White Sox

White Sox pick up Jose Quintana, blast way to win over Red Sox

White Sox pick up Jose Quintana, blast way to win over Red Sox

BOSTON — Jose Quintana turned in his worst start of 2016, but a thunderous eighth inning made sure a bizarre losing streak came to an end. 

Brett Lawrie’s solo home run completed a comeback that pushed the White Sox to an 8-6 win over the Boston Red Sox Wednesday night at Fenway Park, securing a series win over the American League wild card leaders. Lawrie’s blast — which cleared the Green Monster seats in left field and sailed toward Landsdowne Street — came shortly after Melky Cabrera’s game-tying two-run home run, with both shots coming off right-hander Koji Uehara. 

The White Sox entered Wednesday having lost each of Quintana’s last seven starts despite the 27-year-old Colombian left-hander having a solid 3.86 ERA over that stretch. In a classic baseball-is-strange outcome, the White Sox won the worst start Quintana has had this season. 

“Crazy game,” Quintana said with a grin. “Baseball, that happens.”

Quintana issued a career high six walks and was tagged for six runs on eight hits with only one strikeout over 5 1/3 innings. The six runs were a season high and the most he allowed since May 24, 2015 against the Minnesota Twins. 

But the White Sox offense that has so frequently let down Quintana was there to pick him up. 

With Boston holding a 4-2 lead in the top of the sixth, Todd Frazier belted a game-tying two-run homer into the Green Monster seats in left field. It was Frazier’s 21st home run of the season, the most hit by a White Sox third baseman before the All-Star break in franchise history (Bill Melton previously held the record with 20 in 1971). 

Quintana, though, couldn’t put together a much-needed shutdown inning, immediately giving the lead back to Boston on Hanley Ramirez’s solo home run. Catcher Sandy Leon — whose third walk of the game knocked Quintana out of it — scored on Xander Bogaerts’ infield single off Matt Albers later in the sixth. 

“I said in the dugout, let’s get the bats going and it’s time we picked him up,” Frazier said. “Some people took it to heart and that’s what you need. … It’s about time we stepped up for him. Three or four more times, at least.”

Despite not having a three-game winning streak since winning four in a row May 6-9, the White Sox battled back with a sort of verve that’s been missing for weeks. Cabrera’s two-run home run — and ninth inning insurance run-scoring single, which gave him four RBIs — was a jolt, just like Jose Abreu’s game-winning double and Zach Duke’s miraculous escape Monday and Tim Anderson’s leadoff home run Tuesday were. Lawrie’s go-ahead home run followed suit for a team that manager Robin Ventura sees pulling out of a tailspin that produced 26 losses in 36 games. 

“You can sit there and feel sorry for yourself, and it’s not going to get you anywhere,” Ventura said. “They continue just to play and grind it out. You take the abuse and everything else of what that record did to you, but they’ve weathered it. They’re getting a little momentum back and a little spark we had early.”

Three games isn’t enough to erase all the damage, but the White Sox are at least back to .500. It’ll take a longer stretch of playing well to assuredly say that 36-game malaise has passed. 

But to get out of it, the White Sox had to start somewhere. Maybe that place was Fenway Park. 

“There was something different about the last couple days,” Frazier said. “The energy was there, the focus was there.” 

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.”