White Sox

White Sox offense powers past Yankees

White Sox offense powers past Yankees

They’re not thought to be a high-powered-offense like the Baltimore Orioles or the Toronto Blue Jays.

But the White Sox offense still possesses a little pop.

The offense continued its most potent stretch of 2016 on Monday afternoon with two more round-trippers and James Shields took advantage as the White Sox downed the New York Yankees 8-2 in front of 30,955 at U.S. Cellular Field. Tim Anderson and Dioner Navarro each homered for the White Sox, who have hit 23 of their 85 home runs in the last 13 games. The White Sox have won 10 of 14 overall and improved to 43-40.  

“It's somewhat what you expect,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We're swinging it better, it's warmer, a lot of factors go into it. You like the way the guys have battled through it.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

The White Sox hoped to add the long ball to their repertoire when they acquired Todd Frazier from the Cincinnati Reds in a three-team deal in December.

Last season, the White Sox produced a paltry 136 home runs, their lowest total in a full season since they hit 110 in 1992. But even with Frazier on pace for more than 40 round-trippers, the White Sox weren’t dialing long distance much until two weeks ago. Through 70 games, the team was on pace for 143 homers, which would rank 27th in the 49 White Sox seasons since the mound was lowered.

But with warmer weather and Tim Anderson providing a spark the White Sox offense has begun to experience a growth spurt.

Anderson continued his torrid start Monday and helped the White Sox finally break through against Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia. After Jason Coats singled to start the third inning, Anderson drilled a first-pitch sinker from Sabathia 426 feet out to center field to tie the score at 2.

Anderson’s two-run shot snapped a franchise-record tying streak of 15 consecutive solo home runs hit by the White Sox, a stretch that dated back to June 23. It also gave the rookie 12 multi-hit contests in his first 23 games as he also singled in the first inning.

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The White Sox didn’t pull ahead until the fifth though as they left the bases loaded in the third and stranded a man at third in the fourth.

But Lawrie’s sac fly to center in the fifth scored Frazier to make it a one-run game. Navarro, who had five RBIs in the Houston series, then continued his hot streak with a two-run homer off Sabathia to make it a 5-2 game.

The homer-spurt now has the White Sox on pace for 166. They’ve also scored 68 runs in the 13-game stretch. But Navarro said home runs are only part of the equation for the club’s recent offensive success.

“The most important thing, everybody knows their role,” Navarro said. “Everybody’s doing the little things. Anderson getting on, (Adam) Eaton doing his thing, and everybody one through nine.”

The White Sox continued to add on without any homers as Lawrie singled in Frazier in the seventh to increase the lead to four. Jose Abreu and Frazier each singled in runs in the eighth to make it 8-2. Frazier reached base five times, including two doubles and two walks.

The way the White Sox have been swinging had Shields confident his team would rally even when he put them in a 2-0 hole. Chase Headley’s second-inning homer gave the Yankees an early advantage.

But Shields pitched out of tight spots in the fourth and sixth innings to give the White Sox a third consecutive strong start. The right-hander, who had a 21.81 ERA in his first three White Sox starts, allowed two earned and five hits with two walks in six innings. He has a 3.06 ERA in 17 2/3 innings in his last three starts.

“This team is a good hitting team,” Shields said. “I knew we were going to get a good shot to come back.

“Obviously the home runs are good, but for me it’s playing the game the right way. We’re getting guys on, we’re moving guys over and we’re getting guys in and that’s the name of the game. Home runs are going to come and it's summer time now so the ball flies a little more here in Chicago. But for me, what I’m looking at is guys moving guys over and getting guys in and we’re executing that really well.”

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.”