White Sox

White Sox David Robertson's foundation helps Illinois tornado victims

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White Sox David Robertson's foundation helps Illinois tornado victims

CLEVELAND - The much-needed relief David Robertson has delivered this week hasn’t been restricted to the mound.

A day after he recorded his second save of the season, the White Sox closer said Wednesday morning that his foundation, High Socks For Hope, is on the ground in the communities surrounding Rockford, Ill., that were ravaged by last week’s tornadoes. Robertson said representatives of the foundation, which he and his wife, Erin, began in 2011, have served more than 200 hot meals to members of those communities.

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After joining the White Sox this offseason, the Tuscaloosa, Ala. native hopes to establish ties in Chicago and provide further assistance to those areas in the near future.

“I’ve seen what (tornadoes) can do,” Robertson said. “It’s amazing how much damage a tornado can create, especially when they got big like that (Alabama). It seemed like Illinois got hit pretty hard. We’ll continue to try to help out any way possible.

“We’re going to continue to try and raise money and figure out how best to help the community.”

The Robertsons started their foundation in 2011 after Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Ala. were hard hit by an F-4 tornado that left 64 dead. Since 2011, Robertson has pledged $100 for every strikeout and $200 for each save, raising more than $13,000 to date, including $1,200 this season.

Robertson hopes to engage the local community and find corporate sponsorship for his non-profit once his family is settled in Chicago. In the past, Robertson has been able to help residents of Staten Island, N.Y., who were affected by Superstorm Sandy, as well as tornado victims in Norman, Okla. and in Texas.

One save away from 50 in his career, Robertson said he hopes to further help those affected in Rochelle, Ill. and Fairdale, Ill. after things have settled down and the debris has been cleared. Robertson said one area in particular his foundation has helped is furnishing homes and apartments, in particular providing mattresses.

“When you lose everything, going to get a new mattress can cost you, there’s no telling,” Robertson said.

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Though he didn’t know anyone killed in Tuscaloosa, Robertson felt the impact. People’s houses, restaurants he’d dined at, were flattened by the storm. Robertson’s work in Alabama continued this offseason as the foundation helped to furnish 50 newly built apartments for local veterans.

“Lot of places I grew up going over to are just gone,” Robertson said. “We’ve got to get back on the fundraising trail again. If we can get that going again we can really help some families.”

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.