White Sox

As long as he’s ready, White Sox will welcome Justin Morneau ASAP

As long as he’s ready, White Sox will welcome Justin Morneau ASAP

With Triple-A Charlotte entering its own All-Star break this week, White Sox first baseman/designated hitter Justin Morneau will continue his rehab assignment with Double-A Birmingham beginning Monday. 

The goal for Morneau, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list after signing a one-year, $1 million deal June 9, has always been to make his 2016 debut sometime after the All-Star break. The White Sox begin the second half Friday in California against the Los Angeles Angels. 

“I think for him it’s always going to be about his pace and what he feels like he can handle and where he’s at,” manager Robin Ventura said. “I think we’re at a point where you’d welcome it as soon as you can get him as long as he’s comfortable and feels like he’s ready. That’s going to be the biggest thing, and we’re going to have to be patient with that, for him, knowing when’s the right time to give a thumbs up.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Morneau has 19 plate appearances over six games during his minor league rehab assignment, with two hits (a single and triple), one walk and four strikeouts. The 35-year-old said last week he’s not concerned with the results of his at-bats as he tries to get his timing back. 

The 2006 American League MVP posted an .860 and .821 OPS in 2014 and 2015, respectively, with the Colorado Rockies and has a .282/.349/.483 slash line over 13 major league seasons. Even if Morneau hits below his career averages, though, he’d likely provide an offensive boost to a White Sox lineup that’s struggled to get production from its designated hitters this season. 

Entering Sunday’s first half finale, White Sox designated hitters have combined for -1.0 WAR and have the second-worst OPS (.615) in the American League. The six home runs that White Sox players have hit as designated hitters represent the lowest total in the league, too.

[RELATED: White Sox LHP Jose Quintana named to All-Star team]

So while the White Sox aren’t rushing Morneau to the majors, there’s a pretty clear need for improvement that they hope he can provide. 

“He’s a veteran presence in there, left-handed hitter, and any time you add somebody like him or you mix him in there, is your lineup gets a little deeper,” Ventura said. “There’s a dangerous left-handed hitter in there that we didn’t necessarily have before that you can insert in there. It helps your lineup in a lot of different ways.”

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1


Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

In another example of how amazing Danny Farquhar’s recovery has been, the pitcher will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the White Sox game on June 1.

Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm during the sixth inning of the team’s April 20 game against the Houston Astros. But his recovery has been astounding, and he was discharged from the hospital on May 7. Farquhar’s neurosurgeon expects him to be able to pitch again in future seasons.

Farquhar has been back to visit his teammates at Guaranteed Rate Field a couple times since leaving the hospital. June 1 will mark his return to a big league mound, even if it’s only for a ceremonial first pitch with his wife and three children. Doctors, nurses and staff from RUSH University Medical Center will be on hand for Farquhar’s pitch on June 1.

The White Sox announced that in celebration of Farquhar’s recovery, they will donate proceeds from all fundraising efforts on June 1 to the Joe Niekro Foundation, an organization committed to supporting patients and families, research, treatment and awareness of brain aneurysms.

White Sox Talk Podcast: The fallout from Welington Castillo's suspension


White Sox Talk Podcast: The fallout from Welington Castillo's suspension

Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the shocking news that Welington Castillo has been suspended for 80 games for testing positive for a performance-enchancing drug, putting the White Sox catching position in quite the precarious position.  You’ll hear reaction from Rick Hahn and Ricky Renteria, Castillo’s apology, the options the White Sox have at catcher both inside and outside the organization, and what it means not only for Castillo’s future with the White Sox but what the team might do at catcher going forward.