White Sox

Chris Sale, White Sox 'rolling' as end of spring nears

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Chris Sale, White Sox 'rolling' as end of spring nears

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Opening Day is around the corner and White Sox players feel as if they’re in a good place.

At least that’s the assessment of staff ace Chris Sale, who watched his offense produce yet again on Tuesday afternoon in a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers at Camelback Ranch.

Todd Frazier and Adam Eaton each homered and Sale struck out five in his final spring start as the club improved to 15-12-1. The win clinched the White Sox their first winning Cactus League record since 2004.

“We’re rolling,” Sale said. “We’ve been playing well. Today was a great indication. You’ve got Eaton, his first two at-bats and going up there in his third at-bat and drawing a walk. (Alex) Avila, with a really long at-bat, getting a knock in the end. Frazier doing what he does is fun. It’s things like that that get us closer together and get us as a unit to move forward and keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

[MORE: White Sox closer to finalized 25-man roster]

The offense has been a pleasant surprise for the White Sox this spring. They hoped it would improve with a number of offseason additions and it has. While in reality spring success has no bearing upon the regular season, it can be an indicator.

Last spring, the White Sox produced only 143 runs in the spring, an average of 4.61 per contest. They homered 22 times.

The 2015 club only homered 136 times — their fewest since 1992 — and scored three runs or fewer in 82 games.

This spring, the White Sox have homered 48 times and have averaged 5.75 runs per contest.

Behind an Opening Day-esque lineup — “That’s going to be the guys,” manager Robin Ventura said — the White Sox scored in a variety of ways. Frazier blasted his second homer in as many games, a two-run shot in the first. Avila then worked a long at-bat before his two-out single drove in two runs to put the White Sox ahead 4-0. Jimmy Rollins also singled in a run after Eaton drew a two-out walk. And three innings later, the leadoff man blasted his second homer of the spring.

“We’ve been putting up runs early and often,” Sale said. “Guys are clicking. It’s fun to watch. I don’t mind sitting in the dugout for 5-10 extra minutes.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Sale didn’t keep his offense out of the dugout for long with a nice crisp effort to end the spring. The left-hander retired the first five batters he faced. He struck out a pair in the fourth and limited Texas to four hits in his first four frames. Sale’s lone mistake resulted in a Hanser Alberto solo homer to start the fifth inning.

But he only allowed a run and six hits in 5 1/3 innings and walked none.

“He looked really good,” Avila said. “Missed the spot on one pitch and that was really it for the day. Other than that, worked his changeup pretty well. Fastballs in and out. Probably wasn’t as consistent on the opposite side of the plate, but as the game went on he got better there. His slider looked good.

“He’s ready.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 1

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 1

We asked you to ask us anything about the White Sox and you delivered in a big way. We got so many questions, we had to do two different podcasts! Among the questions here in Part 1: should the White Sox send Yoan Moncada to Triple-A? What players will be traded before the deadline? Who are some sleeper prospects in the minors? Will Jordan Stephens be called up before Michael Kopech? Should Juan Uribe be a team ambassador? What's our all-time White Sox team from 2000 to the present and many more.

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

Rick Hahn says 'there will be many' promotions for White Sox prospects this week

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USA TODAY

Rick Hahn says 'there will be many' promotions for White Sox prospects this week

The White Sox have a number of highly-rated prospects performing well in the minors and some of them will be on the move within the system in a matter of days.

General manager Rick Hahn talked to reporters ahead of Monday night's White Sox game in Cleveland, a 6-2 loss, and gave the news. Well, sort of.

He didn't include names, but he did say that "there will be many" promotions after the minor league all-star games for Double-A and both Single-A teams take place on Tuesday.

Hahn added that Chris Getz, the White Sox player development director, will address the media before the White Sox host Oakland on Thursday about the moves.

If the all-star games are a reason to wait, it's safe to think some of the players involved will be playing in those games. So who could be on the move?

Double-A Birmingham has six all-stars: Eloy Jimenez, Zack Collins, Seby Zavala, Danny Mendick, Dane Dunning and Ian Hamilton. Jimenez is the name everyone wants to see on the move. He has torched the Southern League since getting off to a late start to the season due to injury. Hahn was asked about Jimenez, but didn't tip his hand as to whether he would be one of the promotions.

Dunning has been good in Double-A (2.78 ERA, 65 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings), but was already promoted this season so he may not be on the move again.

Single-A Winston-Salem has five all-stars: Dylan Cease, Luis Alexander Basabe, Joel Booker, Bernardo Flores and Matt Foster. Cease, 22, could be due for a promotion with a 2.89 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings. There's also that outfield logjam the Dash, which won the first-half division title, have had all season.

Other than Basabe and Booker, Blake Rutherford and Alex Call are also noteworthy prospects being forced to split time in the Dash's outfield. If Jimenez is moving up to Triple-A, one or two names from this group could be on the move to take his spot in Birmingham.

This would especially make sense if highly-touted outfield prospect Luis Robert, who was supposed to be in Single-A Kannapolis for a short period before joining the Dash, is ready to move up as planned. Robert is hitting .289/.360/.400 in 13 games with the Intimidators.

Birmingham, Winston-Salem and Kannapolis were all off Monday. The various all-star games will take place Tuesday and the three teams will be off again Wednesday. The promotions could be announced Thursday ahead of Getz's scheduled media availability.