White Sox

All-Star Avi: Avisail Garcia's turnaround with White Sox earns him spot among baseball's best

All-Star Avi: Avisail Garcia's turnaround with White Sox earns him spot among baseball's best

Avisail Garcia is heading to Miami for the All-Star Game.

That’s not something many White Sox fans would’ve expected heading into this season after Garcia put up a few mediocre years since coming over from the Detroit Tigers in a 2013 trade. But after an offseason of hard work and a half-season of stellar offensive production, the team’s big bat of the future is finally its big bat of the present.

“I feel happy,” Garcia said Sunday. “It’s an honor to represent the White Sox in the All-Star Game. It’s an honor for me. It’s another blessing. I just have to keep working and can’t wait for that moment.

“I believe in myself. And you know, I know I work hard trying to improve myself, my career. Like I said it’s another blessing. When you work hard and believe in yourself, I think you got a really good chance to be where I am right now representing the White Sox in the All-Star Game. I feel blessed for that.”

Garcia flashed plenty of potential when he first came to the South Side in the three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox and Jose Iglesias to the Tigers. In his first 42 games in a White Sox uniform during that 2013 season, he hit .304 with a .327 on-base percentage.

But in the three full seasons that followed, Garcia had plenty wondering why he was such a high-profile acquisition in the first place. In the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons, he combined to slash .250/.308/.380, striking out 300 times.

Then came the work.

This past offseason, Garcia explained, he got to work, hitting the gym and the cage to transform himself into the hitter the White Sox thought he could be.

“I lost weight first of all. I worked on my hitting. And all that stuff, wake up every day at like 5 a.m. to go to the gym and work hard. And then go back home in the afternoon and then go to hit like three times per week,” Garcia said. “All that work is coming together.”

The work has definitely paid off. Garcia is slashing .318/.362/.512 in 75 games this season with 11 homers and 51 RBIs. He’s one off his 120-game total in home runs from a season ago and has already matched the RBI number from 2016. His current OPS of .875 is more than 140 points above his previous career high.

“He played some winter ball last year and I spoke to him over the winter. He talked about wanting to improve himself as a player,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “There's never been a doubt this kid's driven to try to perform and excel. I hope it's something that's going to be here and he'll continue to move forward into the future in terms of the consistency. Maybe he's scratching the surface right now, finally starting to get to grips with who he is as a player and what he's doing.”

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Now all that work has earned Garcia a place on the American League All-Star team. Not that he was expecting that to happen.

“I just take one day at a time,” Garcia said. “I don't like to think what's going to happen. I just think right now. We have to be like that because we're focused for the game. Whatever happens outside happens. It's work. When you work hard and when you play hard, you don't have to think about it. It's going to come along. You just have to be focused and play hard every day, try to do your best and give 100 percent on the field.”

While the joy of being included among baseball’s best at the All-Star Game was apparent — Garcia sported a huge smile when he spoke about his All-Star jersey hanging in his locker — the biggest message Garcia’s selection sends is the change in his standing when it comes to the White Sox rebuild.

While the team always envisioned this type of production as a possibility, fans and observers — not known for their patience — weren’t sold on Garcia as a long-term piece through the last three middling seasons. With the rebuild underway, many were hesitant to include Garcia in their lineup projections for two or three seasons down the road.

This All-Star season has likely changed many minds. Garcia, just 26, can now easily be envisioned in a batting order alongside the likes of Yoan Moncada, Zack Collins and Luis Robert.

“It’s just maturation,” Renteria said. “All players, after a certain point in time, you start to feel comfortable at the big league level. We’re hoping that this is the beginning of something that he will continue to be able to push forward and maintain some consistency throughout the rest of his career. There’ll be some ups and downs, but for the most part I think he’s coming to understand who he is as a player and he’s trusting it. Hopefully that continues.”

“It’s big. I think a lot of people believe in me, like myself. I appreciate that,” Garcia said. “I thank god for those people that believe in me. I know who I am, what kind of person I am. I know what kind of player I am. I have to keep working and try to get better every day, every year, and try to improve.

“I want to have success here. I would like to stay here for a long time. That's why I'm trying to do my best every day, every year. I'm trying to improve, trying to do my best so I can be here for a long time.”

With All-Star validation, being on the South Side for a long time suddenly seems a lot more realistic.

“First time,” Garcia said, “hopefully there's many more to come.”

NBC Sports Chicago announces 2020 White Sox return-to-play coverage details

NBC Sports Chicago announces 2020 White Sox return-to-play coverage details

Chicago, IL (July 16, 2020) – NBC Sports Chicago – THE NEW EXCLUSIVE HOME of the CHICAGO WHITE SOX – has announced its 2020 Chicago White Sox return-to-play coverage details featuring 59 regular season games (29 home, 30 road), three exhibition games (including a pair of “Crosstown” battles against the Cubs), live streaming of EVERY GAME and surrounding game coverage to authenticated subscribers via NBCSportsChicago.com and the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app, plus – a brand new studio unveiling on Opening Day, along with massive season-long offerings of dedicated, fan-focused White Sox multiplatform content and much more. (NOTE: Fans located anywhere in the U.S. can download MyTeams for free on iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.)

NBC Sports Chicago will carry the first of its three White Sox exhibition games on Sunday, July 19 at 7:00 PM CT, as the White Sox head to Wrigley Field for a “Crosstown” battle against the rival Cubs. On Monday, July 20, the White Sox will then host the Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field with the final game of the team’s three-game exhibition set concluding with a home match-up against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, July 22.  The always-entertaining tandem of Jason Benetti (@jasonbenetti) and Steve Stone (@stevestone) will call exhibition and regular season White Sox telecasts (home and road) from their socially-distanced booth positions at Guaranteed Rate Field.  All three exhibition games will air at 7:00 PM and will each be preceded by White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Village of Bedford Park at 6:30 PM.  Following Sunday and Monday’s games, NBC Sports Chicago will carry Subaru White Sox Postgame Live immediately following game action (9:45 PM time approx.).  Following Wednesday’s final preseason game, NBC Sports Chicago will air the White Sox Season Preview Special presented by KIA -- hosted by NBC Sports Chicago’s veteran White Sox expert Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) and White Sox 2005 World Series Championship manager/NBC Sports Chicago analyst Ozzie Guillen (@OzzieGuillen) -- will feature player/coaches interviews, a detailed season preview analysis, a comprehensive look at this year’s Opening Day roster, an overview of all the off-season moves, along with deep discussion surrounding player preparedness in the midst of a pandemic and how players will have to adapt to significant health & safety precautions for the first time in their careers.  

The first of 59 regular season White Sox games on NBC Sports Chicago begins with the 2020 HOME OPENER on Friday, July 24 at 7:00 PM CT against the AL Central rival Minnesota Twins.  Opening Day coverage begins at 6:00 PM with an hour-long, expanded edition of White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Village of Bedford Park.  NBC Sports Chicago’s Opening Day pregame coverage is scheduled to have Chuck Garfien live at Guaranteed Rate Field with the latest game day team/player updates, while Leila Rahimi (@leilarahimi) will be joined in studio by Ozzie Guillen for complete pre-game analysis.  The Home Opener will be immediately followed by an expanded edition of Subaru White Sox Postgame Live featuring White Sox manager Rick Renteria’s live post-game press conference, along with post-game player reaction, expanded highlights, detailed analysis and more.  In addition this season, White Sox legend/Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Thomas (@TheBigHurt_35) and 2005 White Sox World Series hero Scott Podsednik will also be a part of the network’s Pre/Postgame Live analyst rotation.  NOTE: White Sox “Opening Week” on NBC Sports Chicago is presented by Taco Bell.

Additional MLB coverage on NBC Sports Chicago this season will also be delivered on Baseball Night in Chicago presented by Jet’s Pizza, the network’s “Chicago-focused” baseball discussion program, airing live on Mondays and Thursdays at 5:30 PM with re-airs at 6:30 PM on non-game days.  Now in its third season, Baseball Night in Chicago is hosted by Leila Rahimi with featured analysts Ozzie Guillen, SportsTalk Live host/Cubs expert David Kaplan (@thekapman), new White Sox “Insider” Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge), new Cubs “Insider” Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub), new Cubs digital reporter/producer Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee), veteran White Sox digital reporter/producer Vinnie Duber (@VinnieDuber), along with a variety of White Sox & Cubs players/coaches/front office execs, plus national baseball experts and special guests from coast-to-coast.  Throughout the 2020 baseball season, NBC Sports Chicago will also carry SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado weeknights at 6:00 PM with host David Kaplan and special guest panelists.  

ALSO on Opening Day (Friday, July 24) – NBC Sports Chicago will be unveiling its BRAND NEW STUDIO, a state-of-the-art new design featuring studio-wide LED monitors and floor-length LED lighting, a sleek “demo area” for NBC Sports Chicago’s analysts to educate fans on in-game specifics, custom on-set photography of Chicago’s beautiful skyline and much more. NOTE: NBC Sports Chicago will be announcing further details on its new studio Monday, July 20.

Throughout the season, White Sox fans are also urged to visit NBCSportsChicago.com/WhiteSox and the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app for 24/7 expert digital coverage via Adam Hoge, Vinnie Duber and Chuck Garfien featuring in-depth pre/postgame reports, player/coaches interviews, highlight videos, special features, galleries and much more.  In addition, NBC Sports Chicago will provide White Sox fans with numerous, multi-platform content offerings on Facebook (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago) and Twitter (@NBCSWhiteSox & @NBCSChicago), along with a multitude of team & player facts/photos/quick video offerings via Instagram (‘NBCSChicago’).

From an audio content standpoint, NBC Sports Chicago delivers the acclaimed “White Sox Talk PODCAST” presented by Wintrust.  Hosted by Chuck Garfien, along with Adam Hoge and NBC Sports Chicago’s White Sox content producers Ryan McGuffey (@RyanMcGuffey) and Chris Kamka (@ckamka), the “White Sox Talk” podcasts feature in-depth White Sox discussion on the hottest topics and breaking news throughout the season, along with special guest interviews with White Sox players/coaches/front office execs and additional MLB experts across the country. Fans can download all of NBC Sports Chicago’s podcasts at NBCSportsChicago.com/podcasts and simply subscribe to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.

PROGRAMMING NOTES:

WHITE SOX INTRASQUAD GAMES – NBC Sports Chicago will continue airing White Sox intrasquad games live from Guaranteed Rate Field this week on the following date/times: Tonight (Thu, July 16) at 7:00 PM, Friday, July 17 at 1:00 PM & Saturday, July 18 at 6:00 PM (game times subject to change).  Featuring the game call from Jason Benetti and Chuck Garfien, these games will also stream live via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO PLUS (+) – Select White Sox games may air on NBC Sports Chicago+.  NBC Sports Chicago+ (NBCSCH+) telecasts are provided to NBC Sports Chicago affiliates and distributed to viewers when two live events are scheduled simultaneously.  NBCSCH+ is available in high-definition on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 201 in the Chicago area/South Bend, IN & on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 285 in the Peoria, Springfield, Rockford and Champaign markets, along with being made available in DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse, RCN, and WOW! homes among others; viewers are urged to visit NBCSportsChicago.com’s special “Channel Finder” section (NBCSportsChicago.com/channel-finder) and punch in their zip code for complete channel location details.

2020 Chicago White Sox Schedule

EXHIBITION

1.    Sun July 19              7:00 pm               @ CUBS
2.    Mon, July 20            7:00 pm               vs. CUBS
3.    Wed, July 22            7:00 pm               vs. Milwaukee

REGULAR SEASON

1.    Fri, July 24               7:00 pm               vs. Minnesota
2.    Sat, July 25              1:00 pm               vs. Minnesota
3.    Sun, July 26             1:00 pm               vs. Minnesota
4.    Mon, July 27            6:00 pm               @ Cleveland
5.    Tue, July 28             6:00 pm               @ Cleveland
6.    Wed, July 29            5:00 pm               @ Cleveland
7.    Fri, July 31               7:00 pm               @ Kansas City
8.    Sat, Aug 1                6:00 pm               @ Kansas City
9.    Sun, Aug 2               1:00 pm               @ Kansas City
10.    Mon, Aug 3              7:00 pm               @ Milwaukee
11.    Tue, Aug 4               7:00 pm               @ Milwaukee
12.    Wed, Aug 5              7:00 pm               vs. Milwaukee
13.    Thu, Aug 6               7:00 pm               vs. Milwaukee
14.    Fri, Aug 7                 7:00 pm               vs. Cleveland
15.    Sat, Aug 8                1:00 pm               vs. Cleveland
16.    Sun, Aug 9               1:00 pm               vs. Cleveland
17.    Mon, Aug 10            6:00 pm               @ Detroit
18.    Tue, Aug 11             6:00 pm               @ Detroit
19.    Wed, Aug 12            12:00 pm             @ Detroit
20.    Sat, Aug 15              1:00 pm               vs. St. Louis
21.    Sun, Aug 16             1:00 pm               vs. St. Louis
22.    Mon, Aug 17            7:00 pm               vs. Detroit
23.    Tue, Aug 18             7:00 pm               vs. Detroit
24.    Wed, Aug 19            7:00 pm               vs. Detroit
25.    Thu, Aug 20             1:00 pm               vs. Detroit
26.    Fri, Aug 21               7:00 pm               @ CUBS
27.    Sat, Aug 22              7:00 pm               @ CUBS
28.    Sun, Aug 23             1:20 pm               @ CUBS
29.    Tue, Aug 25             7:00 pm               vs. Pittsburgh
30.    Wed, Aug 26            1:00 pm               vs. Pittsburgh
31.    Fri, Aug 28               7:00 pm               vs. Kansas City
32.    Sat, Aug 29              1:00 pm               vs. Kansas City
33.    Sun, Aug 30             1:00 pm               vs. Kansas City
34.    Mon, Aug 31            7:00 pm               @ Minnesota
35.    Tue, Sept 1              7:00 pm               @ Minnesota
36.    Wed, Sept 2             7:00 pm               @ Minnesota
37.    Thu, Sept 3              7:00 pm               @ Kansas City
38.    Fri, Sept 4                7:00 pm               @ Kansas City
39.    Sat, Sept 5               6:00 pm               @ Kansas City
40.    Sun, Sept 6              1:00 pm               @ Kansas City
41.    Tue, Sept 8              6:00 pm               @ Pittsburgh
42.    Wed, Sept 9             6:00 pm               @ Pittsburgh
43.    Fri, Sept 11              7:00 pm               vs. Detroit
44.    Sat, Sept 12             6:00 pm               vs. Detroit
45.    Sun, Sept 13            1:00 pm               vs. Detroit
46.    Mon, Sept 14           7:00 pm               vs. Minnesota
47.    Tue, Sept 15            7:00 pm               vs. Minnesota
48.    Wed, Sept 16           7:00 pm               vs. Minnesota
49.    Thu, Sept 17            1:00 pm               vs. Minnesota
50.    Fri, Sept 18              6:00 pm               @ Cincinnati
51.    Sat, Sept 19             5:00 pm               @ Cincinnati
52.    Sun, Sept 20            12:00 pm             @ Cincinnati
53.    Mon, Sept 21           5:00 pm               @ Cleveland
54.    Tue, Sept 22            5:00 pm               @ Cleveland
55.    Wed, Sept 23           5:00 pm               @ Cleveland
56.    Thu, Sept 24            5:00 pm               @ Cleveland
57.    Fri, Sept 25              7:00 pm               vs. CUBS
58.    Sat, Sept 26             6:00 pm               vs. CUBS
59.    Sun, Sept 27            2:00 pm               vs. CUBS                                                 


3 preseason, 59 regular season games
Regular season: 29 Home, 30 Road
All Times Central Time
Schedule Subject to Change

NBC Sports Chicago, a partnership between the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago White Sox (MLB) and the NBC Sports Group, features over 275 live pro games in high definition each year.  In addition, NBC Sports Chicago delivers extensive pre/post-game coverage for its core pro team partners, as well as Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs multi-platform coverage, plus - local sports discussion programs that includes SportsTalk Live, and massive cross-platform coverage provided by the network’s growing digital platform,NBCSportsChicago.com, the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app, and its variety of fan-focused social media outlets. Fans can follow the network on Twitter via @NBCSChicago.  

NBC Sports Regional Networks is NBC Sports Group’s portfolio of nine regional networks that delivers more than 2,200 live sporting events and original content to more than 35 million homes. Aligned within Eastern and Western Divisions, the NBC Sports Regional Networks are: NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia +, NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Washington + and SNY; and NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago/NBC Sports Chicago+, and NBC Sports Northwest. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios, headshots and logos, please visit www.NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.

Dallas Keuchel on facing Tim Anderson: 'You kind of want to fight him'

Dallas Keuchel on facing Tim Anderson: 'You kind of want to fight him'

Ozzie Guillen had a famous saying about A.J. Pierzynski that you’ve probably heard before.

"If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less."

It would be hard for any player to match Pierzynski’s reputation, who was (and continues to be) beloved in Chicago but was booed and despised in almost every other MLB city.

And yet, here comes Tim Anderson.

“When you play against him, you kind of want to fight him all the time,” White Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel said Wednesday.

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Keuchel has experience playing against Anderson and now he is teammates with him, seeing a different side of the White Sox shortshop that won the American League batting title last year.

“He’s definitely misunderstood,” Keuchel said.

Comparing Anderson to Pierzynski isn’t exactly apples to apples. Pierzynski’s reputation was a little more convoluted, while Anderson just likes to have fun with general disregard for baseball’s outdated “unwritten” rules. His bat flips catch the attention of much needed younger sports fans, yet also seem to trigger just as many old-school players around the league. Just ask Royals pitcher Brad Keller.

RELATED: Why Brad Keller hit Tim Anderson: Bat flip was 'over the top'

Keuchel now has the perspective of being on the same team as Anderson and he means well when he says the opposition wants to fight his new teammate.

“That's not necessarily a bad thing, because you see the passion he plays with, you see how much he loves the game,” Keuchel said. “It definitely gets under your skin, which can help him.”

The former Astros and Braves pitcher even had examples.

“I remember a few times where we'd be going over the scouting report and (the report said) you can go in this area if you're ahead of the count, or if you're behind in the count, you can go in this area,” Keuchel said. “And then all the sudden I'm going in those areas and he's pulling a groundball double down the line and I'm just dumbfounded. But now I see where he's at. His mindset, the way he's trying to be more knowledgeable about the game about his at-bats.”

The White Sox hope Anderson picks up where he left off last season, and he’s showing early signs of that, even delivering a signature bat flip – er, throw – in an intrasquad game. But at this point, Anderson has earned the right to flip, even if opposing pitchers hate it.

“That's where you get the true professional,” Keuchel said. “You put the talent with the mindset and the knowledge to get better and you're sitting pretty, you're sitting with a batting title, you're sitting with respect around the league. I think he's going to be a force to reckon with and someone who some of the younger guys can even learn from.”

 

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