White Sox

De Aza, Morel power Sox past Indians

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De Aza, Morel power Sox past Indians

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) As poorly as Ubaldo Jimenez has pitched this spring, even a performance in which he gave up a bunch of hits looked pretty good.Jimenez threw plenty of strikes in five innings for the Cleveland Indians in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.Jimenez allowed two earned runs and seven hits, walking none and striking out three. He said he stayed consistent with his mechanics in his second-to-last start of the spring, lowering his ERA from 7.24 to 6.27."I was able to throw a lot of strikes to get ahead and stay ahead," Jimenez said. "I think it was the first game that I've been able to do that in spring training."Jimenez is trying to bounce back after finishing 4-4 with a 5.10 ERA for the Indians last season following a late trade with the Colorado Rockies. He is expected to be Cleveland's No. 2 starter.Indians manager Manny Acta said Jimenez's secondary pitches were possibly the best he's thrown this spring."It's a big relief for me," Acta said. "I wanted to see some improvement. He looks very relaxed, at times too relaxed. He says he doesn't always pitch well in spring training. He has assured us the velocity will be there. We have to trust him."
Brent Morel and Alejandro De Aza hit their first home runs of the spring for the White Sox, both two-run shots. Paul Konerko added two doubles.Zach Stewart, a candidate for the Chicago bullpen, allowed a run and three hits in 5 1-3 innings."Whatever role or job they decide for me and want me to pursue, that's fine," Stewart said. "My main goal is just getting there (in the majors)."Before the game, the White Sox sent six players to their minor league camp, boosting the chances of infielders Eduardo Escobar or Ray Olmedo winning the final bench spot.Escobar, a switch-hitter, started at shortstop and went 0 for 4. He is batting .421 this spring. Olmedo started at second base, went 2 for 4 and is hitting .450.Escobar is on the 40-man roster while Olmedo is a non-roster invite."I've been working very hard and will continue to do that. I think that being here as long as I have, making the cut, shows the hard work that I've been doing."Escobar made his major league debut Sept. 3 and hit .286 in nine games."You could say that I'm a natural shortstop, but by the same token, the more reps and practices I get at the different positions, the more comfortable I feel," he said. "Also, it gives me the opportunity to highlight what I can do."Olmedo has hit .228 in 198 major league games.NOTES: White Sox closer candidate Jesse Crain (oblique) allowed an unearned run two innings in a minor league game, his first action since March 12. Crain said he's on target to be ready for the regular season. "I believe I'll have at least three more actual games," he said. "By then, I'll get locked in." ... White Sox starter Jake Peavy allowed five runs and 12 hits in seven innings in the minor league game. He struck out seven and walked one. ... The Indians' Michael Brantley went 1 for 2 in his first game after missing a week with a tight right hamstring.

White Sox to make Guaranteed Rate Field first stadium with protective netting that reaches foul poles

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USA Today

White Sox to make Guaranteed Rate Field first stadium with protective netting that reaches foul poles

In today's episode of Extremely Easy Decisions, the White Sox have made perhaps one of the easiest: 

According to at least one reporter, the decision has been in the works for a couple months now, even pre-dating the Cubs-Astros incident from last month: 

It'll be the first MLB stadium that has protective netting that stretches out all the way to both foul poles, so kudos to the White Sox for not waiting around any longer. An easy decision, made easily! Turns out it's just that simple after all. 

White Sox officially promote Zack Collins to major league team as Welington Castillo goes on IL

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USA TODAY

White Sox officially promote Zack Collins to major league team as Welington Castillo goes on IL

Zack Collins is a big leaguer.

Multiple reports indicated that Collins would be promoted ahead of Tuesday's Crosstown game against the Cubs, and that's exactly what the White Sox did, announcing the move Tuesday morning.

Additionally, the team placed Welington Castillo on the injured list with a strained left oblique. He left Sunday afternoon's game against the New York Yankees with what the team announced as lower back tightness.

While Rick Renteria has yet to speak on the matter, the catching situation figures to be not too dissimilar from what it's been, with James McCann getting the bulk of the playing time while appearing as the designated hitter on days when he doesn't catch. Collins will likely take over Castillo's catching duties and also see time as the DH.

Collins' arrival marks another step forward in Rick Hahn's rebuilding project. The 2016 first-round pick is ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the White Sox loaded farm system. Praised for his offensive abilities, Collins finished the 2018 season with a .382 on-base percentage and launched 15 homers at Double-A Birmingham. This season, he posted a .250/.374/.482 slash line with nine homers, nine doubles, 39 RBIs and 36 walks in 50 games at Triple-A Charlotte.

Adding another future piece to the mix at the major league level only makes the opening of the contention window in 2020 look more realistic, as Collins will join Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Tim Anderson and, eventually, Dylan Cease with a sizable amount of major league experience heading into that campaign.

Collins' promotion doesn't figure to be a temporary one that comes to an end once Castillo is healthy. Hahn and Renteria have spoken on multiple occasions about how they don't want to call these top prospects up and have to send them back down. It's happened before, of course, most recently with Carson Fulmer, the White Sox top pick in the draft before they selected Collins. But it's a road they'd rather not go down and an explanation they've given for keeping highly rated prospects such as Jimenez and Michael Kopech in the minors as long as they did.

There are questions about Collins' game, mostly on the defensive side of things. But the White Sox feel he's ready for his first taste of the major leagues, adding another piece of the rebuilding puzzle to the big league squad.

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