball beat me there, but again, like I said, I didn’t feel a tag. So when he called me safe, I was really thrilled that he stuck with the play.”

Ventura stepped out of the dugout, waited for a sign on whether or not to challenge, and returned when he wasn’t given any indication to push for a replay. Seconds later, and apparently after pinch-runner Andrew Romine already had been announced, Ventura emerged from the dugout again. He headed to first base to speak with crew chief Jeff Kellogg and was informed the time to request a challenge had expired, that the play had been ruled over, a team official said.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans]

Even though he understood that the White Sox didn’t feel they had the proper evidence for an overturn, Ramirez was surprised the play wasn’t challenged.

“We were in the ninth inning -- you have to review the play,” Ramirez said. “I think that maybe they missed the play the first time on the video, but I am 100 percent I tagged him. If you are going to lose, you don’t want to lose in this way.”

Tigers catcher Alex Avila then bunted Romine to third on the first pitch from Duke to set up Igelsias’ heroics. Only one inning after the end of a pitching spectacle between Jeff Samardzija and David Price, the White Sox were handed another tough loss.

“You wish you can get those,” Ventura said. “But if we are only going to score a run, it’s going to be tough.”

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

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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

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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.