White Sox

Jose Quintana, bullpen lead White Sox to third straight win

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Jose Quintana, bullpen lead White Sox to third straight win

CLEVELAND -- The offspeed stuff wasn’t there and his pitch count soared but Jose Quintana had run support and a hot bullpen at his manager’s disposal.

The starting pitcher and catcher Tyler Flowers quickly changed strategies and did enough to pass the baton as the White Sox downed the Cleveland Indians 4-1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night. Jose Abreu homered and the trio of Dan Jennings, Zach Duke and David Robertson struck out eight in three innings as the White Sox earned their third straight victory.

“Q was erratic,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It wasn’t really the control that you’d like to see. But he battled.

“He’s a strong kid, he battles and at least gets you to the point where you can get the bullpen in there. He bobbed and weaved as well as he could.”

Quintana said the cool, crisp air gave him trouble as he couldn’t grip the ball how he would have liked. More than a handful of times, Quintana appeared to lick his left hand to get a better feel.

While he had no trouble throwing his fastball, Quintana struggled to locate his curve, only throwing it for eight strikes in 24 tries.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“I feel uncomfortable with my hands,” Quintana said. “I try to fight every inning and keep the game close and get the win.

“A little bit dry. I feel a little bit dry, but this is the first month of the year. It’s a little bit cold. No matter what happens you try to do your job good.”

Poor offspeed command — he went to seven three-ball counts in 23 batters — and a Conor Gillaspie error didn’t help matters. Gillaspie’s third-inning miscue meant Quintana needed to throw 11 extra pitches to get out of the frame. Quintana had thrown 63 pitches through three innings.

That’s when he and Flowers switched plans and went with a more aggressive fastball-based approach. Following a two-out RBI double by Ryan Raburn in the fourth inning that cut the White Sox lead to 3-1, Quintana retired seven straight. He needed only eight pitches to retire the side in order in the fifth inning and set down Cleveland’s 3-4-5 hitters in the sixth.

Of the 104 pitches thrown by Quintana — who allowed an unearned run and three hits with two walks and six strikeouts in six innings — 70 were fastballs.

“Really nice job with not all his weapons,” Flowers said. “That’s a sign of a very good pitcher and he’s always been more of a command guy, but he’s been a command guy with all of his pitches. When that happens you expect six, seven out of him and a run or less. Saying that, today was even more impressive just really relying on fastball command and the occasional wrinkle in there.”

[MORE: White Sox rotation juggle could have top starters facing Tigers]

Quintana had plenty of help.

As Duke noted, the bullpen is “on a good roll.”

Jennings pitched around a two-out walk and an Alexei Ramirez two-base error to keep the lead at three runs in the seventh. Duke struck out the Indians’ 2-3-4 hitters in order in the eighth and Robertson did the same in the ninth.

The offense gave Quintana some early wiggle room with which to work.

Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera opened the game with consecutive singles off Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco, who was knocked out of the contest when he was struck by a liner off the latter’s bat. Cabrera’s line drive glanced off Carrasco’s glove and struck the pitcher on the jaw sending him to the ground immediately.

Carrasco didn’t move for several minutes before he was carted off the field. The Cleveland pitcher went to a local hospital where X-rays were negative and he showed no symptoms of a concussion or head injury and was being treated for a jaw contusion.

The White Sox took advantage of the situation as Adam LaRoche had an RBI groundout to make it 1-0 and Avisail Garcia’s two-out single off Zach McAllister gave them a two-run advantage.

Flowers made it 3-0 in the fourth with a two-out RBI single, one of two hits and Abreu regained the three-run lead with a 387-foot homer off Nick Hagadone in the fifth.

“I’m happy with this outing, and tomorrow I will prepare for my next start,” Quintana said. “I feel this is a new start for us.”

Rick Hahn 'intrigued' by offseason talks White Sox are involved in

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USA TODAY

Rick Hahn 'intrigued' by offseason talks White Sox are involved in

The baseball offseason is moving at a quicker pace than recent years and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is among those happy to see that.

Hahn and the White Sox contributed to that quick start to the offseason by signing Yasmani Grandal on Nov. 21. He said he prefers that in an interview with Bruce Levine and Matt Spiegel on 670 The Score on Saturday.

Hahn also gave an update on the team’s offseason.

“We still have work to do, but at the same time we’re obviously quite pleased to have added Yasmani Grandal, much to no one’s surprise bringing back Jose Abreu and we’re intrigued by some of the talks we have going on right now,” Hahn said. “Obviously you can’t convert on everything a point that was publicly driven home this past week, but at the same time we know that regardless of whether we convert on one specific target or not, there are still a lot of reasons to be excited based on the guys we currently have, much less what we may add in the coming weeks.”

The comment about being unable to convert on everything is surely a reference to Zack Wheeler signing with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Hahn didn’t give any hints as to what the White Sox are working on, but he did say he prefers the speed of this offseason.

“We’d certainly prefer to do things sooner rather than later,” Hahn said. “That’s generally true regardless of the time of year.”

If Hahn wants to get things done quickly, it would make sense that the winter meetings could be a time of White Sox activity. Hahn wasn’t biting on that.

“There’s nothing magical about getting a deal done Tuesday at the winter meetings,” Hahn said. “It creates a little more buzz perhaps and fulfills some expectations within the fanbase and the media.

“A guy is not going to have any less impact on your team if you acquire him Dec. 20 vs. Dec. 12.”

Hahn also gave updates on various current players on the team:

  • Yasmani Grandal has been studying up on White Sox pitchers and how he can help the young pitchers develop.

 

“This guy’s No. 1 goal and No. 1 priority is to make the pitchers better," Hahn said. "He’s texting me two, three times a week still with stuff he had seen on our guys and conversations he’s had with our guys about how he thinks we’re going to be able to get them better in the coming months.”

  • Hahn was asked if the White Sox would add another middle infielder to provide cover until Nick Madrigal comes up. He didn't rule it out, but cited Leury Garcia and Danny Mendick as capable of helping out. Hahn has previously said he expects Madrigal to be up for most of the 2020 season.
  • Nothing new here, but Hahn said Michael Kopech will enter spring training "without restriction" and will have "some innings management" throughout the season. Kopech missed 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery late in the 2018 season.
  • Carlos Rodon's timeline to return from Tommy John surgery hasn't changed. Hahn said they will re-evaluate him in April to see where he is after spring training. He is still tentatively expected to return in late July or early August.

 

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Are the White Sox about to sign Marcell Ozuna or not?

Are the White Sox about to sign Marcell Ozuna or not?

Depending on which report you choose to believe, the White Sox could be on the verge of filling the void in their outfield with one of the bigger names on this winter’s free-agent market.

Dominican reporter Frank Castillo tweeted Saturday that the White Sox will sign Marcell Ozuna, planning to announce the free-agent deal Monday.

Well, that was followed up by a report from The Score’s Bruce Levine, who said the White Sox are not about to sign Ozuna.

So there’s that.

The White Sox were connected to Ozuna earlier this offseason, as well as more recently, with MLB.com’s Jon Morosi writing last week that the team had interest in Japanese import Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, but were waiting to hear on the decisions of Ozuna and fellow free agent Nicholas Castellanos first.

Ozuna turned heads with his fantastic 2017 season for the Miami Marlins, when he slashed .312/.376/.548 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs. Since being dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals, Ozuna hit .263/.327/.452 with 52 homers and 177 RBIs in two seasons.

The White Sox have a pressing need in right field, making it little surprise that they’ve been tied to numerous options, including Ozuna, Castellanos and Joc Pederson. Ozuna, though, exclusively played left field in St. Louis. Were the White Sox to add him, would they insist he play right field? They’ve expressed little to no interest in moving Eloy Jimenez out of left field.

It’s rumor season, and there should be plenty more of them with the Winter Meetings starting Monday in San Diego. The White Sox are expected to continue the aggressive approach they’ve displayed already this winter with the signing of Yasmani Grandal and their reported high bid to Zack Wheeler, who took less money to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies.

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