White Sox

White Sox jump on rare Moustakas error in win over Royals


White Sox jump on rare Moustakas error in win over Royals

It’s the kind of play the White Sox probably expected Mike Moustakas to make, given how many hits the slick-fielding Kansas City third baseman has taken away in the past.

But Moustakas couldn’t cleanly glove Jose Abreu’s chopper in the bottom of the sixth inning, and all of a sudden, a previously-listless offense had a rally going.

The White Sox went on to score five times in the bottom of the sixth to blow past Kansas City for a 5-3 win Sunday afternoon in front of 23,317 at U.S. Cellular Field. Had Moustakas cleanly fielded the ball — center fielder Adam Eaton, who was on third at the time, cautioned that it wasn’t an easy play — he probably would’ve turned an inning-ending double play to keep the Royals ahead by a 3-0 score.

“When there’s a mistake being made or maybe a close play that’s not made, you have to pounce on that,” Eaton said. “If you’re going to be a good team you have to do that.”

[MORE: White Sox eyeing Carlos Rodon, Scott Carroll for spot starts]

That’s exactly what the White Sox did, as after Eaton scored on the error Adam LaRoche flipped Edinson Volquez’s two-strike curveball into center for an RBI single. Avisail Garcia loaded the bases with a line drive single to center and, following Alexei Ramirez's strikeout, Conor Gillaspie lined a low fastball into right for a go-ahead two-run single. Flowers tacked on the fifth run with an RBI single to right.

For an inning that opened with an outstanding defensive play — Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon leapt over the short wall down the left field line to catch Micah Johnson’s foul ball, inadvertently body-slamming an unsuspecting fan in the process — the White Sox did well to come back and secure a series victory over the defending American League champs.

“Their whole defense doesn't give many opportunities,” manager Robin Ventura said. “I think you even saw what Gordon was doing in left field, he made some great plays on us. You have to take advantage of it when you get a chance like that. It was a great little run right there for our offense in coming back.

“Volquez was throwing great. He was tough and you know the shadows are coming eventually so it was nice to push those across. Big at-bats by Conor there and (Flowers) to get an extra one. It was a nice job by the offense to just really keep it going.”

The sixth-inning rally made sure John Danks’ second consecutive quality start wasn’t wasted, as the left-hander fired six innings of three-run ball with eight strikeouts. Jake Petricka, Zach Duke and David Robertson combined to throw three scoreless innings to nail down the victory, with Robertson notching a save about three and a half hours after he earned the win in the continuation of Friday’s suspended game.

[SHOP: Get the latest White Sox gear here]

Winning both games on Sunday was a nice mental jolt for the White Sox after they’d been beat up — literally and figuratively — by Kansas City in their first four meetings of the season. Eaton admitted that if the Royals came into Chicago and swept this series there probably would’ve been a mental block the next time they played them, even if that’s not until mid-July.

“Against a team that's already played you tough, you have to be able to withstand it and keep going and stick together,” Ventura said. “These guys are definitely doing it.”

This week’s upcoming seven-game road trip to Baltimore and Minnesota should provide a better indication of whether the White Sox have righted the ship after that 0-4 start, though the club has won three of its last five series (including a two-game split in Cleveland).

But whether it was Gillaspie ripping that go-ahead single or Melky Cabrera making a fantastic leaping catch to take away an RBI in the eighth, the White Sox can see themselves establishing the kind of identity they expected to have at the beginning of the season.

“Over the last five or six games we’ve played a really good brand of baseball,” Duke said. “Early on you are kind of trying to feel each other out and see how you are going to figure out to win games. I feel like we are starting to do that and playing our style.”

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries


White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?


As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Some teams have it easy, with their 25-man rosters seemingly locked into place before spring training games even start.

The White Sox actually have a lot more locked-down spots than you might think for a rebuilding team, but this spring remains pretty important for a few guys.

The starting rotation figures to be set, with James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer the starting five. Carlos Rodon, of course, owns one of those spots once he returns from injury. But the date of that return remains a mystery.

From this observer’s viewpoint, eight of the everyday nine position players seem to be figured out, too: Welington Castillo behind the plate, Jose Abreu at first base, Yoan Moncada at second base, Tim Anderson at shortstop, Yolmer Sanchez at third base, Nicky Delmonico in left field, Avisail Garcia in right field and Matt Davidson as the designated hitter. More on the omission of a starting center fielder in a bit.

Omar Narvaez would be a logical pick to back up Castillo at catcher, and Tyler Saladino is really the lone reserve infielder with big league experience, not to mention he’s a versatile player that can play anywhere on the infield.

Leury Garcia also figures to be a lock for this 25-man roster. But will he be the everyday center fielder, as he was for a spell last season? He played 51 games in center in 2017 but battled injuries throughout the year. I think Leury Garcia will end up the starting center fielder when the season begins because of his bat. His .270/.316/.423 slash line isn’t going to make anyone do cartwheels, but it’s better than the offensive struggles of Adam Engel, who started 91 games in center in 2017 and slashed .166/.235/.282. Engel would still be a solid inclusion on the bench because of his superb defense, but to create that big a hole in the everyday lineup is tough.

How could that position-player group change? Keep your eyes in center field, where there are a couple other guys who could force their way into a roster spot this spring: Charlie Tilson and Ryan Cordell. Tilson has had a tremendous amount of trouble staying on the field since coming over to the White Sox in a 2016 deadline deal, but that hasn’t dampened the White Sox hopes for him. And Cordell got name-dropped by general manager Rick Hahn during SoxFest, when the GM said he’s received multiple calls about Cordell since acquiring him last summer. Cordell put up good numbers at the Triple-A level prior to a significant injury last year.

But the main battles figure to be in the bullpen. At times this winter, as the White Sox kept adding players to that relief corps mix, that the whole thing seemed wide open. But when you think about it, maybe there are only one or two open spots.

You’d have to think these guys are pretty safe bets to make the team: Juan Minaya, Gregory Infante, Nate Jones, Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan. Though Hector Santiago was just recently acquired on a minor league deal, he’s really the only long man of the group, and he could sub in if there’s an injury to a starting pitcher. That leaves two spots between the group of Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar, Jace Fry, Jose Ruiz and Thyago Vieira — not to mention guys signed to minor league deals like Xavier Cedeno, Jeanmar Gomez and Bruce Rondon.

Bummer had a 4.50 ERA in 30 big league games last year. Farquhar had a 4.40 ERA in 15 games. Vieira has gotten attention as a flame-thrower, but he’s got just one big league game under his belt, something that might or might not matter to the rebuilding White Sox. Guys like Gomez, who has 40 career saves including 37 just two years ago, and Rondon, who had multiple shots at the Detroit Tigers’ closing job in the past, could vault themselves into the mix as potential midseason trade candidates.

Then there's the question of which of those guys will be Rick Renteria's closer. Minaya had closing duties after most of the bullpen was traded away last summer. He picked up nine saves and posted a 4.11 ERA in his final 17 appearances of the campaign. Look to Soria, though, a veteran with plenty of closing experience from his days with the Kansas City Royals. If he's given the opportunity to close and succeeds, he could fetch an intriguing return package in a potential deadline deal.

But now it's game time in Arizona.

“The fun part of playing the game of baseball is playing the game of baseball," Renteria said earlier this week. "We prepare. I think they all enjoy what they’re doing in terms of their preparation. They take it seriously, they focus. But ultimately like everything that we do in life, I guess it’s a test. And the games are a test for us on a daily basis. And how we are able to evaluate them and take advantage of the opportunities that we have to see them in a real game situation is certainly helpful for us.”