White Sox

Avisail Garcia's big day highlights White Sox win over Brewers

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Avisail Garcia's big day highlights White Sox win over Brewers

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- This is the kind of day the White Sox hoped for this spring, one with an Avisail Garcia homer that John Danks said is the farthest he’s ever seen hit here.

The White Sox outfielder got positive reinforcement in the form of loud contact on Tuesday as he continues to experiment with a new approach in exhibition games. Garcia blasted a massive two-run home run to left field and also tripled in two more runs. He also singled as part of a 16-hit attack as the White Sox topped the Milwaukee Brewers 10-6. Jimmy Rollins also homered as the White Sox improved to 4-1-1.

“Mechanically, he’s working on some things and sometimes it’ll look a little funky,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think with the way he’s swinging it today, putting the bat on the ball hard to right field and with the homer, some time that stuff clicks in with the more at-bats you have. Good approach from him today.”

Garcia has worked on the new mechanics for a little more than six weeks. In January, he and hitting coach Todd Steverson worked out for three days in Miami to establish a new approach. By standing more upright, the White Sox hope Garcia sees pitches better than he has in the past. They’ve seen some evidence of that in the first. They also had him lower his hands to chest level for a more direct line to the ball.

[MORE: Mat Latos will continue mechanical adjustments on side]

That resulted in a moonshot Tuesday off Chase Anderson that cleared the berm in left field and may have bounced up against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ clubhouse.

The White Sox are not so naïve to think the alterations will kick in overnight. They know it’s a process and it can be a lengthy one. But they figure it’s better for Garcia to experiment now as all statistics are reset in early April.

And the hope is these changes help Garcia tap into a tremendous wealth of potential power by getting the ball in the air more often.

“Difference to me is the finish,” said one American League scout. “Definitely more intent to lift the ball.”

Garcia has six hits and a walk in his first 13 plate appearances this spring. He likes how he has begun, but knows the switch is a work in progress.

“I’m working really hard in the mornings on my routine,” Garcia said. “Trying to take good pitches and learn about the situations in the game.

“I’ve put my hands closer to the strike zone because last year it was up top. Now I moved it a little bit down so it’ll be closer to the strike zone. When I was up, it was too far away.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

The amount of times the 2015 White Sox offense looked as potent as it has this week were few and far between. Rollins and Garcia became the 11th and 12th players to homer this spring with nobody hitting more than one. Rollins and Adam Eaton each finished with three hits while Melky Cabrera and Carlos Sanchez had two apiece.

Garcia said the team has a sense of urgency to start strong this season.

“We’re on our way,” Garcia said. “We have to do it right now. We have to start now and for me it’s important to win right now. Once you start winning, you have the feeling, you can trust the other guys. We have to work and have fun. We have to be ready for the season.”

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

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USA TODAY

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

When Chris Sale was with the White Sox, fans dreamed of seeing him headline a postseason playoff rotation.

That never materialized in his time with the White Sox, but Sale is headlining a World Series rotation for the Red Sox. The 29-year-old pitched Game 1 for the Red Sox against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Sale didn't last long, making it into the fifth and getting pulled before recording an out. In those 4+ innings, Sale gave up three runs while striking out seven.

One of the key plays of the game featured Manny Machado getting an RBI single against Sale in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. Machado later had an RBI groundout to again tie the game in the fifth before Boston regained the lead in the bottom half of that inning.

Was that a meeting of the White Sox past (Sale) against the White Sox future (Machado)? Machado will be a highly sought after free agent this winter and the White Sox have been connected to the former Orioles infielder since last offseason.

Game 1 featured a stellar pitching matchup of Sale against Clayton Kershaw, but it didn't materialize as it looked on paper. Sale labored while Kershaw gave up five runs in 4+ innings.

This postseason hasn't been a standout one for Sale. The lefty has a 4.40 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over four appearances (three starts and a relief appearance).

The longer Chris Sale is with the Red Sox, the less this will feel relevant to the White Sox, but it is still something to see the longtime White Sox ace on the mound starting a World Series opener.

White Sox Talk Podcast: A.J. Pierzynski rips Manny Machado

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: A.J. Pierzynski rips Manny Machado

Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski comes on the podcast and tells Chuck Garfien why he’d sign Nolan Arenado over Manny Machado (6:15).

Pierzynski criticizes Machado for saying that he doesn’t play hard everyday (7:08). Would he make Machado the face of the White Sox franchise? (12:30)

He also talks about how bullpenning cost the Milwaukee Brewers a spot in the World Series (14:45).

He reveals the former White Sox player who had a gift for recognizing players who tipped their pitches (21:00).  Pierzynski tells behind the scenes stories about former teammates Nick Swisher, Bartolo Colon, Gavin Floyd and more (28:00).

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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