White Sox

CSN to debut two, half-hour specials chronicling the rising stars in the White Sox organization

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CSN to debut two, half-hour specials chronicling the rising stars in the White Sox organization

“White Sox Cornerstones: Charlotte”

AND

“White Sox Cornerstones: Birmingham & Winston-Salem”

Premiere - Monday, May 22 at 7:00 PM & 7:30 PM CT -- Exclusively on CSN

Live stream available on CSNChicago.com/WatchLive  or via the NBC Sports app

Chicago, IL (May 11, 2017) – CSN Chicago (CSN), the home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago White Sox, has announced it will be debuting a pair of brand new, behind-the-scenes, CSN Original Productions that will provide an up-close and personal look at numerous rising stars in the White Sox organization - including Yoan Moncada (ranked #1 overall in MLB’s 2017 Top “100 Prospects”), Lucas Giolito (ranked #8), Michael Kopech (ranked #13), Reynaldo Lopez (ranked #39), Carson Fulmer (ranked #63), Zack Collins (ranked #73), along with Nicky Delmonico, and Downers Grove native Zack Burdi among many others - with the back-to-back airings of White Sox Cornerstones: Charlotte and White Sox Cornerstones: Birmingham & Winston-Salem presented by Ozinga on Monday, May 22 at 7:00 PM & 7:30 PM CT respectively.  NOTE: Live stream also available on CSNChicago.com/WatchLive or via the NBC Sports app to authenticated CSN Chicago subscribers. 

Produced & written by CSN Senior Producer of Original Content Ryan McGuffey and edited by CSN Executive Producer of Original Content Sarah Lauch, White Sox Cornerstones takes an in-depth look at the highly-touted prospects in the White Sox farm system at Class AAA Charlotte, Class AA Birmingham, and Class A Winston-Salem with exclusive, candid interviews with players, managers, front office execs, along with a unique study of day-to-day life for these prospects, whose goals are micro-focused on their development and making their dreams come true by being called up as a member of the Chicago White Sox.

"It is our passion to create content that appeals to the fans of all our teams,” said Kevin Cross, Sr. Director of News & Original Content for CSN Chicago. “If you follow the White Sox and you care about any aspect of this rising organization, we want our viewers to continue to know we share that same passion with them. Cornerstones is a prime example of that philosophy."

In the breaking down the two half-hour specials, White Sox Cornerstones: Charlotte (debuting at 7:00 PM on May 22) will lead it off providing viewers with an in-depth look at the White Sox top prospects at AAA Charlotte.  Led by future MLB superstar Yoan Moncada, the Knights feature several prospects from one of baseball's best minor league systems.  Moncada, acquired in a December trade for pitcher Chris Sale, has been the talk of the International League.  He ranks at or near the top of nearly every statistical category and Cornerstones details why he's ready to call Chicago home and why he is a key factor in the team's promising future.  The Cuban native discusses his development in the six months since becoming a member of the White Sox, as well as his relationship with friend and current White Sox slugger Jose Abreu.

The Charlotte Knights also feature one of the more promising starting rotations in the minors with Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer.  Fulmer, the White Sox #1 pick in 2015, joins Zack Burdi (a 2016 1st round pick) in a 'walk to work' with CSN, discussing their thought process leading up to a game, being a part of the rebuild and how members of the team are as competitive off the field as they are on it.

Featured interviews include…

Yoan Moncada (#1 prospect in organization)

Lucas Giolito (#2 prospect in organization)

Reynaldo Lopez (#4 prospect in organization)

Carson Fulmer (#5 prospect in organization)

Zack Burdi (#7 prospect in organization)

Nicky Delmonico (3rd baseman - Knights)

Rick Hahn (Chicago White Sox Sr. VP/GM)

Mark Grudzielanek (Knights Manager)

Steve McCatty (Knights Pitching Coach)

Mike Pacheco (Radio voice of the Knights)

Then, at 7:30 PM on May 22, White Sox Cornerstones: Birmingham & Winston-Salem will provide viewers with a deep look at the top prospects at Class AA Birmingham and Class A Winston-Salem in the White Sox organization.

In Birmingham, CSN exclusively 'rides the bus' with the Barons after a road win against the Montgomery Biscuits.  The 90-plus minute ride featured extensive interviews with several key members of the Barons, including the organization’s #3 prospect Michael Kopech and #11 prospect Spencer Adams.  Kopech, whose fastball routinely hits 100mph, is the talk of the Southern League and opens up about the trade to Chicago and how his obsession with being the very best factors in to the overall White Sox rebuilding mindset.

In Winston-Salem, CSN travels to Salem, Virginia for a road game against the Salem Red Sox.  Hours before the game, CSN sits down for lunch with 2016 top draft pick/White Sox #6 prospect Zack Collins and teammate, pitcher Tanner Banks.  The lunch showcases Collins in a different light and brings out personality and character in the hopeful future catcher.  Also included is a trip to the Salem ballpark for interviews with players and former White Sox star/current Winston-Salem Dash manager Willie Harris.

Featured interviews include…

Michael Kopech (#3 prospect in organization)

Zack Collins (#6 prospect in organization)

Luis Alexander Basabe (#8 prospect in organization)

Dane Dunning (#10 prospect in organization)

Spencer Adams (#11 prospect in organization)

Willie Harris (former White Sox infielder/current manager Winston-Salem Dash)

Matt Cooper (#28 prospect in organization)

Courtney Hawkins (13th overall pick - 2012 MLB draft)

Eddy Alvarez (Barons second baseman, 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist-Sochi)

Jake Dunning (Barons pitcher, brother of Dane)

Brett Austin (Barons catcher)

Please note the following quotes from the CSN Original Production of White Sox Cornerstones: Charlotte and White Sox Cornerstones: Birmingham & Winston-Salem, presented by Ozinga, debuting respectively on Monday, May 22 at 7:00 & 7:30 PM CT:

YOAN MONCADA on being MLB’s top overall prospect: “For me, it doesn’t really come with any type of pressure. I’m very grateful to be named the number one prospect, but for me, I just have to keep doing everything that I’ve been doing and just keep working hard and trying to get better every day.

“I feel really good being able to be a part of this organization, especially since they’re going out and they’re getting a lot of young talent. I can be part of that talent. I feel really good and I’m excited that, in the future hopefully, when we’re all up there, we can go out and help the team win.”

RICK HAHN on the development of Yoan Moncada: “I’m probably as happy if not more so with the stuff happening between 10pm and 7pm, in other words, the 21 hours a day he’s not playing.  Obviously, the stuff happening on the field between 7 & 10 during the game have been great.  He’s continuing to develop, we’ve seen a lot of positives offensively and defensively and in terms of his approach during the game.  But, so much of what’s going on with a player like that happens off the field. 

“In pregame with the drills he’s doing with (Knights manager) Mark Grudzielanek and Vance Law, our roving infield instructor, it happens on the bus rides, it happens in dealing with the media and handling expectations….and I think it’s easy to lose sight of given his name and the fact that he was in Boston, up to the big leagues and got a ton of money to sign, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that he’s only 22 years old.  When we acquired him, he had fewer than 200 plate appearances at the big league level above double-A under his belt.  There’s still a fair amount of development that has to happen with this kid, not just from a baseball standpoint, but from a physical standpoint and from a maturity standpoint.  We’ve just been thrilled ever since he showed up at camp.”

LUCAS GIOLITO on being at AAA Charlotte in a stable environment vs. being shuttled throughout the minor leagues like he was a year ago in Washington: “Just being able to come to the field every day and have a set goal in mind…kind of like a checklist of things I need to work on to get better and be able to be here, and be comfortable, take the ball every fifth day, and go out and try to win and pitch deep into games…that’s my job description. At the same time, being in one location, working on things to try to make myself a better pitcher so when I do get that opportunity in the big leagues again, I can take advantage of it and stay there…and not have to worry about ‘Am I going down?...Am I moving up?’…just getting rid of that mindset all together and focus on the task at hand.”

MICHAEL KOPECH on what drives him and visualizing the phone call of a promotion to join the Chicago White Sox:  “I’m just obsessed. It’s a game and it’s a job, but at the end of the day, it’s what I love to do and I think if I’m not this obsessed with it for just one day, then I need to stop playing. This is the only way I’ve ever been in the game and that’s what kind of keeps me going every time I’m on the field.

“As crazy as it sounds, I feel like I already got the call and I’ll just have to relive the moment, I’ve visualized it so much. At this point, it’s just kind of practice. I’d be extremely excited to get the call, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve thought about it so many times in my head that it already feels like it happened. If I can get to that point and relive that moment exactly the way I imagined it, I feel like I’ll be there for the rest of my career.”

CSN will also re-air White Sox Cornerstones: Charlotte on Fri, May 26 at 3:00 PM - Sat, May 27 at 4:30 PM - Mon, May 29 at 11:00 PM & Wed, May 31 at 11:00 PM…additional airings of White Sox Cornerstones: Birmingham & Winston-Salem will take place on Sat, May 27 at 5:00 PM - Mon, May 29 at 7:00 PM & 11:30 PM & Wed, May 31 at 11:30 PM.

Viewers are also urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s White Sox section: (http://www.csnchicago.com/whitesox ), which will include video footage from White Sox Cornerstones and additional “web-exclusive” video excerpts.  In addition, CSNChicago.com will provide White Sox minor leagues commentary write-ups from CSNChicago.com’s White Sox “Insider” Dan Hayes throughout the season.  In addition, the popular “White Sox Talk PODCAST” (presented by Wintrust) with White Sox Pre/Postgame Live host Chuck Garfien and an array of special guests, features in-depth White Sox minor league reports, including the latest news on all the key prospects at AAA Charlotte, each and every week throughout the season. Fans can download all of CSN’s podcasts at CSNChicago.com/podcasts and simply subscribe to them via iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: As previously announced, CSN will continue its schedule of Charlotte Knights (Class AAA) game coverage with the following upcoming contests…

2017 Charlotte Knights (White Sox AAA) telecast schedule on CSN

Sat, May 27     6:00 pm            vs. Buffalo (Blue Jays)                     LIVE

Sun, May 28    6:00 pm            vs. Buffalo (Blue Jays)                     Same day delay - 7:00pm on CSN

Thu, June 15    6:00 pm            vs. Louisville (Reds)                         LIVE

Sat, June 17     6:00 pm            vs. Indianapolis (Pirates)                LIVE on CSN+HD

Sun, June 18    1:00 pm            vs. Indianapolis (Pirates)                Same day delay - 7:00pm on CSN

Gio Gonzalez still hoping to throw 'at least one pitch' for White Sox

Gio Gonzalez still hoping to throw 'at least one pitch' for White Sox

Forgive Gio Gonzalez if his short-term goal is pretty basic.

"I just want to throw one pitch in a White Sox uniform. At least one pitch," he said Tuesday.

Gonzalez, 34, has waited 16 years for that one pitch. And he’s still waiting.

Originally drafted in the first round by the White Sox in 2004, he was traded twice – once for Jim Thome in 2006 and once for Nick Swisher in 2008 – by the organization. His reunion with Chicago came last December, when he signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the team.

Then a shoulder injury struck.

And then a global pandemic.

“It's sad to say I did that have that depression, kind of like, am I ever going to get to wear this wonderful uniform in this city that drafted me and get to pitch, finally, an inning with them?,” Gonzalez said.

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Tuesday signified a step closer to making that pitch a reality. For the first time since he was drafted by the White Sox, Gonzalez returned to the home bullpen in left field to throw.

“It was funny, today, after a bullpen session, I was telling (executive vice president Kenny Williams and pitching coach Don Cooper), the last time I threw off this mound was in 2004 (because) when you get drafted, you get to throw a bullpen for the team that drafted you,” Gonzalez said. “I had that little moment with Kenny and Coop and I told Coop, 'The last time you saw me, I was a young kid and I had a lot of maturing to do when you had me, and now I'm an older gentleman with a little bit of mileage in my arm.’ I think it was worth the wait.”

Now Cooper and everyone else with the White Sox are hoping that mileage still allows Gonzalez to throw in actual games during this shortened 60-game season. A shoulder issue prevented Gonzalez from getting much work in during spring training and it’s now apparent that he wouldn’t have been available had the season started on time. Gonzalez said he spent the hiatus getting physical therapy in Pinecrest, Fla., where he lives.

“The staff there really took care of me, really helped my shoulder kind of get to where it needs to be now. From where I started to now, I think I've made a dramatic change,” he said.

But he’s still not 100 percent.

“I think my shoulder has progressed almost 95 percent, which this break really did help in a way where I could rest my arm and kind of get it going,” he said.

It’s possible that Gonzalez will make up that last five percent in the next 17 days before the regular season begins, and with Michael Kopech not even in camp with the White Sox, it sounds like Gonzalez will be needed. But when asked if he would be OK coming out of the bullpen if necessary, two things were clear: 1) Gonzalez would prefer to start, and 2) there’s still some trepidation with the left shoulder.

“It's putting me in a tough spot. I'm coming from a shoulder injury, trying to get into a healthy season as far the 60 games for the guys and trying to get into a postseason for the team,” Gonzalez said. “I don't want to risk it by putting myself on a shorter day rest to kind of get more innings.”

That said, he understands that traditional pitching roles could be in flux during this wonky season.

“If the time comes down the stretch, I think so, but I think it's too early to ask for that kind of help, but we'll see,” he said. “You never know. I'd like to help as much as possible, but again, I have to make sure I take care of my arm before I decide to make those decisions.”

The good news? Gonzalez is talking like someone who plans on pitching for the White Sox soon. The bad news? The shoulder issue might not be completely behind him.

So as Gonzalez still waits for that one pitch with the White Sox, the White Sox will be hoping for a whole lot more.

 

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White Sox pitchers up for any role in short season: 'We want to win'

White Sox pitchers up for any role in short season: 'We want to win'

So how's this whole pitching thing going to work in 2020?

The baseball season has been squeezed down from its typical six-month marathon to a 60-game sprint to the postseason. The sport's been on hold for months, spring training abruptly halted back in March, with "Summer Camp" not starting up until the beginning of this month. Opening Day is two weeks from Friday, and the White Sox have more arms than they know what to do with.

Rick Hahn's fond of saying you can never have enough pitching, and certainly it's the truth, especially ahead of a season where the White Sox, nor any other team, can be certain of what they'll get from any one of their players. But with Michael Kopech, Carlos Rodón, Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert all able to be full-season additions after their various recoveries from Tommy John surgery, the White Sox have a much deeper group of pitchers — starting pitchers — than they were expected to have in March.

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The elements of the long layoff and the 60-game sprint, which certain players have described as potentially having a playoff atmosphere from Day 1, make it so Rick Renteria suddenly has a ton of options when it comes to managing his pitching staff. And the skipper himself, in the past no fan of new pitching trends such as the opener, has admitted that everything is on the table, including an expanded rotation or the art of "piggybacking," multiple starters pitching one right after the other in the same game.

It wouldn't be outlandish to expect creative deployments of the White Sox many arms. Wouldn't Kopech and his triple-digit velocity make a menacing late-inning option? Wouldn't opposing teams be shaking in their cleats if they finally chased Dallas Keuchel, only for Rodón to appear right after?

There are tons of possibilities, and the lines between starting pitcher and bullpen pitcher could get blurred in this most unusual of campaigns.

And another new variable for these White Sox could make things even more different: It's winning time on the South Side.

"We want to win. And in order for us to accomplish that, we have to be open to do whatever it takes to win every game," White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez said Tuesday through team interpreter Billy Russo. "We as the starters, I think we're open to help the team in any role or capacity the team needs us to pitch. I think we don't need to be heroes, we just need to do our job."

"This season's pretty unique, obviously, with a 60-game schedule. I think a lot of us are going to have to encompass different roles," Rodón said Sunday. "Plus, we have a surplus of arms that we'll get to use, and I think there's some creative ways we could go about using them. I think all of us are pretty willing to step into any role we can to help this team win. We have a chance just as much as anyone."

That "whatever they ask of me" attitude might not strike as super uncommon, especially when teams get into pennant races and the playoffs. But this season will feature a pennant race from Opening Day to the end of September. Fast starts will be essential, and any losing streak could derail everything.

If the White Sox are going to compete alongside the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians for the AL Central crown, they'll need to do it from the jump.

"It's just going to be 60 games, and we have to win right away," Lopez said. "We have to start winning from the beginning because we won't have any chance to regroup or get better as the season progresses. We need to start in a hot situation and just try to keep it."

"We have 60 games," Keuchel said, "and I figured we’re probably going to be in playoff-mode type of coaching, when you get five or six innings from the starters, depending on how good they’re doing, and you turn it over to the bullpen."

RELATED: White Sox said to have one of MLB's easiest schedules, but not so fast

If Renteria has plans to utilize his pitching staff in a drastically different fashion, he might not have settled on it just yet. "Summer Camp" is still just a few days old, and the White Sox are still figuring out what kind of shape their pitchers are in after the months-long layoff. Simulated games and live batting practice sessions are starting to happen, and the team will play its first intrasquad game Thursday.

And the players are in that same mode of discovery. They usually get a month and a half to work themselves from offseason shape to in-season shape. This year, they got the majority of the way down that road, then went home for three months, and now they'll get only three weeks before the games start counting.

It's far from a perfect setup, and what pitchers can or will do once the season starts remains one of baseball's myriad mysteries.

"It’s such a weird way to say this, but it’s almost like you have to come to work and figure it out as you go," Gio González said Tuesday. "And it’s tough because it’s putting everybody in a situation where no one — we’re trying to make the best of it, but this is all new to everybody. I don’t know what is going to happen, I don’t know how they’re going to start us or move the guys around. We’re just trying to get our feet under us."

The same can be said for everyone involved in putting on the Major League Baseball season right now.

As with the questions surrounding the season's viability itself, the question of how the White Sox will alter their pitching strategy won't be answered for a while longer.


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