White Sox

Hahn doesn't foresee lineup upgrade on the horizon

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Hahn doesn't foresee lineup upgrade on the horizon

After finalizing the signing of reliever Matt Lindstrom on Friday, the White Sox may be done making significant moves for the offseason.

That doesn't mean the team isn't looking to make another move. Instead, it means they may not be anticipating one.

RELATED: White Sox think Lindstrom is a perfect fit

Adding a left-handed bat to the middle of the team's lineup has been cast as a "need" since A.J. Pierzynski officially signed elsewhere, but it's a move general manager Rick Hahn won't make just for the sake of adding a left-handed bat.

"We are still actively looking for something that provides us with an upgrade," Hahn explained. "But we are not going to make the move for a left-handed bat simply because its a left-handed bat."

One name that's been connected with the White Sox in offseason trade rumors has been Arizona's Jason Kubel. The free agent cupboard is fairly bare at this point in late January, with none of the available options -- for instance, ex-Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner -- looking like a fit.

Only 10 free agent outfielders remain on the market, and of those, six bat left-handed. But Michael Bourn is likely too expensive, both from a draft pick and money standpoint, and wouldn't fit a middle-of-the-order need anyways. The same goes for Bobby Abreu and Johnny Damon, the latter of whom may be on his way to retirement anyways. Former Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore won't be healthy until the middle of the season, when he reportedly plans on signing with a team.

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That leaves ex-Sox Scott Podsednik and Ryan Sweeney on the market, neither of whom fit the bill, either.

"Based on the pool that is available right now, we dont see that upgrade there," Hahn said. "You look at whats happening thus far this offseason and you have not seen a lot of premium left-handed bats, perhaps with the exception of Josh Hamilton, change teams. We certainly had a number of conversations about it. But again we are not going to force the fit just to make the move."

Still, with Detroit featuring a menacing rotation stocked with right-handers, plenty have warmed up to the idea of adding a left-hander. Hahn, though, was quick to offer a reminder that the White Sox don't actually play the Tigers until July, when the need for a left-handed bat may be more clear.

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"For me, the season needs to start, then we'll go and see what happens," manager Robin Ventura added.

The White Sox expect Dayan Viciedo to hit better than he did in 2012, in which he hit .255.300.444 with 25 home runs. But Viciedo had just a .650 OPS against right-handers and struck out 103 times in 410 plate appearances -- if that production remains stagnant, left field may be where the White Sox look to improve.

Those improvements could come internally, though, with Dewayne Wise or Jordan Danks siphoning off some playing time. For now, though, Hahn says talks remain "preliminary" about adding a left-handed bat, and Ventura didn't sound too concerned with the righty-heavy state of his lineup.

"It's nice," Ventura said of potentially adding a lefty. "But it's not mandatory by any means."

Welington Castillo on board with the reasoning behind his Monday benching and the identity Rick Renteria is trying to establish

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AP

Welington Castillo on board with the reasoning behind his Monday benching and the identity Rick Renteria is trying to establish

And that’s why you always run hard to first base.

Rick Renteria didn’t use a one-armed man to teach his team a lesson Monday night, but he used a relatively extreme measure, benching one of his few veteran players to send a message that lack of hustle won’t be tolerated on this rebuilding White Sox team.

In fact, it won’t be tolerated anywhere in this rebuilding White Sox organization.

That’s the hope, at least.

Welington Castillo stood at home plate while his popup fell into the first baseman’s glove during the sixth inning of Monday night’s loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles, and because of it he didn’t go back out with his teammates for the seventh inning. It was the latest in-game benching by Renteria for a similar offense. Avisail Garcia was sat down during spring training, and Leury Garcia at the end of the team’s previous homestand.

This kind of reoccurring strategy might seem a tad strange, a manager enforcing hustle regulations to pro players during a season in which his team entered play Tuesday with baseball’s worst record. But part of rebuilding and development is establishing a cultural identity, and Castillo seemed on board with Renteria’s strategy, as well as the end goal of these punishments.

“That’s something that he always says, that’s something that he’s not going to let pass,” Castillo said Tuesday. “He always says you’ve got to run the bases hard no matter what. And for some reason, I was just frustrated, I wanted to get the job done. I saw the ball was going to be fair, and for some reason I did not run. I think that the decision that he made was the right decision. That’s not me, and I’m not going to do it again.”

Castillo was brought in this past offseason to provide some veteran experience to what is otherwise a very young squad of South Siders. Coming off career years both offensively and defensively, Castillo seemed to be an addition that would benefit this club in the short and long term. He could be here all the way through the 2020 season, when the White Sox could see their talented minor leaguers arrive and open the organization’s contention window.

And therein lies the importance of what Renteria did Monday. Castillo would figure to be veteran enough to be past such punishments. But if he buys in to Renteria’s style and passes it along to the young guys when they come up, then Renteria will have achieved what he wanted: for this to be the standard of the present and the future.

“The same rule that is for the young guys is for the veteran guys, too,” Castillo said. “We are a team, we are a family. One thing is for me, and the same thing has to be for everybody because we are a family, we are a team. Sometimes that’s good that that happens, and we’ve just got to learn from that.”

“We’re trying to eliminate habits if they’re there. Accidents you understand, but we’re trying to continue to create the identity of the White Sox organization as to how we’re going to go about doing things,” Renteria said. “They accept it, they understand it, and when we take an action I think for the most part they are accountable to what goes on.”

Daily White Sox prospects update: Eloy Jimenez homers, Seby Zavala goes to the DL

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Daily White Sox prospects update: Eloy Jimenez homers, Seby Zavala goes to the DL

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Double-A Birmingham

Eloy Jimenez hit his eighth home run of the season in a 7-3 loss. Zack Collins and Matt Rose each had a hit, a walk and a run scored. Ian Clarkin gave up five runs and walked five in his five innings. Seby Zavala, who leads the Southern League with 10 homers, went on the disabled list with a wrist injury.

Triple-A Charlotte

Jordan Stephens had a good second outing at the Triple-A level, allowing just one earned run in his 6.1 innings. He allowed five hits and walked two, striking out four batters. In his two starts with Charlotte, he's got a 2.19 ERA with three earned runs allowed in 12.1 innings. Charlie Tilson doubled in the 12-6 win. Thyago Vieira gave up two runs in his lone inning of work, and his ERA stands at 5.85 on the season.

Class A Winston-Salem

The bats seem to have gone a tad cold for the Dash, who suffered a 4-1 loss. The top five hitters in the lineup — Joel Booker, Alex Call, Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo and Gavin Sheets — combined to go 2-for-18.

Class A Kannapolis

Lincoln Henzman gave up four earned runs in five innings, allowing a pair of home runs. Luis Gonzalez and Evan Skoug each had a hit in a 5-3 loss.