White Sox

Chris Sale: White Sox ‘got bold-faced lied to’ on Adam LaRoche situation

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Chris Sale: White Sox ‘got bold-faced lied to’ on Adam LaRoche situation

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Sale addressed the media on Friday morning to talk about the surprising retirement of Adam LaRoche and Tuesday’s morning meeting. Here’s a transcript of what the four-time All-Star pitcher said.

Question: Can you talk about Tuesday’s meeting and your interaction with Kenny Williams?

Chris Sale: Came in, team meeting, just trying to find some common ground and clearly it didn’t get there. It’s just one of the things that kind of happens in the game. You’re not always going to see eye to eye with everyone you work with and everybody within the organization and you move on.

Q: Talked to Kenny since that meeting?

A: I have not.

Q: You said common ground — did he come down here saying ‘We’d like to compromise on the new policy’ or is it, ‘This is the new policy’?

A: Yeah well, Kenny said quite a few things, contradicting statements a couple times. He came to the players, said it was the coaches. Went to the coaches, said it was the players and then came in here and told us it was the owner. So, we’re not exactly — who it’s coming from, where it originated from. That’s why we’re still trying to figure out where it all came from.

Q: If this happened before spring training and talked about it with the players do you think it would have had a better reception? 

A: No doubt. I think if the right person had handled it I think it would have been completely different. This isn’t us rebelling against rules. This is kind of us rebelling against BS, plain and simple. It’s not the fact we have a problem with the rules. We have to wear suits on the plane, we all dress up nice, carry ourselves in professional manners. But when it comes to what goes on in the clubhouse, the right person has to handle that and that’s Robin (Ventura). He’s the top, he’s the leader of this clubhouse ultimately and if there’s something that needs to be said in here he can say it and it’s taken with respect because he’s fighting with us. And quite honestly, he has taken heat for us before that he doesn’t deserve. So we have faith in him and we trust him.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Upset White Sox players considered boycotting game after Adam LaRoche retirement]

Q: Were you pretty outspoken in the meeting?

A: It’s neither here nor there. That’s not the issue and even the story that everyone is reading isn’t the issue. We have a much bigger problem on our hands than Kenny coming in here and kicking out a kid and Roachy retiring. That’s the unfortunate part of all of this. But at the end of the day it wasn’t the right thing. There was no problem in here. We were rolling. We had a team coming together with new guys getting acquainted and playing well, no hiccups, nothing. We’re a steam engine going full steam ahead and kind of derailed it. We had some positive energy going. There was absolutely no problem in here whatsoever with anyone and he kind of created a problem.

Q: Can one meeting and an apology turn things around?

A: I mean, we’re still missing a teammate plain and simple. Like I said, there was no issue before and we’re still trying to find out what the truth is.

Q: What’s the bigger problem?

A: Lying, plain and simple. We got bold-faced lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust. You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and tell the coaches it’s the players and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen. Like I said, we’re not rebelling against the rules. It has nothing to do with the rules. It’s a much deeper issue and all this negative attention around so much positivity that was here before. We were rolling. We were having a great time. You guys have seen it. The drills are crisp, everything was clicking. And it just took someone to come in here and throw a wrench in the plans.

Q: Why have these (jerseys) up here?

A: Because Drake is honestly one of the best kids I have ever met. You can ask anybody, anybody, that has ever played with Adam. And I think that’s another part of the issue. We’re not talking about some guy and his kid. We’re talking about Adam LaRoche. I dare you to find something negative about that guy from anybody he has played with or come across. Same thing with Drake. This kid is wise beyond his years. He’s mature beyond his years and quite honestly he was a blast to have around. He was, for the lack of a better term, our team mascot. He brought just as much energy to this clubhouse as anybody and it’s a hard pill to swallow for someone outside of the clubhouse to tell us what’s going to happen. We don’t go up to his office and tell him how to do his job.

Q: There’s reports that players complained about (Drake) to some extent?

A: I believe if a player had a problem with it they would have come to Adam or at least taken it to Robin. I think Robin was the right person to handle this and he was handcuffed.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Adam LaRoche retired after White Sox asked him to limit son's time with team]

Q: What are your concerns about how this affects the team moving forward?

A: We’re missing two big pieces to our puzzle, plain and simple. I’m not going to sit here and say it’s going to be the main reason, but he’s definitely going to be missed and we’re not going to get him back.

Q: How frustrated are you that this happened at this point in time?

A: It’s extremely frustrating, especially when people tell you we’re here to win a championship and then stuff like this happens. If we’re truly here to win a championship and come together and play as a team and win as a team, these issues don’t come up. It’s just unfortunate. Somebody walked out those doors the other day and it was the wrong guy, plain and simple.

Q: Do you have more admiration now for Adam than you had even before?

A: No doubt. How can you not? Like I said, this is a bigger issue than being told that his son can’t be around and him walking away. I think that’s what everyone’s focus is. Everyone is focusing on the story that’s printed, but it’s a much deeper issue than that. I commend him, I stand behind him clearly 100 percent in his decision. Would I love to have him back? Absolutely. No doubt. And I think anybody in here would take him back in a heartbeat, would love to have him back in here. But at the same time, you have to respect a man that stands by his word and is not afraid to stand up in what he believes in.

Q: How do you move on as a team, organization?

A: We just keep trucking. We try to get back to where we were before this mess started. We were rolling. We had positive energy in here. Nobody saw anything as a distraction until all this happened. We just try to pick up the pieces, collect it all and put it back together and keep trucking.

Q: Can LaRoche come back?

A: I don’t know. I’m certainly staying optimistic about it.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Players supported Adam LaRoche, son in Tuesday meeting]

Q: Have you spoken to him? 

A: I have. I didn’t want to step on his toes clearly, but like I said, we would all love to have him back but I don’t know if that’s going to happen.

Q: The biggest issue is the trust issue and being told a lie from Kenny?

A: Yeah. When there’s a problem, you get to the source and find out what it is. We’ve been told three different stories. We don’t know what avenue to go down or who to believe from who it originated from.

Q: Three different stories as to where it originated?

A: Yeah. First it was the players that said something then it was the coaches that said something and now it’s the owner said something.

Q: And Kenny has given you all three stories?

A: Yes. Now we’re just as confused as you guys. You guys are looking at me like I have 17 eyes up here, but I’m not saying anything that isn’t the truth. I have no reason to. There’s no reason for me to sit here and lie about something that I witnessed and was a part of.

Q: Where does Kenny stand now with the guys in the clubhouse?

A: We don’t need to get into that. I’m not here to be disrespectful to anybody and call names. But I am here to state the facts and you guys got them.

Q: Hoping Mr. (Jerry) Reinsdorf might talk to you guys?

A: Yeah, I think that’s the ultimate goal is to talk to him and speak to someone with a level head and try to find some common ground, try to see where this came from. Jerry is a very understanding person and I think if we can get too him and speak to him and have an adult conversation. I think we’ll be able to figure some things out and iron out the creases.

Q: Why can’t a grievance be filed?

A: I don’t know anything about that. That’s really none of my concern. My concern is this team and the well-being of this team. I have a lot of time invested in this team, the whole blood, sweat and tears thing. I want to win and I think all of you guys know that and everyone in here knows that. With the things that are going on, that’s going to be a much harder task to accomplish, plain and simple.

Q: Will you continue to feel like a leader and somebody that has to do that for this team?

A: I believe so, yes. That’s the position I’m in. I have to speak for the people who don’t have voices. I have to speak for my teammates now. I have to speak for my teammates in the future. This is something that needs to be taken care of for the well being of the White Sox. Not just Adam. Not just me. This is something that could have a lasting impression for years to come and could affect future teams. I’m not a fan of that. If we are truly trying to win a championship, there’s no room for this kind of stuff.

Q: Can this hurt the team in free agency in the future?

A: I don’t see how it couldn’t. I don’t see why someone with a handful of offers on the table could look and say you know what, that’s a mess I want to go into. No. It’s unfortunate for everyone else involved because this ultimately comes down to the White Sox. This is Rick (Hahn) and Robin and Jerry and the players and the coaching staff are probably going to get heat for something they don’t deserve. Rick, I truly believe is trying to build a winning team. We have a lot of respect for that guy. We have a lot of respect for Robin because he’s leading the charge. We just don’t have room for outside distractions.

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

Q: This will be looked at as a coup, Kenny versus the team, the team versus Kenny. Is that an accurate portrayal?

A: I don’t think anyone in here has a problem with anybody else in the organization.

Q: The bottom line is Adam was promised he could have Drake around?

A: It was in his contract just like anything else. I think they would have had a better job saying, ‘Hey you can bring your son, but you have to play for free this year.’ I think that would have gone over a little bit better. It was as much of a guarantee as anything else.

Q: Is it more difficult for you to do the things you need to do to get ready with this?

A: Absolutely not. I have a team I have to stand by. I still have a job to do. It’s not these guys fault. I’m not going to take it out on them. We all have the same idea. And we are trying to achieve that. I can’t reiterate enough. It’s not us rebelling against rules. It’s us rebelling against things that don’t have a place in the clubhouse.

Q: Different story if Adam hits 30 home runs last year?

A: That’s another thing too. For us, it just seems like him trying to make rules just to make rules. Unfortunately, it shook out the way it did. It’s unfortunate. It really is. We are trying to win, we really are. We have a good thing going on in here, we really do. We have great guys and a great team. We just have got something in the way.

Q: Would this impact the way you look at staying in the organization?

A: I’m going to be here for a while. I still have a lot of time left in this uniform. I’m not shying away from playing as hard as I can in this uniform. This doesn’t have anything to do with my teammates or the organization. I’m still going to fight to my last breath for this team and for my teammates. But on the flip side I have to fight for our rights too and what is right and what is wrong and what is truth and what is false.

Charlie Tilson plays in Detroit for first time since getting injured in his MLB debut

Charlie Tilson plays in Detroit for first time since getting injured in his MLB debut

For over two years, Charlie Tilson was starting to look like his own version of "Moonlight" Graham, the player made famous in the movie "Field of Dreams" because he played in one major league game and never got to bat.

The White Sox traded for Tilson just before the trade deadline passed in 2016. Two days later he made his big league debut with the White Sox in Detroit. He got a single in his first at-bat, but left the game with an injury and missed the rest of the season. Tilson also missed all of the 2017 season and his MLB future was starting to come into question.

Back healthy, Tilson started this season in Triple-A Charlotte and hit .248 in 39 games when he got called up to replace Leury Garcia, who was placed on the disabled list. On Thursday, Tilson returned to a big league field for the first time in more than 20 months. He went 0-for-3 in a loss to Baltimore.

Friday marked a return to the site of Tilson's big league debut and the injury that made it such a brief stint. Tilson has now played three big league games, over the course of nearly 21 months, and two of them have been in Detroit.

Tilson went 1-for-4, meaning both his hits are in Comerica Park. The White Sox lost 5-4 after giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth.

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

Lucas Giolito is having a rough go of things in his second year with the White Sox.

He came into the season with some pretty high expectations after posting a 2.38 ERA in seven starts at the end of the 2017 campaign and then dominating during spring training. But he’s done anything but dominate since this season started, and after one of his worst outings in Thursday’s 9-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, he’s got a 7.53 ERA in 10 starts in 2018.

Giolito stuck around for only four outs Thursday, but he allowed the Orioles to do plenty of damage, giving up seven runs on six hits — two of which were back-to-back home runs to start the second inning — and three walks. He leads the American League with his 37 walks.

“I take what I do very seriously. I work as hard as I can at it,” Giolito said. “So when I experience failure like this, it’s kind of hard to deal with. All I can do is come back tomorrow, keep working on things and hopefully have a better one.”

All of Giolito’s struggles have fans wondering why the White Sox haven’t sent him down to Triple-A to work on his craft.

“I don’t foresee that at this particular time,” Rick Renteria said when asked if Giolito could be sent to Triple-A. “I think he’s just a young man who’s got to continue to minimize the emotional aspect of crossing from preparation into the game and staying focused, relaxed and hammer the zone with strikes. And truthfully it’s just first-pitch strike and get after the next one.”

The White Sox have already sent one young pitcher down in Carson Fulmer, who was having a nightmarish time at the big league level. Fulmer’s results were worse than Giolito’s on a regular basis. He got sent down after posting an 8.07 ERA in nine outings.

But hasn’t Giolito suffered through command issues enough to warrant some time away from the major league limelight? According to his manager, Giolito’s situation is vastly different than Fulmer’s.

“I don’t see them anywhere near each other,” Renteria said. “They’re two different competitors in terms of the outcomes that they’ve had. Lucas has at least had situations in which he might have struggled early and been able to gain some confidence through the middle rounds of his start and continue to propel himself to finish some ballgames, give us six or seven innings at times. So it’s two different guys.

“With Gio, I expect that we would have a nice clean start from the beginning, but when he doesn’t I still feel like if he gets through it he’ll settle down and continue to hammer away at what he needs to do in order to get deeper into a ballgame, and that was a little different with Carson. With Carson it was right from the get-go he was struggling, and he had a difficult time extending his outings after the third or fourth because it just kept getting too deep into his pitch count and not really hammering the strike zone as much.”

Renteria is not wrong. Giolito has had a knack to take a rough beginning to a start and turn it into five or six innings. Notably, he gave up a couple first-inning runs and walked seven hitters and still got the win against the Cubs a week and a half ago. And while his first-inning ERA is 10.80 and his second-inning ERA is 12.54, he’s pitched into at least the sixth inning in seven of his 10 starts.

Renteria’s point is that Giolito is learning how to shake off early damage and achieving the goal, most times out, of eating up innings and keeping his team in the game. Those are a couple valuable qualities to develop for a young pitcher. But are those the lone qualities that determine that Giolito is suited to continue his learning process at the major league level? His command remains a glaring problem, and both he and Renteria admitted that his problems are more mental than physical.

“The one thing everyone has to understand is we have to go beyond the physical and attack a little bit more of the mental and emotional and try to connect and slow that down,” Renteria said. “Those aspects are the ones that ultimately, at times, deal in the derailment of the physical action. So if we can kind of calm that down a little bit.

“He’s very focused. Giolito is high intensity. Nice kid but high-intensity young man when he gets on the mound. You might not believe it. He’s going 100 mph. So I think it goes to more just trusting himself, trusting the process, taking it truthfully one pitch at a time.”

Well, if a demotion to the minors isn’t likely, what about moving Giolito to the bullpen? Carlos Rodon and Chris Sale dipped their toes in bullpen waters before moving to the rotation. Could a reversal of that strategy help Giolito?

Well, the current state of the White Sox starting rotation — Fulmer in the minors, Miguel Gonzalez on the 60-day DL and pitchers like James Shields, Hector Santiago and Dylan Covey, who aren’t exactly long-term pieces, getting a lot of starts — doesn’t really allow for another piece to be removed.

“I know they have done it with Rodon and Sale,” Renteria said. “The difference is we don’t have the makeup of the starting rotation that those clubs had in order to put those guys in the ‘pen. We are in a different situation right now. Moving forward, is that something we can possibly do? Absolutely. It has been done with very good success.

“Right now we are in truly discovery mode and adjustment mode and adapting and trying to do everything we can to get these guys to develop their skill sets to be very usable and effective at the major league level and we are doing it to the best of our ability.”

There could be promise in the fact that Giolito has turned a season around as recently as last year. Before he was impressing on the South Side in August and September, he was struggling at Triple-A Charlotte. Even after he ironed things out, things had gotten off to a rocky enough start that he owned a 4.48 ERA and 10 losses when he was called up to the bigs.

It doesn’t seem Giolito will be going back to Charlotte, unless things continue to go in a dramatically poor direction. Right now, these are just more of the growing pains during this rebuilding process. “The hardest part of the rebuild” doesn’t just means wins and losses. It means watching some players struggle through speed bumps as they continue to develop into what the White Sox hope they’ll be when this team is ready to compete.