White Sox

Bears' defense falters in OT loss to Seahawks


Bears' defense falters in OT loss to Seahawks

CHICAGO (AP) Perfect at home, the Seattle Seahawks managed a win on the road for a change.

They needed overtime to do it, and the extra time spent might help them make the playoffs.

Russell Wilson connected with Sidney Rice for a 13-yard touchdown with 7:33 left in overtime to lift the Seahawks to a wild 23-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Unbeaten in five home games, the Seahawks finally figured a way to win on the road after dropping five of their first six, and knocked off the NFC North leaders in the process.

Seattle (7-5) leads the NFC wild-card chase and, despite its frequent struggles on the road has won three in a row in the regular season at Soldier Field

This one sure was dramatic.

Seattle took a short-lived lead late in regulation on rookie Wilson's 14-yard pass to Golden Tate, only to watch the Bears' Robbie Gould boot a 46-yard field goal as time expired to send it into OT.

The Seahawks (7-5) started with the ball on their 20, and it ended with one final flourish.

Rice hauled in a pass from Wilson and took a shoulder-to-helmet hit from Major Wright that appeared to knock him out as he lunged into the end zone. He stayed down for several minutes but eventually walked off the field.

That gave the Seahawks their only road win other than a victory at Carolina.

They pulled it out even though Marshawn Lynch was held in check with 87 yards rushing. He had a touchdown in the second quarter, but also fumbled on the game's opening possession, leading to a score for Chicago.

Wilson threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns and was particularly cool down the stretch, sending Chicago (8-4) to its third loss in four games. Making matters worse for the Bears, the injuries mounted.

Linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring) and cornerback Tim Jennings (shoulder) were hurt on the winning drive. Receiver Earl Bennett (concussion) and safety Chris Conte (illness) left earlier in the game. The Bears had already ruled out return specialist Devin Hester (concussion) and guard Chris Spencer (knee) after they were injured against Minnesota. Throw in the torn ACL guard Lance Louis suffered against the Vikings, and the Bears were a short-handed bunch.

Even so, they had their chances.

Jay Cutler threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Marshall added 165 yards receiving, but the Bears came up short late in the game and in OT.

They were leading 14-10 when Adam Podlesh pinned Seattle on the 3 with 3:40 remaining. Wilson orchestrated a dramatic drive, capping it with a 14-yard pass to Tate that gave the Seahawks a 17-14 lead with 24 seconds left in regulation.

The Bears weren't finished, though.

Cutler hit a leaping Marshall with the Seahawks' Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas on him for a 56-yarder that put the ball on the Seattle 30. Gould then nailed a 46-yard field goal to send the game into overtime.

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White Sox promoting Omar Vizquel to manager of Double-A affiliate


White Sox promoting Omar Vizquel to manager of Double-A affiliate

LAS VEGAS — Omar Vizquel’s first year as manager of the Class A Winston-Salem Dash was such a success he is receiving a promotion inside the White Sox organization.

NBC Sports Chicago has learned that Vizquel will manage the Double-A Birmingham Barons in 2019.

In 2018, his first season as a manager at any level, Vizquel was named the Carolina League’s manager of the year after leading the Dash to a first-half title and an 84-54 record.

Vizquel, 51, oversaw the development of many of the White Sox top prospects last season, including Dylan Cease, Luis Robert, Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo, Luis Gonzalez, Gavin Sheets and Nick Madrigal. Many if not all of those players have either already made it to Birmingham or will likely find their way there next season, and Vizquel will be there to lead them once again.

Having a manager who played winning baseball at the major league level and can share that experience with the White Sox farmhands is a huge bonus for the rebuild. Vizquel made the postseason six times with the Cleveland Indians, reaching the World Series in 1995 and 1997.

And thanks to his leadership, he helped create a winning culture with the Dash.

“It didn’t matter that it was the minor leagues. That team was something else,” White Sox pitching prospect Zach Thompson said on a recent edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast. “I think that team is a sign of what we’re doing with the White Sox organization. I think it’s a sign of what’s to come for us. That team clicked. Everyone was best friends. We all got along.”

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Ken Williams says White Sox have transitioned to a more aggressive role: 'We're looking at all possibilities now'

Ken Williams says White Sox have transitioned to a more aggressive role: 'We're looking at all possibilities now'

LAS VEGAS — When the White Sox embarked on their rebuild at the Winter Meetings two years ago with the trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, this was an offseason that couldn’t come soon enough: The transition from sell mode to buy mode.

Last winter, they remained on the sidelines, patiently waiting for their time to arrive: “We expect things to be a lot more interesting a year from now,” Rick Hahn said last year in Orlando.

Here we are one year later, in Las Vegas of all places, and the White Sox are angling to hit the jackpot by signing a big-name free agent who could take the franchise to the next level.

“We transitioned from the sell mode of years past now to a more aggressive role, and we’re looking at all possibilities now,” White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams said Monday. “We’re trying to build it back up. We’re still probably a year away from bringing the bulk of our prospects into the fold, but the opportunities that present themselves now warrant us dipping our foot in the water, seeing if we can accelerate that.”

The two big-name free agents who fit that description are Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Even with one of the best farm systems in baseball and a few of their top young players already in the majors, signing either one of these two perennial All Stars would plant a giant flag at Guaranteed Rate Field, signaling to the rest of the baseball world that the White Sox mean business.

How important would it be for the White Sox to have a face-of-the-franchise type player who could not only bring victories to the win column but more fans to the ballpark?

“If it’s a guy who can play and the right guy and he fits economically into today and tomorrow, then I think it’s a great thing. The answer is obvious,” Williams said. “If you develop people or you acquire people who fans like and will come out and want to see, that even helps the cause to a greater degree because, what does it do? It gives you more revenue, it gives you more resources that you can then try to improve the team even more.”

How much will the White Sox be able to improve the team this winter? That’s a big question mark. Signing free agents is a two-way street. The White Sox can easily sell their future. Most White Sox fans have bought in from the very beginning, but Williams says the team has some heavy lifting ahead to fully cement their faith in the rebuild.

“It’s building, but ultimately, you’ve got to prove it to White Sox fans,” Williams said. “We know that, and that’s what we’re setting out to try to do. We’re trying to earn their patience. It takes a while sometimes.”

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