White Sox

White Sox need Carlos Sanchez's glove until bat catches up

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White Sox need Carlos Sanchez's glove until bat catches up

PITTSBURGH -- As he continues to struggle at the plate, the White Sox can’t afford to have second baseman Carlos Sanchez hurt them defensively.

With Sanchez hitting .149/.211/.184 with six RBIs in 97 plate appearances through Monday, the team is working to simplify his offensive approach to get him back on track. Hitting coach Todd Steverson has worked to get Sanchez back to “square one” to rediscover the player who hit .293 with 57 RBIs at Triple-A last season. But in the meantime, the White Sox need Sanchez to stay focused in the field, the reason why he’s here in the first place.

“You feel like you cant find your way out of it and this game doesn’t stop,” manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s every day, and it’s tougher on the mind sometimes than the physical stuff. You just have to be tough. In talking to him, you have to continue to stay tough and believe in yourself. Defensively, realize that he can play out here in the big leagues. Offensively he has some work to do and grind through it.”

Sanchez hasn’t been perfect defensively but has been an upgrade at second over Micah Johnson, who hit .270 but struggled with his glove before he was sent back to Triple-A.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Carlos Rodon, White Sox rocked by Pirates on road]

But on the offensive end, the White Sox believe Sanchez is -- just like many of his teammates -- trying to overcompensate for the team’s struggles.

“He’s doing a hell of a job on defense,” Steverson said. “He wants to pick up the slack on offense and he has always hit.

“You’ve got to go back to square one. I need to back my brain up and where have I put myself and why and what can I do to change this? What is the one most thing I can do to compete at this level while I’m getting my bearings back? That’s where we’re at right now. I’ve got pure confidence he can hit.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Gillaspie adapting to new role with White Sox]

Sanchez said Steverson has done a good job instilling the belief that the infielder can hit again. The two have been hard at work in the cage and watching video, trying to help Sanchez rediscover his swing.

While it may take more time and work, Sanchez is doing his best to ensure to maintain his defense.

“He believes in my talent, he knows I’m better than what I have right now,” Sanchez said. “It’s really tough because you want to do the best, you want to help the team and it’s hard when you don’t do what you want to do.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“I know my defense is really good right now. I don’t want to mess it up if I’m hitting or not.”

Ventura endured his share of struggles as a young player, too. He has stressed to Sanchez that even though the White Sox offense has struggled, it’s not on Sanchez to try and do it all and become a hitter he isn’t used to being.

“I’ve been there,” Ventura said. “We’re not asking him to hit home runs -- make hard contact and put it in play. We’re not asking to jump on his back and have him carry us. That’s where he needs to settle down with a little balance and put it in play.”

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

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?

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AP

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.”