White Sox

White Sox notes: Jacob Turner touched up by Royals


White Sox notes: Jacob Turner touched up by Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Rght-hander Jacob Turner, who’s in the mix for the final spot in the White Sox rotation, gave up home runs to Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain as he allowed four runs over three innings of work Monday against the Kansas City Royals. 

Turner allowed six hits and issued one walk with two strikeouts in the White Sox 9-3 loss to the defending World Series champions. At a time of the year when plenty of established pitchers are just looking to get their work in, Turner isn’t taking that approach. 

“I’ve never said that,” Turner said. “Every time I pitch I try not to give up any runs, I don’t care if it’s spring training or Game 7 of the World Series. Every time I pitch I’m trying to get results and execute pitches.”

[MORE: All systems go for White Sox ace Chris Sale]

Turner, who underwent elbow surgery last June, allowed five runs on six hits with two walks in his last start March 9 against Oakland. With the White Sox fifth starter spot seemingly up for grabs (right-hander Mat Latos appears the favorite with three weeks until opening day) Turner’s execution will have to be better to keep him in the mix for that rotation spot. 

“The stuff has been pretty good, the execution has been a little disappointing at times, especially out of the stretch, I feel like,” Turner said. “Coming off the injury I’m happy to be pitching, happy to be competing. A few balls have found holes but obviously when that happens you have to bear down and get the next guy out. That’s what I’ll focus on next time.”


— Manager Robin Ventura said Adam LaRoche (back) could play Tuesday when the White Sox face the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. LaRoche, who’s been sidelined since suffering back spasms March 5, will most likely return to the lineup in Glendale so he can receive treatment at the White Sox facility as soon as he exits the game. 

— Catcher Dioner Navarro bruised his foot when he fouled a ball off it in Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Both the veteran backstop and Ventura didn’t sound concerned it’d take away much playing time. 

— Minor league outfielder Jason Coats hit his second home run of spring training Monday off left-hander John Lannan, while right-hander Daniel Webb issued two walks and was tagged for three runs in just two-thirds of an inning. 

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

— In Monday’s “B” game, Chris Sale picked a Dodgers minor leaguer off first base (the runner took off on Sale's move and was easily retired at second base). The left-hander’s worked a bit on his pickoff move this spring but offered a self-deprecating quote: “I don’t know how much of that was me being good or vice versa, him being bad. But it worked. We’ll take it. We’ll take it for now.”

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey


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.

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension


Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sunday marked the first surprise of White Sox spring training, courtesy of first baseman Jose Abreu.

“This year, I’m going to try to steal more bases,” Abreu said through a translator.

This might have sounded like a joke, but Abreu was completely serious.

On paper, he’s not exactly Rickey Henderson. In 614 career games, Abreu has only six stolen bases. However, the slimmed-down first baseman does have some sneaky speed. His six triples last season ranked third in the American League. So there are some wheels to work with.

“I like the challenge. I think that’s a good challenge for me. I’m ready for it,” Abreu said.

How many steals are we talking about? A reporter asked sarcastically if a 30-30 season is in the offing? Abreu didn’t exactly shoot down the possibility.

“Who knows? When you fill your mind with positive things, maybe you can accomplish them,” Abreu said. “The mind of a human being works in a lot of different ways. If you fill your mind with good things, good things are going to happen.”

The morning began with Abreu walking to the hitting cages with his Cuban compadres Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, who the White Sox signed last summer. He held his first workout on Sunday. At the White Sox hitters camp last month, Moncada took Robert under his wing, showing him the ropes, even telling Ricky Renteria, “I got him.”

But Sunday, Abreu was in charge, holding court with the three of them in the cage. Abreu watched closely as Robert hit off a tee, giving him pointers about his swing.

“I just like to help people,” Abreu said. “When I started to play at 16 in Cuba, I had a lot people who hounded me to get better. At the same point, I want to give back things that I’ve learned and pass that along to other people. That’s what I’m doing. I’m not expecting anything else. I’m just glad to help them and get them better.”

What kind of advice has he passed along to Robert?

“Since I came to this country, I learned quickly three keys to be a success: Be disciplined, work hard and always be on time. If you apply those three keys, I think you’re going to be good. Those are the three keys I’m trying to teach the new kids, the young guys,” Abreu said.

Abreu lost about 10 pounds during the offseason. He said he hopes to learn more English in 2018. He also arrived at spring training sporting a scruffy beard which he grew while he was in Cuba so he “could be incongnito.”

Abreu likes his new look. Moncada thinks he should shave it off.

“If the organization doesn’t say anything, I’m just going to keep it,” Abreu said.

Well, so much for that.

Moments after Abreu spoke with the media, Renteria told reporters that Abreu will have to “clean it up a bit.”

The two will find a compromise. Come to think of it, maybe Abreu and the White Sox should do the same about a contract extension in the near future.

Yes, he’ll be 33 when his contract expires in two years, but there have been no signs of a decline with his performance. Instead, Abreu is only getting better both offensively and defensively.

Heck, now he wants to steal bases, too.

After Renteria, Abreu is the leader of this team. He commands ultimate respect inside the clubhouse. He’s become another coach to Moncada, Robert and others. He’s a huge brick in the present and too big of an influence and cornerstone to not have around in the future.

“I hope to play my entire career in the majors with the White Sox,” Abreu said Sunday. “But I can’t control that.”

At some point, a decision will have to be made whether to keep Abreu or trade him. In the meantime, ask yourself this question: What will bring more value to the White Sox, getting a high-end prospect or two in return not knowing if they’ll ever succeed in the majors? Or keeping your best player, the heart and soul of your team, allowing him to show your future stars the way while they’re developing in the major leagues?

Seems like an easy decision to me.