White Sox

White Sox-Orioles postponed due to tension in Baltimore

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White Sox-Orioles postponed due to tension in Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- Two days after protests kept fans inside the park for their safety, Monday night’s White Sox-Baltimore Orioles game was canceled after another day of unrest.

The Orioles announced the decision to cancel the opener of a three-game series with the White Sox about 50 minutes before the scheduled first pitch as protests over the death of Freddie Gray turned violent in the Baltimore. Fewer than 1,000 fans had entered Oriole Park at Camden Yards when the announcement was made and the two teams haven’t yet decided upon a makeup date.

With protests entering a second week after the April 19 death of Gray, who was laid to rest Monday morning, New Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the teams haven’t made any decisions about the remaining two games, but all alternatives -- perhaps even moving the series elsewhere -- would be discussed.

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“The decision was reached after consultation with local officials,” said Manfred, in town for previously scheduled meetings with both clubs. “We feel like we made the decision that would provide us the greatest possible security in terms of protecting the fans, the players, the umpires, everybody involved.”

“At this point we’re looking at every possible alternative in terms of completing the schedule in a timely way and making sure the games are played in a security situation that is safe for the fans. We’re going to look at every alternative at this point.”

According to the Baltimore Sun, Monday’s riots had already resulted in 15 injuries to local police officers and 27 arrests by 7:45 p.m. CST. Local schools will be closed on Tuesday and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, which activates the Maryland National Guard.

A peaceful protest on Saturday night turned violent and resulted in fans attending that evening’s Orioles-Boston Red Sox game being kept inside the park for their own safety. Dempsey’s Brew Pub and Restaurant, which is attached to the ballpark, was slightly damaged. 

One possibility is Tuesday's start time being moved up to the afternoon, a decision that would be made early Tuesday morning. But if the game isn't moved up it could potentially be moved to another venue after Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake imposed a citywide curfew for Tuesday night from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. 

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Located about 40 miles away, Nationals Park is vacant this week as the Washington Nationals are on a road trip. Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies, is also vacant and less than 90 miles away.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said his club is open to whatever MLB and the Orioles suggest.

“We’ve been talking about this since the middle of the afternoon that there was the chance this could happen tonight and if it did there certainly are far greater priorities than playing one baseball game,” Hahn said. “I do know everything is on the table to postponing to later in the season to perhaps changing venues or start times. Whatever. We’re flexible. We’re here. When they feel it’s safe and prudent and the right thing to a baseball game we’re here and ready to play.”

When media access began at 3:40 p.m. (EST), the eyes of nearly everyone in a White Sox uniform in the clubhouse -- from Hahn and the coaching staff to players and clubhouse attendants -- were transfixed upon the horrifying images of violence from several local news broadcasts. Most players were weary of the situation, one the Baltimore Sun’s Twitter handle described as a “mob,” taking place about four miles from the stadium. Ninety minutes later, players and coaches couldn’t help but notice helicopters flying over the stadium as they stretched for batting practice.

[MORE WHITE SOX: White Sox impressed with David Robertson’s win/save double]

Shortly after the announcement, players and coaches quickly exited the ballpark with a police escort.

“It’s a little scary,” outfielder Adam Eaton said. “In all of our minds, we don’t want to be out there and have a situation go down where somebody may be in danger or get hurt. It’s in the best of everyone’s interest.

“We’re just trying to get home to the hotel and be safe. I have some family here. I know some other guys have family here. We’re just trying to get out of harm’s way and be safe.

“We’re going to run I think. I think there are some police officers who would escort us over there, so we’re going to hang out with those guys and they’ll help protect us.”

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

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

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USA TODAY

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.