White Sox

Jake Petricka could be back in White Sox bullpen mix by Monday

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Jake Petricka could be back in White Sox bullpen mix by Monday

DETROIT -- The White Sox won’t hold Jake Petricka back when he’s ready to rejoin the club, which could happen as soon as Monday.

The relief pitcher is already set for a second rehab appearance on Saturday after he came out his first game in good shape, manager Robin Ventura said on Friday morning.

Ventura said Petricka, who finished last season with a 2.96 ERA and saves in 14 of 18 tries, would instantly become a trusted option in his bullpen.

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“He’s a good right-handed, ground-ball guy,” Ventura said. “He spent some time as the closer and I think last year was a good learning curve for him to be able to get back and hopefully get another (guy) in there that is a quality arm.”

Petricka tossed one inning for Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday nigh, throwing strikes on 11 of 16 pitches. His performance comes on the heels of a 25-pitch simulated game in Glendale, Ariz. earlier in the week.

The addition of Petricka would appear to further strengthen the back end of a bullpen already bolstered by the offseason additions of David Robertson, Zach Duke and Dan Jennings. With Zach Putnam struggling early -- though he threw a scoreless inning on Wednesday -- the White Sox haven’t had as much consistency from the right side in bridging the gap to Robertson.

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Petricka did an admirable job when he and Putnam split closing duties the final three months of last season. After injuries to Nate Jones and Matt Lindstrom, the White Sox were in salvage-mode in the late innings. Ronald Belisario struggled mightily but Putnam and Petricka converted 20 of 25 opportunities for a team that blew 21 saves.

“He threw well and all things are a go at this point for him to throw (Saturday) and we’ll re-evaluate after we see that,” Ventura said. “You pitch him where you need to pitch him. That’s why he’s out there. He’s been through enough already that you’re able to put him in there. It’s not like we’re going to ask him to go three or four innings.”

-- Ventura announced Jose Quintana would start Sunday’s series finale against the Detroit Tigers. The White Sox could have brought back Hector Noesi, who had his turn skipped with two days off this week.

-- Adam LaRoche is the starting designated hitter on Friday but should get a game at first base this weekend, Ventura said.

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-- Geovany Soto is the starting catcher for a second straight time with Jeff Samardzija. Ventura said he likes their previous work history. “He has a good feel for him and there’s a familiarity there so I like that,” Ventura said.

-- The White Sox don’t intend to call up Carlos Rodon just because the Cubs have promoted Kris Bryant. Rodon allowed three earned runs over five innings for Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday.

“I’m not going to sit here and (say) just because somebody else does something we have to do something,” Ventura said. “Until you get a report and you have a need, we’re playing in Detroit today.”

Tim Anderson reacts to the death of Kobe Bryant

Tim Anderson reacts to the death of Kobe Bryant

People from the world of sports and beyond continue to react to the death of Kobe Bryant.

Before he became a baseball player, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson played basketball while growing up and was, like many other basketball fans across the world, a fan of Bryant's.

Now a professional athlete himself, he reacted to the news and reflected on Bryant's impact on his life and the lives of others.

"Kobe Bryant is definitely one of the greatest basketball players to play. You hate to see something happen like that. Prayers to his family," Anderson told NBC Sports Chicago's Chuck Garfien on Monday. "It hits home. It's his kids, his family. His daughter was with him. You hate to see something like that happen. I'm praying for his family. I have girls of my own, so it definitely hits different when it's someone like that.

"Kobe Bryant's an icon and inspired so many kids and is still inspiring people in today's sports, even outside of basketball. So you hate to see something happen like that. The prayers are with him and his family, and I'm praying that they get through this."

Bryant's daughter, Gianna, was also among those killed in Sunday's helicopter crash. Anderson has two daughters of his own.

"It hits, like I said, (when you think about) his kids. You instantly think about his family and his kids," Anderson said. "Just knowing the guy that I am, I love my family to death, I love my kids. I couldn't imagine having to go through that. But I want to continue to uplift his family and continue to send prayers. I think everyone needs to gather around them in a moment like this and give all the support you can."

Anderson expanded on some of the ways he looked up to Bryant, the basketball player, as well as Bryant the person.

"He definitely was someone I looked up to," Anderson said. "His desire to win and the way he stepped on that court, and the way he played each game was definitely to win each game. So he definitely inspired me in that aspect.

"Every time you shoot a 3, you're going to say, 'Kobe!' I think that's automatic when you pick up that basketball, every person that shoots is like, 'I'm Kobe.' That's how he inspired African-American guys and not just African-Americans, kids all over the world.

"And even the things he did off the court, a real businessman and first class how he handled his things, just so professional the way he did it.

"He was all over TV, he was all over the place, all over magazines and stuff. His long career with the Lakers was definitely enjoyable to watch. I was such a huge fan. But you hate to see something like this happen to such a great guy and a great father and just a great person overall."

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High praise for Andrew Vaughn, including a Paul Konerko comp

High praise for Andrew Vaughn, including a Paul Konerko comp

Andrew Vaughn is getting a lot of love.

The White Sox first-round pick in last year's draft, Vaughn is a slugging first baseman who was downright sensational in his collegiate career at Cal. Now, he's one of the White Sox highest rated prospects and a guy who could soon be swinging his powerful bat on the South Side.

Just how highly do the White Sox think of him? Here's director of player development Chris Getz talking about Vaughn at SoxFest over the weekend:

"He's a very talented kid, and he's talented for a lot of different reasons," Getz said during a Saturday-afternoon seminar. "When you look at the physical ability, especially in the frame that he has, and what he's able to do to a baseball, it's pretty fun to watch.

"But when you sit down and talk to Andrew Vaughn about hitting, that is the most impressive thing. I sat down, and I just wanted to listen and learn from him. It's like talking to a 10-year vet. I say that because he knows exactly what he needs to do to have success. He has a very advanced approach, and I don't think he'll ever waver from it. He knows exactly what he needs to do on a daily basis to have success against a particular pitcher.

"So Andrew Vaughn's a good one. We're happy to have him."

The White Sox are obviously biased, but the love for Vaughn doesn't stop once you get outside the organization. MLB Pipeline unveiled its list of the top 100 prospects in baseball Saturday, and Vaughn ranked No. 16 in the game, ahead of fellow White Sox youngsters Michael Kopech and Nick Madrigal.

And this ought to get White Sox fans salivating even more. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo was asked on Twitter to compare Vaughn to a major leaguer. Mayo came up with one of the best hitters in White Sox history.

So the obvious question is now when we'll see Vaughn swinging in the big leagues. He's obviously a year behind his fellow first-rounder, Madrigal, who is expected to reach the majors in the early portions of the 2020 season. But Vaughn might not be very far behind. He only played 29 games at Class A Winston-Salem last season, and in his first full season as a pro, it wouldn't be surprising to see him start at Winston-Salem again. That's speculation, but it would make sense considering it's where Madrigal and Luis Robert started in 2019 and both ended up playing at three levels. Because of the way those two flew through the system, it would not be surprising to see Vaughn reach Triple-A in 2020, as Mayo said. All would have to go as well as things went for Madrigal and Robert, of course, but given the rave reviews of Vaughn's talent, that shouldn't be out of the question.

While the White Sox have exhibited plenty of patience with their prospects in recent years, they could also be looking at a new situation: being in a pennant race in September. If that's the case, and the lineup could use a little oomph, would they consider bringing Vaughn up in order to help them reach the postseason for the first time in more than a decade? That was a much easier question to answer when no playoff spots were on the line. Now, maybe things could be different.

An interesting element to all this is what kind of room there will be for Vaughn. Jose Abreu isn't going anywhere for the next three seasons, at least. However, the team gave itself some flexibility at the DH spot, with Edwin Encarnacion only on a one-year deal. That contract has an option for the 2021 season, but if Vaughn proves himself ready, the White Sox could move on from Encarnacion after just one year and open up an everyday spot for the young slugger.

Until then, we'll just have to rely on more rave reviews like the ones from Getz and Mayo. And if the guy turns into the second coming of Konerko, well, that will fly go over rather nicely on the South Side.

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