White Sox

First Sox drops include a surprise in Leesman

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First Sox drops include a surprise in Leesman

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Posted: 12:05 p.m. Updated: 3:50 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The Chicago White Sox announced their first seven roster cuts of the spring, headlined by aspiring spot starters Lucas Harrell and Charlie Leesman.

Harrell and pitcher Jhonny Nunez were sent to AAA Charlotte, while Leesman, outfielder Brandon Short, catchers Josh Phegley and Jared Price, and pitcher Kyle Bellamy were reassigned to minor-league camp.

Harrell, coming into camp considered the front-runner for the No. 5 spot in the rotation had Jake Peavy proven unable to break camp with the big club, had a mostly disastrous spring. His first appearance was a scoreless inning of relief, during which he made a diving, linebacker assist of a spinning tapper toward first, but his Cactus League was disappointing from there. His spring numbers included a team-worst 20.25 ERA (six earned runs in 2 23 innings), nine hits, and two home runs.

He should be disappointed in himself, Guillen said. We gave him the opportunity. We gave him everything. The first meeting I had, I told him wed give him a chance. What we saw is not what were looking for. Youve got to go out there and throw strikes.

Bellamy was also among the springs biggest disappointments, recording a 9.00 ERA in two games, with two strikeoutstwo walks and a wild pitch.

The remaining cuts saw little action this spring. Nunez pitched to just one batter, striking him out (he did allow two hits and punched out three batters in two innings of B-Game action vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 3). Phegley was 0-4 with two Ks, Price was 1-2 in two games, and Short was 2-6 with three Ks in five games. He made his Cactus League debut in fine fashion, with a diving catch in left field late in the opener vs. the Dodgers.

Leesman also saw little action this Cactus League, pitching just two innings, allowing one hit and three walks against two Ks. The young lefty notched a 0.00 ERA but also had a wild pitch. White Sox brass shine sunny on Leesman, but his struggle with breaking-pitch command was made evident in a number of bullpen sessions prior to game action.

White Sox manager on Monday had implied the window was wide open for any player fighting for a roster spot, as no one had distinguished themselves in battles for the teams 12th pitcher spot and final bench seat.

I dont see anybody stepping up into last bullpen or bench spots, Guillen said. Thats not too bright. Were going to give guys a chance to make the team. At the end of the day, they will make the team for you or they will cut their own throats.

Guillen, known as ruthlessly efficient when it comes to his spring work, said on Wednesday that he wasnt in the business of sending out false signals or hopes to young players.

Nobody will be sent down, at least if youre a kid, until we have to send you down, he said. Were going to give you a shot. Were not going to send you down just because. I dont think we should waste anybodys time here. I dont think we should go home and make this guy hope for an opportunity: Oh, Im in the mix. The way were going to do it this year, the way GM Kenny Williams wants to do it is move quicker and try to put this roster together as quick as we can.

Chicago is now down to 46 players in camp, including 24 pitchers, four catchers, 11 infielders and seven outfielders.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

Reported promotion of Zack Collins adds another piece to White Sox rebuilding puzzle

Reported promotion of Zack Collins adds another piece to White Sox rebuilding puzzle

The White Sox rebuilding puzzle is getting closer to completion.

Zack Collins is reportedly en route to the major leagues, according to a report from Miami talk-show host Andy Slater. That adds another one of the White Sox highly rated prospects to the growing list of them at the big league level as the franchise’s contention window looks set to open relatively soon.


Collins was the team’s first-round draft pick in 2016, selected with the No. 10 pick that year out of the University of Miami. Currently ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the farm system, he’s always been praised for his offensive abilities. Last season at Double-A Birmingham, he finished the year with a .382 on-base percentage and launched 15 homers, also winning the Home Run Derby at the Southern League All-Star Game.

In 48 games with Triple-A Charlotte this season, Collins owns a .258/.382/.497 slash line with nine homers, nine doubles, 38 RBIs and 35 walks.

Collins has been lauded as a big bat, but there have been questions about other parts of his game as he’s risen through the system. From the day he was drafted, there were questions about his defensive ability, leading to speculation that he might one day end up at a position besides catcher. He’s also racked up the strikeouts in the minors, with 396 of them in 322 games over his four minor league seasons.

But the White Sox haven’t wavered in their confidence that Collins can be a big league catcher, and it looks like that’s the position he’ll fill should the White Sox call him up before the start of next week’s Crosstown series with the Cubs. Welington Castillo was removed from Sunday’s loss to the New York Yankees with back tightness. The team said Castillo will be reevaluated on Monday. With this report of Collins’ promotion, it looks like Castillo could be headed to the injured list.

Another top prospect reaching the majors adds another tangible example of rebuilding progress. Fans have been clamoring for the promotions of Dylan Cease and Luis Robert all season long, and while Collins might be a little further down in the rankings than those two, this should still please fans who, even in a season filled with positives, want to see a more rapid advancement toward the rebuild’s ultimate goal.

Collins will perhaps benefit from a lack of pressure, what with James McCann in the midst of a potentially All-Star season as the White Sox primary catcher. The White Sox could perhaps continue to lean on McCann, allowing Collins to ease into the major leagues.

But just like Michael Kopech last August and Eloy Jimenez in March, Collins’ mere arrival is a step forward in this process, one that should please fans immensely.

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Yoan Moncada continues battle with back issues

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USA TODAY

Yoan Moncada continues battle with back issues

Yoan Moncada's battle with his back issues might not be as over as we thought.

The third baseman made his return to the White Sox starting lineup Sunday following a four-game layoff due to a mild back strain. But his return didn't last long. After a fourth-inning strikeout in his second plate appearance of the 10-3 loss to the visiting New York Yankees, Moncada was removed from the game with what the team announced as upper back tightness.

Moncada is described as day to day. The White Sox have an off day Monday ahead of the start of a two-game Crosstown series at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.

"He's doing good. I think I'm not the only one who noticed his grimace in the swing. It made no sense to continue to expose him to that," manager Rick Renteria said after Sunday's game. "All indications are he should be ready to go on Tuesday.

"Didn't seem to put him in any predicament. Hopefully it didn't set him back. All indications are that hopefully he'll be back on Tuesday."

Moncada was removed from Monday's game against the Washington Nationals with what was initially described as back spasms. Renteria updated the verbiage to a back strain in the following days. Moncada missed Tuesday's game against the Nationals, went through a Wednesday off day and then missed the first three games of the four-game weekend set with the Yankees. His return lasted all of four innings Sunday before he was taken out again.

"Just watching the swing, watching the finish, which is what I was concerned with, getting through the ball. He's ready to get through the ball, it's just the finish. He's feeling a little something there," Renteria said. "You can't replicate it in any drill work. We've tried to do it. Everything he did was good. All the work he did was good.

"Everything we tried to do to replicate it, it wasn't existent until you get into the game, then you know. That's why I think it was a good — I don't know if you want to call it a test, but it was a test. We wanted to see where he was at. Didn't make any sense to continue to push him. Get him ready and calm it down and get him ready for the series against the North Siders."

Moncada wasn't the only White Sox hitter removed from Sunday's game. Welington Castillo, who was the designated hitter, was taken out with what the team announced as lower back tightness. Renteria confirmed after the game that Castillo's injury came on his swing in the second inning, a line drive off the center-field wall that ended up as only a single. Castillo will be reevaluated during the off day Monday.

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