White Sox

White Sox react to Larry King's trade prediction

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White Sox react to Larry King's trade prediction

CLEVELAND -- The always-entertaining July 31 rumor mill took an unexpected turn on Friday when talk show legend Larry King predicted a White Sox/Los Angeles Dodgers trade.

A longtime Dodgers fan, King tweeted:

White Sox players and manager Robin Ventura took the rumor as they would any other of the hundreds that surface in the days and weeks that lead up to the deadline -- with skepticism. Ventura, who played two seasons for the Dodgers and is familiar with King, had fun with the rumor -- “I missed that one,” he said.

“When I played there, you run into him,” Ventura said. “They would come out to games. Not enough -- I haven’t called him about the trade, no.”

[MORE: White Sox instructor injured during early batting practice]

With Jeff Samardzija headed for free agency, the White Sox have grabbed their fair share of headlines this July as the hot stove heats up. Samardzija could be headed to any number of teams and the Dodgers have been speculated as one potential landing spot. For the most part, veteran players have been schooled on how to block out trade rumors. But even they can’t completely brush them off as friends and family contact players when they’re involved, pitcher John Danks said.

“You hear things every year, it’s inevitable,” Danks said. “A lot of times it’s maybe someone trying to stir something up and a lot of times maybe there’s a little bit of truth to it. Try to take it all with a grain of salt until something happens. But I think this is an exciting time for baseball fans in general, there’s a lot of tension around it. Everybody likes a big move, especially if you’re on a team that’s on the receiving end of it. I don’t worry about it too much, but I’d be lying if I said I never heard my name mentioned.”

Danks doesn’t have any social media accounts. He’s not interested in seeking out rumors.

And he’s not alone.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Chris Sale made it very clear at the All-Star Game last week that he’s unimpressed by Twitter and Facebook because he sees them as distractions.

“I don’t have any of that crap,” Sale said. “I don’t read it. I don’t pick up the newspaper. It’s all distractions, really. It’s a bunch of stuff that people write that don’t know what they’re talking about -- no offense. I don’t pay attention to it. I have a job to do and that’s be a pitcher for my team.”

Ventura has experienced the trade deadline as a player and now as the team’s manager. This is the time of year where people “dream lot of things up” and he said he understands it’s a fun topic for baseball fans.

But Ventura also knows all that really matters is when his phone rings and general manager Rick Hahn informs him what is about to or has taken place.

“It’s actually worse now in the age of social media,” Ventura said. “People throw stuff out there that you know for a fact isn’t going to. Do you know for sure? No. But I know there is enough in the past that I knew was not true so again we are just focused on what we are doing today. If there’s something that’s happening, Rick will call me.”

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.”