White Sox

White Sox leading the league in more ways than one

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White Sox leading the league in more ways than one

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com

Look up and down the White Sox lineup and youll find somebody who has made a recent contribution with his bat. Thats how well they have been hitting as of late.

There are the obvious ones, of course. Paul Konerko leads the American League with a .381 batting average. Adam Dunn already has 15 home runs, four more than all of last season. A.J. Pierzynski is hitting .472 with three doubles, a triple, three home runs, 10 RBI and eight runs scored in his last nine games.

Beyond those three, Chicago is getting remarkable production from Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza. Viciedo has raised his average from .196 to .252 over the past 11 games, which includes hitting six home runs and 13 RBI while batting .390.

De Aza, who is hitting .326 with 17 runs scored in May, contributed his first career grand slam in Thursdays 11-8 victory over Minnesota.

Overall, the Sox bats have been on a torrid pace the past 11 games. In addition to 24 home runs and scoring more than six runs per game, Chicago hitters are batting .289 collectively.

Eventually it was going to get there, manager Robin Ventura said prior to Saturdays game against Cleveland at U.S. Cellular Field. Its nice. It compliments the pitching and the defense. Once everybody gets going, you feel confident going through that lineup that when you get a couple guys on they are going to knock them in.

The home run explosion has been impressive. The Sox have hit at least one home run in each of their last 11 games, their longest stretch since June 1-12 last season.

You cant go up there trying to hit home runs, but you can try to put good swings on the ball, and if the ball goes out it goes out, Pierzynski said after Friday nights 9-3 victory in the series opener against Cleveland in which the Sox homered three times.

Pierzynski, whose average has gone from .257 to .309 in his last nine games, has already matched his home run total from last season. He now has eight home runs, including one Friday, and 31 RBI.

Hes got more power than you initially look at and see, Ventura said. Hes a big guy. Hes been getting in a good position to hit, and if he hits it, its going to go. I dont know if theres a reason for it, but he looks good at the plate. Hes been consistent, too.

For some perspective on how good the offense has been during this 11-game stretch, Chicago ranks first among the league leaders in four categories, and is top five in two others.

The Sox lead in home runs, slugging percentage, runs per game and runs scored. They are third in average and fifth in extra-base hits.

Three months till baseball's back as White Sox announce spring training schedule

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USA TODAY

Three months till baseball's back as White Sox announce spring training schedule

Only three more months till the White Sox are back in action.

The South Siders announced their spring training schedule Monday, with Cactus League play commencing Feb. 23 out in Arizona.

The White Sox have the unenviable task of opening the exhibition schedule against the defending National League champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers playing hosts to the Pale Hose in Glendale. The White Sox will be the visitors, though they share the Camelback Ranch facility with the Dodgers, so they'll still be in their home ballpark. Their first official home game comes two days later, in a Feb. 25 matchup against the Cincinnati Reds.

The White Sox will face off against the Cubs in three "Cactus Crosstown" games on Feb. 27 and March 10 in Mesa and on March 16 in Glendale.

And in a cool wrap to the preseason, the White Sox will square off against their own Triple-A affiliate March 26 in Charlotte. The game against the Knights should be a fun watch considering all the future White Sox expected to make their way to the big leagues over the next couple seasons. The Knights' roster could be loaded with highly ranked prospects depending on how things shake out.

Here's the full schedule:

If you can't wait for baseball to be back, take a look at the Cubs' spring training schedule

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USA TODAY

If you can't wait for baseball to be back, take a look at the Cubs' spring training schedule

Set your alarm, there are only three more months till baseball is back.

The Cubs announced their spring training schedule Monday, getting folks all amped up for the 34 exhibition games in February and March.

Spring game action gets started Feb. 23 out in Arizona, with the Cubs taking on the Milwaukee Brewers to kick off Cactus League play. The Cubs' first home spring game at Sloan Park in Mesa comes the next day, Feb. 24.

In addition to a 32-game Cactus League slate, the Cubs will take on the Cleveland Indians in a pair of exhibition games in Las Vegas. That 2016 World Series rematch comes March 17 and 18.

And of course, there will be three meetings with the White Sox, as both Chicago teams play their spring schedule out in Arizona. Those "Cactus Crosstown" games will be played Feb. 27 and March 10 in Mesa and March 16 in Glendale.

Here's the full schedule: