White Sox

Facing Cubs for first time, Rick Renteria happy with White Sox

Facing Cubs for first time, Rick Renteria happy with White Sox

MESA, Ariz. -- If there's any lingering awkwardness from how his stint as Cubs manager ended, Rick Renteria has done well to keep it buried for several months now.

The White Sox manager reiterated on Monday afternoon how comfortable and content he is in his new position. Renteria also brushed off the idea it'd be weird to see his former players and face his old team for the first time since they dismissed him after the 2014 season and installed Joe Maddon as manager. The White Sox and Cubs ended in a 4-4 tie after nine innings at Sloan Park.

"I'm in a great place," Renteria said. "Baseball does what it does and I think we all have to take account of ourselves. We keep perspective and we try to find some balance. There are worse things that have happened to people and always in the initial you feel a sense of a little blow. But you put it in perspective and you realize things keep moving forward and here I am now with the Chicago White Sox. Things happen."

Almost always upbeat, Renteria said last week he has never been one to allow himself to be consumed by his own misfortune. Still, it couldn't have been easy to be removed after only one season in the big leagues in favor of Maddon, who in his second year led the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years. Renteria returned to Chicago last season to take over as the White Sox bench coach and insisted he had moved on. He and Maddon -- who share a mutual friend in Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black -- have since talked briefly several times.

"Listen, he's awesome," Maddon said. "There's nothing there. He's fine. We're fine. I think he's a wonderful man. Love to have a beer with him sometime if we can hook up in Chicago if the schedule's being proper. But there's nothing."

Back in October, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer acknowledged the team wasn't "entirely fair" to Renteria. Hoyer made it clear he wished his former manager well and thought Renteria did a good job managing the Cubs. Theo Epstein said Monday he thinks Renteria would fit in well with the rebuilding White Sox.

"It seems like he's got a lot of talented young players to work with over there," Epstein said. "His energy and his personality will be real assets and will help develop those kids and will keep them positive, keep it moving forward."

Monday's Cubs starting lineup featured only one player who was part of Renteria's team -- Anthony Rizzo. Renteria said he would say hello to any former players he came across and said his situation isn't strange -- "It's just baseball," he said. "I'm just on the other side of town now."

Renteria said the season he spent on Robin Ventura's bench gave him an advantage in knowing the players in his clubhouse. Although he can see "some irony" in his second managerial position coming in the same town as his first, Renteria feels good about where he landed.

"It's all good," Renteria said. "I'm happy. I'm really happy to be here. I'm happy to be in the situation we're in. The organization is taking the step that is hopefully leading us as many organizations have done over the last six or seven years, trying to create something more sustainable over time. The foundation is being laid both with the players and the way they're going about doing everything. So hopefully it will be something good for us."

Who knew? Stat nuggets from the White Sox pre-All-Star break season

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USA TODAY

Who knew? Stat nuggets from the White Sox pre-All-Star break season

It’s the All-Star Break, so why not take a look back at the first 58.6% of the White Sox season.

 

They may not be contending quite yet, but there have been several interesting moments. 

 

Focusing on the hitters, let’s take a look at ten amazing achievements this season.  And while there may be several to list for some players, I’m going to limit it to one fact per player.  Let’s go.

 

  • On March 29 (Opening Day), Matt Davidson became the 1st player in MLB history to hit 3 Home Runs in a game in March.
  • On April 23, Yoán Moncada (22 years, 331 days) became the youngest player in White Sox history with a double, triple & HR in the same game, passing Tito Francona (24 years, 205 days) on 5/28/1958.
  • Daniel Palka recorded a triple on May 22nd, making him the first player in White Sox history with 3 triples & 3 HR within his first 20 career MLB games.
  • On July 3, Palka (LF) & Avisaíl García (RF) became the second pair of White Sox outfielders to each hit 2 HR in the same game; the other pair? Minnie Miñoso (LF) and Larry Doby (CF) on July 30, 1957.
  • On May 28, Matt Skole became the first player in White Sox history with a home run AND a walk in his MLB Debut.
  • The lone White Sox walkoff Home Run of 2018 was off the bat of a player who hit .116 for the Sox this season (Trayce Thompson on May 3 – he went 14 for 121 this season for the Southsiders).
  • The White Sox have started a game with backto-back home runs four times in franchise history. 9/2/1937, 7/4/2000, 9/2/2017 & 6/12/2018.  Each of the last 2 times, Yolmer Sánchez hit the second home run.
  • On June 23, Tim Anderson became the first White Sox shortstop ever to homer on his birthday.
  • On June 27, José Abreu hit his 136th career HR and passed Minnie Miñoso for most by a Cubanborn player in White Sox history.  He hit one more since.
  • Leury García managed to become the first White Sox player with at least 10 stolen bases (he has 10) without being caught before the AllStar Break since Mike Cameron (13 for 13) in 1997.

White Sox first-round pick Nick Madrigal was magical in his Kannapolis debut

White Sox first-round pick Nick Madrigal was magical in his Kannapolis debut

After getting just two hits with the Arizona League White Sox, a team for rookies, Nick Madrigal made a big splash in his Low-A debut with the Kannapolis Intimidators.

Madrigal went 3 for 4 with two singles, a double, a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored on Tuesday afternoon against the Hagerstown Suns.

It may only be one game, but the fourth overall pick by the White Sox in this year’s MLB draft looks ready to play. Madrigal was almost perfect on his first day, obtaining a .750 batting average with a 1.800 OPS. That’s a pretty promising performance for the infielder who can play shortstop and second base.

Even though the 21-year-old hasn’t even struck out in the minors yet, he wasn’t quite as successful in the Arizona League. In five games and 13 at-bats, Madrigal achieved only a .154 batting average with two runs scored and one RBI. But he’s making up for those numbers.

So far with the White Sox organization, the Oregon State product isn’t walking at a shocking rate. He’s not striking out at all, either. Madrigal proved he’s an efficient contact hitter in college where he only struck out seven times in 2018. At the same time, he only hit three home runs, but he can have sneaky power at times.

Standing at 5-foot-7, 161 pounds, Madrigal was a force to be reckoned throughout his time in the Pac-12 Conference. Last season in college, he impressed many major-league scouts with a .367/.428/.511 slash line and 34 RBIs. He missed time with a hairline fracture in his hand after sliding into home plate back in February, but his strong junior year comeback performance helped make him a 2018 first-round pick.

He was just as good in his first two seasons with OSU. As a freshman in 2016, Madrigal had a .333/.380/.456 slash line with 29 RBIs in 49 games played. In his 2017 sophomore season, the talented hitter played in 60 games, tallied 40 RBIs and attained a .380/.449/.532 slash line with four homers, making it his most powerful season.

In three seasons playing Division 1 baseball, Madrigal also stole a combined 37 bases. He capped off his NCAA career with a College World Series title back in late June. His past production influenced White Sox director of scouting Nick Hostetler in the draft.

“Nick is recognized as one of the best hitters in college baseball, and we’re excited to add him to the organization," Hostetler said. "He possesses tremendous baseball skills, character and makeup…”

Madrigal will try to prove his critics right. Oregon State head coach Pat Casey thinks the young infielder could quickly work his way up to the majors.

“He'll be in the big leagues in 1 1/2 or 2 years,” Casey said. “I get it, you've got to develop. But put him in a big league uniform, and he can play.”