White Sox

How Chris Sale's personality helped him blossom into one of the game's most dangerous pitchers

How Chris Sale's personality helped him blossom into one of the game's most dangerous pitchers

Ready to be shocked? (Not really)

The Boston Red Sox are enamored with Chris Sale. They couldn’t be happier with their end of the December blockbuster trade that brought elite-prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech to the White Sox.

Not only has the five-time All-Star been outstanding on the field, but the Red Sox have also quickly discovered what the White Sox long knew — Sale is as good of a teammate as he is a pitcher. Sale is set to pitch at Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday night for the first time since he was traded by the White Sox in an intriguing matchup against Jose Quintana. Whether it’s his new team or his old, players and managers on both sides have spent the past two days singing Sale’s praises.

“It’s more about the person — the true competitor that he is, the great teammate that he has shown (to be) since he has come into our uniform,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He’s about one thing and that’s about winning. We’re grateful he’s in our uniform, he’s off to a fantastic start for us and when I say about the teammate, he’s had an impact on Eddie Rodriguez and Rick Porcello. Chris has been everything and more than what we could have hoped.”

The White Sox aren’t surprised by this. They knew in order to jumpstart their rebuild they would have to make an impossibly difficult move and trade one of their stars. They knew there’d be nothing easy about trading Sale, who meant much more to them than just on the field.

In seven seasons, Sale went from rookie to budding star to being revered as a teammate.

Current White Sox players have spewed endless platitudes about Sale the past few days.

James Shields played with Sale only a few months and knew enough to describe the left-hander as one of his best teammates ever along with David Price. Jose Quintana said he misses Sale’s energy around the clubhouse while Nate Jones lauded Sale for standing up for what he believes in.

“He ingratiated himself with a lot of people,” manager Rick Renteria said. “There were a lot of positive things about Sale that I think everyone should remember. I think we do. He impacted us as an organization in an immense way. I was only here for a year [with him], so I wasn’t able to see the totality of his body of work and the many people he touched, but he touched a lot of people. I think the White Sox were better for having him.”

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Sale not only was a vocal leader, but he provided an example for other pitchers of what the combination of outstanding talent and strong work ethic can become. Pitching coach Don Cooper had a sense back in 2010 that Sale was progressing into “the baddest ass lefty in the league” after he shut down Joe Mauer. Cooper said no personnel move has surprised him since Mark Buehrle was allowed to leave via free agency. But that realization that baseball is a business doesn’t make the reality any easier for players or coaches.

“When you start to establish a relationship for a long time with somebody, you miss the everyday interaction, whatever we’re talking about, whether it’s baseball or something else,” Cooper said. “You miss that.”

They may miss it, but at least for Tuesday Sale is the opposition. So while White Sox players visited with Sale on Sunday night and Monday and are sure to see him on Wednesday, everyone is acting as if Tuesday is the same as any other game — except for the part where a friendly and familiar face is on the mound.

“That’s going to be the different part,” Jones said. “He’s going to have a different uniform, but since he’s got that on, he’s the enemy a little bit. That’s going to be different. But honestly we all wish him the best. Hope he does well. We’ll see how Tuesday goes.”

Eloy Jimenez returns to White Sox a little more than three weeks after spraining ankle

Eloy Jimenez returns to White Sox a little more than three weeks after spraining ankle

Things looked grim when Eloy Jimenez, the White Sox top-ranked prospect and a centerpiece of the South Side rebuilding plans, was down in pain on the warning track.

But a little more than three weeks later, Jimenez is back in the lineup, returned from his stay on the injured list for the start of a four-game series against the Houston Astros.

Jimenez made a leaping attempt to catch a home-run ball in the April 26 game against the Detroit Tigers. In the process, his foot got stuck in the padding of the left-field wall, and the 22-year-old suffered a high ankle sprain. He limped off the field and needed help getting into the dugout and clubhouse. Thoughts of "here we go again" flashed through a fan base that's watched top prospects suffer one significant injury after another in recent seasons.

The White Sox said Jimenez would be reevaluated in a couple weeks, while cursory Google searches revealed recovery times of more than a month for this type of injury.

But Jimenez seems to have healed quickly. He went on a minor league rehab assignment last week, playing in five games with Triple-A Charlotte before being deemed ready to return Monday.

This is phenomenal news for the White Sox and their fans, of course, who in the time Jimenez has been sidelined have seen another key piece go down with Carlos Rodon's Tommy John surgery. Jimenez hasn't got off to the rip-roaring start some predicted — he's slashed .241/.294/.380 with a trio of home runs in his first 21 major league games — but all playing time for the youngster is good playing time as he continues his development in his first big league season. Throw in Jimenez's four-game stay on the bereavement list prior to that game against Detroit, and he's had just one at-bat since April 21.

So maybe expect some rust, and manager Rick Renteria said Jimenez could perhaps be eased back with a game at DH here and there as he continues to work on improving his defense in left field.

Jimenez did go 7-for-22 (a .318 batting average) with a homer and a double in his rehab stint in Charlotte. Now he's back in the major league outfield, a good thing for everyone following along with this rebuild.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: What has James McCann meant to the White Sox? Everything

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: What has James McCann meant to the White Sox? Everything

Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber talk about James McCann's breakout season with the White Sox (1:15).

Then Chuck speaks with McCann about all the preparation he does for every game (9:20), why he'll never use a cheat sheet scouting report behind the plate like many catchers do (11:30) and what McCann has been badgering Lucas Giolito about since spring training (14:30).

Plus, why Evan Marshall and Aaron Bummer have been so successful out of the bullpen (16:30), why McCann acts as a karaoke host on the team bus (17:40) and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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