White Sox

White Sox rally again for seventh win in 10 tries


White Sox rally again for seventh win in 10 tries

OAKLAND — The White Sox offense has begun to develop a knack for the big comeback.

A five-run, seventh-inning rally Friday night helped the White Sox win for the seventh time in 10 games as they downed the Oakland A’s 7-6 in front of 21,464. Adam LaRoche and Avisail Garcia each had two-run hits and Zach Duke earned a four-out save with the help of a great, game-ending defensive play as the White Sox — who have nine comeback victories — improved to 15-17.

“It just says a lot about guys’ fight and not laying down and assuming we’re beat,” said LaRoche, who drove in three runs. “That’s been huge for us to be borderline dead for five or six innings with nothing going and then all of a sudden go out and score three or four runs.”

Just like they did on Monday in Milwaukee, and several times earlier in the season, the White Sox rallied from what seemed like an insurmountable deficit.

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The White Sox trailed 6-2 with Oakland starter Jesse Hahn on a roll, having retired 18 of 20 after he allowed two first-inning runs.

But Brett Lawrie’s error on Geovany Soto’s one-out grounder and a single to left by Carlos Sanchez woke the White Sox from their slumber.

Adam Eaton then just beat the relay on a potential inning-ending double play and Melky Cabrera followed with an RBI single off reliever Fernando Rodriguez. Rodriguez hit Jose Abreu to load the bases and LaRoche shaved the deficit to 6-5 with a two-run double to right center off left-hander Fernando Abad. Avisail Garcia completed the comeback with a two-run double to left-center field off Evan Scribner.

“As much as it sputtered for awhile it’s been good lately,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It was a good first inning and after that Hahn was tough. I think he only gave up one hit after four or five innings.

“I think they kinda fed off each other.

“It was big.”

The White Sox looked as if they’d continue a recent hot streak with the bats after scoring twice off Hahn in the first inning. LaRoche drew a bases-loaded walk to put them ahead 1-0 and Conor Gillaspie singled in another run. But the White Sox left a few runs on the board as Hahn wiggled out of trouble and took control.

Before Lawrie’s error gave, the only hit off Hahn came via an Alexei Ramirez bunt single in the fourth.

The White Sox offense entered Friday hitting .285/.350/.408 with 50 runs scored in its previous 11 games. The same group scored 64 in its first 20 games.

“We’ve shown that the game is never really over,” Duke said. “We’ve come back late in games, so we’re staying on edge out there in the bullpen at all times.”

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A ninth-inning rally by Oakland nearly sent the game into extras. With David Robertson off limits (he pitched on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday), Duke returned in the ninth to close it out. He walked pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt with two outs and Coco Crisp lined a double to deep left-center field. A’s third-base coach Mike Gallego waved Vogt home and a strong relay from Adam Eaton and Alexei Ramirez with a cut off by Jose Abreu led to a game-ending rundown.

“Hooray,” Duke said. “Hallelujah. It was just awesome, just expertly done. Every throw hit the guy in the chest, and a head’s up play to cut it off.”

Rookie starting pitcher Carlos Rodon had to be having similar thoughts after he was out of sorts.

Making his second career start, Rodon hit a wild streak, walking six batters, including three in the fourth inning. Rodon, who pitched out of trouble in the first three innings, gave up a leadoff solo home run to left to former Charlotte batterymate Josh Phegley in the fourth.

One out later, Rodon issued three straight walks and Josh Reddick later cleared the bases with a three-run triple to put Oakland ahead 4-2.

The next inning, Rodon walked two more batters — one scored — and gave way to reliever Scott Carroll. Carroll allowed a run in the sixth when Reddick doubled and Billy Butler singled him in as the A’s pulled ahead 6-2.

“That’s big,” Rodon said. “Teammates picked me up, the bats showed up later on in the game and we scored, made a big run there and end up winning that game. It’s a lot better than losing, that’s for sure.”


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.”