White Sox

White Sox lose 6-4 to Twins in Carlos Rodon's return

White Sox lose 6-4 to Twins in Carlos Rodon's return

MINNEAPOLIS -- The White Sox certainly didn’t expect to find themselves here.

And based off the increasing frustration he has felt, Carlos Rodon didn’t envision this, either.

Making his first start in 26 days, Rodon struggled early on Sunday afternoon and the Minnesota Twins took advantage. Rodon allowed three quick runs and the White Sox never recovered in 6-4 loss in front of 29,670 at Target Field. The White Sox lost for the fourth time in five games and fell to 51-54 overall several hours after they completed a trade that sent reliever Zach Duke to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfield prospect Charlie Tilson. The deal could lead to more trades before Monday’s 3 p.m. CST non-waiver trade deadline for a team that once led its division by 6 1/2 games.

“I didn’t think we’d be in this position right now,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “I thought we’d be right in the thick of things, but it kind of spiraled a little bit. We’re still not out, but we have to put our winning shoes on like now and it has to come in bunches. It really does. We have to find a way to win games.”

Rodon’s first inning made that goal more difficult to attain.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

He hadn’t pitched since July 5. And even though he peppered the zone with strikes (68 of 99 pitches), too many early offerings caught the plate and Minnesota did damage. Brian Dozier, who also homered twice, opened the game with a double and scored on Robbie Grossman’s RBI single. Two batters later, the Twins held a 3-0 advantage when Kennys Vargas blasted a two-run homer.

“They jumped on him pretty good there early,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He was probably knocking a little rust off and getting back into it. But they jumped on him and he battled back and velocity-wise I think he started getting a little stronger as the game went on. That’s probably par for the course of how long he has been away and still trying to feel for it somewhat.”

Jorge Polanco also doubled in a run off Rodon in the third and Dozier homered off him in the fifth to make it a 5-3 game. Dozier later homered off rookie Carson Fulmer, who pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief.

Rodon allowed five earned runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out seven. The loss dropped his record to 2-8.

“(Rust is) not an excuse,” Rodon said. “I’ve just got to be better. The team scores four runs and I have to keep these guys to less than four. That’s my job. I didn’t do it today.

“Everything felt good. They just put good swings on the ball and made it happen.

“I have high expectations. It just didn’t happen today.”

Melky Cabrera went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a walk in the losing effort. Rookie catcher Omar Narvaez drove in a run and singled twice. The Twins committed four errors, including one to allow a run in the eighth inning. But Michael Tonkin struck out Carlos Sanchez with the bases loaded to keep the Twins ahead by two.

The White Sox are just 28-44 since their 23-10 start in mid-May. Frazier didn’t want to think about the possibilities of what could happen over the next day after Duke was traded.

“I don’t know what it means to be honest with you,” Frazier said. “Good, bad or ugly I’m not thinking about anything like that. But to lose a guy like Zach is good because he’s a good left-handed specialist and he’s going to help the Cardinals a lot.”

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.”