White Sox

Cody Asche bounces back from benching in White Sox victory

Cody Asche bounces back from benching in White Sox victory

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cody Asche has mostly wanted to contribute in some form to the early winning ways for the White Sox.

It just so happened that Thursday afternoon's big contribution arrived a day after he was benched for not living up to White Sox standards, ie: a lack of hustle. Asche's two-run double in the fourth inning helped the White Sox pull away from the Kansas City Royals as they salvaged a series split with an 8-3 victory in front of 36,525 at Kauffman Stadium.

"It feels good honestly just to add to the team and be a contributing part of the lineup," Asche said. "It hasn't been the best go so far. But in a DH role you have to keep taking your at-bats, try to execute and today got one past (Eric) Hosmer and built us a lead and (Derek Holland) went to work."

The bouncing double off Ian Kennedy was a nice bit of redemption for Asche, who inexplicably exited Wednesday's loss after only one at-bat. Manager Rick Renteria said afterward that Asche hadn't injured himself when he struck out during a third-inning at-bat against Kansas City starting pitcher Nate Karns on Wednesday. Even so, Matt Davidson pinch hit for Asche the next time through the order.

On Thursday, Asche revealed his absence was the result of a failure to live up to the team's standards. The struggling designated hitter swung and missed at a 2-2 pitch from Karns that bounced in the dirt and made no effort to run to first base, almost immediately heading for the dugout. While neither he nor Renteria confirmed the exact reason for his benching, Asche made it clear he knew he was in the wrong.

"There's standards that need to be set if you're going to be a White Sox player," Asche said. "If you don't meet the standards, sometimes the manager has to take action. Last night was the case. I don't foresee it being a problem today or moving forward or ever again."

Following the game, Asche said the incident is "water under the bridge" and he was pleased to find his name penciled into Renteria's starting lineup. Though Asche has struggled -- he's 5-for-49 with 18 strikeouts -- Renteria plans to continue to give him every chance to rebound.

The manager also said he was satisfied with Asche's reaction to Wednesday's decision.

"We just have certain things we want to follow through with and he understood," Renteria said before the game. "And I'll leave it at that.

"Hopefully he'll give us what we need, a little shot in the arm. Again, you've seen, we're trying to give us the best opportunity with all the guys we have. Hopefully he'll give us something as a left-handed bat in that lineup."

White Sox Talk Podcast: Winter Meetings: Harper, Machado and emotional Harold Baines interview

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Winter Meetings: Harper, Machado and emotional Harold Baines interview

Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber come to you from the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.

With all the recent talk about Bryce Harper, could Manny Machado be the big free agent the White Sox sign this winter? (4:34) Ken Williams talks about moving from sell mode to buy mode (7:49). Chuck interviews new Hall of Famer Harold Baines who sheds tears speaking about his dad (11:51) and ESPN's Tim Kurkjian comes on the podcast to discuss the White Sox chances of signing Harper and the decision he and the Today's Game Committee made to elect Baines into the Hall of Fame (18:05).

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

White Sox Talk Podcast

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The Bryce Harper derby might already be down to three teams — and the White Sox are one of them

The Bryce Harper derby might already be down to three teams — and the White Sox are one of them

LAS VEGAS — How about this for the first day of the Winter Meetings?

According to a tweet from NBC LA's Michael Duarte, the Bryce Harper sweepstakes might already be down to just three teams. And the White Sox are one of them.

The White Sox, Phillies and Dodgers have been mentioned as possible landing spots for Harper for a while now. The White Sox have the financial flexibility and seeming willingness to offer what's expected to be the biggest contract in baseball history to a guy who would mesh perfectly with their rebuilding plans. The Phillies have vowed to "spend stupid" and have been pegged as perhaps the favorite for more than a month. And the Dodgers are a high-spending club who have reportedly already pitched Harper on starring in Southern California. The White Sox, for what it's worth, have also reportedly made their pitch, one featuring Hall of Famer Jim Thome.

Harper — who once saw enough pitches to walk 13 times during a four-game weekend set with the Cubs — has reportedly been hearing quite a lot of pitches this week with all 30 teams in his hometown of Las Vegas.

But the perhaps most interesting tidbit of Duarte's tweet is that the Dodgers might find themselves out of the running if they're not able to move other pieces around or not willing to meet the requests of Harper's agent, Scott Boras.

Also on Day 1 of the Winter Meetings, the New York Yankees pretty much bowed out of the Harper derby, and the St. Louis Cardinals did the same thing.

So where does this leave the White Sox? Well, it leaves them, apparently, as one of the teams with the best chances to land the biggest fish in this winter's free-agent pond.

If there truly are three finalists, a number that could of course still grow and shrink as the week (and offseason) goes on, and the Dodgers aren't looking like a very solid one, then the White Sox would figure to be in an excellent position. The Yankees bowing out took a team coming off a 100-win season with a championship-caliber roster off the board. The Dodgers boast similar recent success as the back-to-back NL champs, but if they're potentially not long for this sweepstakes, either, then the rebuilding White Sox don't have to pitch against that kind of immediate success. The Phillies made great strides in their rebuilding process last season, but there wouldn't be as much separation between the White Sox and the Phillies, when it comes to selling the ability to win championships, as there would be between the White Sox and the Dodgers or Yankees.

Harper would be a no-brainer fit with the White Sox future-focused long-term plan. Adding him to the collection of highly touted prospects could make the White Sox a contender for years to come, even if it doesn't even make them a playoff team right away in 2019. It's the kind of big-time opportunity the White Sox have been talking about taking advantage of to align with their ongoing development of a perennial contender.

"It’s very important for us to remain very diligent where we are in this," Hahn said Monday night. "We’re entering Year 3 of a rebuild, and although I think there’s some potential skepticism that it might be a year too soon, perhaps be pushing it, we’re very mindful of that. And we also want to balance the fact there is some unique opportunities out there in the market, and we wouldn’t be doing our job — even if it is perhaps a year too early — not doing our job if we didn’t fully vet those opportunities.

"It doesn’t mean we’re going to just look for any way to make some sort of splash. It has to fit with the long-term vision of what we’re trying to accomplish. Traditionally, the third year of a rebuild isn’t always the time where you push those chips in, so to speak, but when unique opportunities present themselves you have to respond."

The White Sox seem to be responding. Will Harper respond favorably to their pursuit?

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