White Sox

White Sox: Bad luck returns for Jose Quintana

White Sox: Bad luck returns for Jose Quintana

NEW YORK -- Time for Jose Quintana to find a new four-leaf clover or lucky horseshoe.

His bad luck seems to have resurfaced.

Even though he lowered his earned-run average to 2.13, Quintana earned a fourth straight loss on Monday afternoon as the White Sox dropped a 1-0 decision to the New York Mets. Quintana yielded a seventh-inning home run to Neil Walker, his only blemish in a sturdy seven-inning performance, but was outpitched by Matt Harvey. The defeat dropped Quintana’s record to 5-5.

“This is stuff we see out of him all the time,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “If we could score, he’d have a better record, and everybody would know his name.”

Quintana made it evident early on he was capable of stopping a White Sox losing streak that now stands at seven. He struck out four in a row, including the side in the second inning.

The left-hander, whose streak of 34 straight starts with four or fewer runs allowed is tied with Jake Arrieta for the longest active streak in the majors, induced an inning-ending double play in the fourth. He faced only three over the minimum through six innings and matched zeroes with Harvey.

But Walker came through in the seventh inning and attached an undeserved ‘L’ to Quintana’s name in the box score. During his four-game losing streak, Quintana has a 3.41 ERA in 26 1/3 innings.

“I’m sure he could easily have a much better record over the course of his career if he had a little bit more run support for sure,” catcher Alex Avila said. “But credit to him, he keeps going out there and pitching good games.”

The loss dropped Quintana’s career record to 38-39 despite a 3.35 ERA in 815 innings. Fifteen of those losses have come since the beginning of the 2015 season even though Quintana has a 3.04 ERA in those 43 starts. He’s 14-15 in that span.

The grand total of support Quintana has received in those losses --- 16, including one run or fewer over 12 starts.

While he was speaking about the team after Monday’s loss, Quintana might as well have been discussing himself.

“Right now, we try to get a first win,” Quintana said. “We try to forget everything, the losses, and start again. Tomorrow we’ll try to get the first win.” 

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.