White Sox

Jeff Samardzija: Trayce Thompson needs to be in the lineup

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Jeff Samardzija: Trayce Thompson needs to be in the lineup

Trayce Thompson got his strongest endorsement to date on Tuesday night from Jeff Samardzija after he made another catch bound to end up on highlight reels.

Thompson continues to make a strong case for playing time next season when he ended the seventh inning of a 4-2 White Sox victory with an all-out, diving grab in left-center field. Afterward, Samardzija, the benefactor from the game-saving catch, said he thinks Thompson’s glove is so good he deserves considerable playing time next season.

“That guy needs to be in the lineup,” Samardzija said. “I think he's proven here in the last few weeks that he's going to be there and be there for awhile. Dude can hit .050 for all I care. If you put that glove out there in the field, he's going to make plays for you, a lot like that (Lorenzo) Cain guy they have out there in their center field. So, he's got to play.”

[MORE: Jeff Samardzija bests Royals in potential last start for White Sox]

Samardzija said he nearly “blew out giving a fist pump” when Thompson dove and, arm fully stretched, robbed Ben Zobrist of extra bases. The White Sox led 3-2 at the time and Kansas City had the speedy Alcides Escobar on first base with two outs. Adam Eaton had the close-up view of the grab and was equally impressed.

“If that ball gets down or through it’s a tie ballgame,” Eaton said. “For him to do that in that situation it was awesome. Like I said, I don’t know if I’ve seen somebody go all out like he did; that was impressive.”

Thompson’s bat has done much of the talking so far. He has a .295/.357/.552 slash line with five home runs and 15 RBIs in 39 games this season and had another homer robbed by Lorenzo Cain in the second inning.

But he’s known more for his glove and natural ability in the outfield. No matter which field he plays in, Thompson has looked outstanding and is the best defender the team has.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

The rookie enjoyed his part in the play and described Samardzija as “happy.”

“All these pitchers have been great to me soit’s nice to help them out,” Thompson said. “Seeing them get pumped up after a catch like that is the most gratifying for me. It was a lot of fun.”

Samardzija described the effort as unbelievable and one of the coolest he has seen in a while because of the ground Thompson covered and the diving effort. He hopes to see a lot more of it next season.

“He's a heck of a player and you want to see guys want to make those plays,” Samardzija said. “You've got to want to be in the top 10 (plays) every night, and that's what it's all about. And he has that.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.