White Sox

Jacob Turner gets crack at trusted spot in White Sox bullpen

Jacob Turner gets crack at trusted spot in White Sox bullpen

KANSAS CITY -- Jacob Turner found himself in an unfamiliar yet desirable position when he started the 10th inning for the White Sox on Tuesday night.

Don’t be surprised if you see him or Dan Jennings in similar trusted spots once again.

With the back of the bullpen short on experience beyond David Robertson, Nate Jones and Matt Albers, White Sox manager Robin Ventura knows he’ll have to turn to several new faces in key spots. Ventura mentioned that Turner, who started the 10th inning of Tuesday’s 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals, would be one of the first.

“You’re going to take some chances with some guys and move them around,” Ventura said. “Turner is the guy that’s really kind of pushed himself out there to be used in some high-leverage situations. We know where Nate is going to be and Robby is to be, but you can kind of mix and match there with Turner and Jennings in the seventh.”

Turner’s stuff has quickly moved him up the bullpen food chain. His four-seam fastball has averaged just under 95 mph and his sinker has exceeded 95 this season. As a reliever, Turner has also done a better job attacking hitters, albeit in a limited sample size. But in 23 1/3 career innings in relief, Turner has walked three batters compared with 111 bases on balls in 286 innings as a starter.

So for now, Turner will get a chance.

“There’s not much experience,” Ventura said. “But you’re starting to see his stuff really magnified by being able to go out there for an inning. There’s a little more velocity to it. It’s sharper stuff, and for the hitters, they don’t get a whole trip through the lineup to sit there and look at it and time it and get a good idea of what he’s got that day. For him, I think it’s beneficial for him to go out there and do it.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

Turner, who missed all of last season with right shoulder inflammation, is thrilled to have the opportunity. He said he labored to improve his arm strength in the offseason and feels he can handle the workload. And he isn’t worried about his role, whether he’s a starter or pitching out of the bullpen.

He just wants a chance.

Tuesday he received one. While he gave up a double and allowed an unearned run, Turner recorded two outs before he gave way to Jennings. Jennings recorded his first career save by retiring Eric Hosmer.

“Those are the situations you want to be in, close game, winning, chance to finish off the game,” Turner said. “Those are the situations anybody in the bullpen wants to be in bullpen. I have a little experience …

“Just trying to develop a routine. I’ve been enjoying it and trying to take the success I’ve had out there.”

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


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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