White Sox

White Sox drop opener to Rangers

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White Sox drop opener to Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)Colby Lewis struck out nine in his first opening day start, Ian Kinsler homered and the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers began the season with a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday.

Kinsler, unable to reach a deal on a new long-term contract before his self-imposed deadline of opening day to end negotiations, had a leadoff double in the first and scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Hamilton. Kinsler hit a solo homer in the third.

The loss spoiled the managerial debut of Robin Ventura, who before the game had his first meeting with Nolan Ryan since charging the mound 19 seasons earlier against the Hall of Fame pitcher. Ryan is now president, CEO and part-owner of the Rangers.

It was a picture-perfect day75 degrees under blue skiesfor the Rangers opener, which came just more than five months after they twice came within one strike of a World Series championship before losing in seven games to St. Louis.

Lewis (1-0) walked only one over six innings, throwing 70 of 100 pitches for strikes. The only other Rangers pitcher with nine strikeouts in a season opener was Ryan in 1991.

Alexi Ogando, an All-Star and 13-game winner as a starter last season, is back in the bullpen and struck out all three batters in faced in the seventh after Texas regained the lead and Lewis left.

New Rangers closer Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth for the save.

Hamilton, the slugger and former AL MVP who can become a free agent after this season, had a leadoff single in the sixth off White Sox starter John Danks (0-1). Hamilton scored to break a 2-all tie on a single by Michael Young, the longest-tenured Ranger starting his 12th season.

Adam Dunn homered leading off the sixth for the White Sox, tying a major league record with his eighth opening day home run when he pulled a ball into the second deck of seats in right field. Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey Jr. are the only other major leaguers who have eight homers in openers.

Dunn batted third in the White Sox lineup. Last year, the highly paid slugger hit .159 with only 11 homers while striking out 177 times in 415 at-bats.

Alex Rios was hit by a pitch with two outs in the White Sox sixth, and the speedster was on the run when Alexi Ramirez singled to left. Rios scored to tie it at 2.

Danks first opening day start came in the stadium he visited often growing up in Austin about three hours away and where he always expected to pitch an opener after being drafted ninth overall by Texas in 2003. But he was traded to Chicago in December 2006, and got a new 65 million, five-year contract from the White Sox this winter.

Ventura, a surprise hire by the White Sox after Ozzie Guillen went to be Miamis manager, hadnt spoken to Ryan since charging the mound against him on a hot August night at old Arlington Stadium in 1993. Ryan, 20 years older and in the last year of his playing career, got Ventura in a headlock and landed several blows. Ventura was then a 26-year-old third baseman for the White Sox.

Before Fridays opener, Ryan went to the White Sox clubhouse and visited with Ventura.

Notes

It is the sixth time Dunn has homered in the first game of the season. He twice had two homers on opening day, in 2005 and 2007 while with Cincinnati. The 13 strikeouts by Texas pitchers were a record for opening day. The previous record was 11, in that 1991 opener when Ryan had nine.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

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USA TODAY

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.

In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.

Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.

Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.

But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.

While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:

4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen