White Sox

Aggressive send hurts White Sox in loss to Rays

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Aggressive send hurts White Sox in loss to Rays

Joe McEwing said Alexei Ramirez made the correct read in the ninth inning of Monday night’s 5-4 loss by the White Sox to the Tampa Bay Rays.

McEwing said he made the wrong one.

The split-second decision to send Ramirez home from second base on Adam LaRoche’s single to shallow center is an aggressive play that has benefited a stagnant White Sox a number of times in 2015. But it didn’t work on Monday as Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier threw a perfect strike home to easily nail Ramirez for the first out of the inning, and the White Sox ultimately didn’t score in the final frame of a one-run loss.

“I should have held (Ramirez) from the beginning,” McEwing said. “He made the right read. He held his ground, and when he saw the ball down, he decided to come. He was coming hard, and like I said, it’s one that I should have held him up. In that situation we have first and third with nobody out.

“I take full responsibility for that. It’s totally my fault. I know it’s a guy that throws above (average), and he’s got a great arm and charges the ball hard.”

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Ramirez barely budged when LaRoche broke his bat and sent a drive to shallow center off Tampa Bay closer Brad Boxberger. But realizing the ball would get down, Ramirez took off for third and said he wasn’t surprised to find McEwing had waved him home. About 10 feet before he arrived however, Ramirez saw Rays catcher Curt Casali with the ball in his possession and the White Sox shortstop tried unsuccessfully to avoid the tag with a swim move.

“You have to make a quick decision,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “I wasn’t surprised he sent me home because you have to be ready for that. It was just the way the play goes, and it didn’t work out for us.

“I saw the catcher caught the ball when he three feet ahead of me, and I just tried to avoid the tag but he got me.

“Baseball is a tough sport.”

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LaRoche advanced to second on the play, and Leury Garcia took over as a pinch runner. But Garcia didn’t leave second as Boxberger struck out Avisail Garcia and Carlos Sanchez lined out to right to end the game.

“It’s always a tough call,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “That’s a tough decision, and I know Joe is always aggressive and you’ve got to make the guy throw you out. I think Alexei probably got a late jump on that and by the time he gets there and you’re sending him or you’re not sending him — it’s always a tough call. Now that you know that he’s out, you can always look at it like that. But we’ve scored a lot of runs sending a guy and making them make a play.”

McEwing didn’t put any of the blame on Ramirez for waiting for the ball to clear.

“It’s a broken bat, and his first instinct is to freeze, freeze, freeze and it’s the right instinct,” McEwing said. “Like I said, I made a terrible decision to send him there. Instead of having first and third with nobody out, now we have a guy on second with one out. Like I said, it was a terrible decision and one I’ll take on.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Rebuild advice from 3 Houston Astros All-Stars

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Rebuild advice from 3 Houston Astros All-Stars

With the White Sox in the middle of a rebuild, Chuck Garfien spoke with 3 Houston Astros All-Stars who explained how they went from a rebuilding team to World Series champions. Jose Altuve, George Springer and Alex Bregman talk about how they dealt with losing, how they learned how to win, the importance of adding veterans to the young core, and how they kept hope alive during the rebuild.  Then later, Chuck spoke with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain trying to understand how he dominated the White Sox for so many years.

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jose Abreu didn’t come to the White Sox to be a leader. But that’s what he is as he took his spot among the best in baseball at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.

Abreu is the face of the South Side baseball club and he’s had a stellar-enough first four and a half seasons in Major League Baseball to earn the distinction of a starter in the Midsummer Classic. But Abreu, unsurprisingly, doesn’t look at himself as one of the best in the game. He looks as himself as a hard-worker.

“I don’t believe that I’m the best,” Abreu said through a team translator on Monday. “I’m just a person who likes to work hard every day and try to do my best.”

That humility is nothing new to folks who follow the White Sox on a regular basis. And neither is talk of Abreu’s work ethic, the admiration of everyone involved with the team and a constant talking point from Rick Hahn, Rick Renteria and all Abreu’s teammates.

Abreu has become as important for his off-the-field roles as he has for his on-the-field production for this rebuilding White Sox team. He’s been described as a role model for all the young players in the organization, whether they’re on the big league roster right now or coming up through the system.

“None of them have told me that yet,” Abreu joked. “But I know that. It’s definitely a compliment, and I take it as something that makes you feel good, something that makes you keep moving forward and to keep trying to help the guys to improve and get better as a team. You feel like that is a big honor, that people think that way of you.”

As good as he feels to be held in such esteem, Abreu didn’t set out to be one of this team’s leaders when he came to the United States. And to be honest, he might not be in his current position if it weren’t for the team’s rebuilding effort. Abreu is one of the few veterans on this team.

“That was something that happened. I didn’t look for it,” Abreu said. “I was always trying to help people and trying to give advice to help people to improve. But I never tried to be a leader. If people say that because of what I do, that’s good, but that’s not something that I’m trying to force or something that I say, ‘I want to be a leader.’ No, that’s not who I am. I am just the kind of person who likes to help people, who likes to give advice.”

Abreu is seemingly the definition of what the White Sox want their next winning roster to be full of. And whether it’s the special relationship he has with fellow Cuban Yoan Moncada or the role-model status he holds in the eyes of his other teammates, both current and future, he’s helping the White Sox develop those kinds of players.

Oh, and he’s generally — though this season has seen an extended slump and atypical numbers — one of the most consistently productive hitters in the game.

Who wouldn’t want all that as the face of the franchise?

“It’s all a blessing. I can’t ask for anything else,” Abreu said. “I’m a true believer that if you work hard, good things are going to happen. That’s why I work hard every day, I try to do my best, I try to improve every day and just to be a better person. Not just a better player, but a better person.”