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Morel powers White Sox past Indians

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Morel powers White Sox past Indians

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011Posted: 10:52 p.m. Updated: Friday, Sept. 9, 12:16 a.m.

Associated Press

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Brent Morel is finding his power stroke.Morel hit two homers and Paul Konerko had a grand slam, lifting the Chicago White Sox to an 8-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.Morel hit a solo shot off Indians starter David Huff (2-4) in the third and a three-run homer off Frank Herrmann in the seventh - both on the first pitch. It was Morel's first career multi-homer game and his four RBIs were a career-high."I was fortunate enough to get a couple of good pitches there and I didn't miss them," Morel said.Three of Morel's five home runs this season have come in the last week."I would have liked to have hit a little bit better," Morel said. "I'm not really going to worry about it, just worry about finishing strong."Konerko's 10th career grand slam tied Robin Ventura's White Sox record and capped Chicago's seven-run seventh."I was just trying to get the ball up and get something out to the outfield," Konerko said. "Just one of those, he threw and I hit. You don't really know what you did."Gavin Floyd struck out four and held Cleveland to one run and five hits in 5 23 innings. Matt Thornton (1-4) retired all four batters he faced, striking out three.Huff gave up three runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out five, as the Indians lost their fourth straight."You leave the ball up and these guys are going to hit it out," Huff said. "I told him (Hermann) to keep his head up and you'll probably be in there tomorrow or the next day and be ready to go."Both clubs were recently swept by first-place Detroit, giving the Tigers a commanding lead in the AL Central and virtually reducing this weekend's series into a battle for second place.Putting a further damper on a matchup that had lost its once-anticipated luster, a misty rain began to blow across the field during the top of the third and fell for much of the game.The small, subdued crowd at U.S. Cellular Field saved its biggest cheers for Cleveland's Jim Thome, whose RBI single in the first scored Asdrubal Cabrera for the game's first run.The White Sox honored Thome in a ceremony before the game in recognition of his 600th career homer, which he hit on Aug. 15. Thome, who played for Chicago from 2006 to 2009, also received a standing ovation before his first plate appearance."Last couple of weeks, this guy is swinging the bat a lot better," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "More power and most consistency. The ball is jumping off his bat right now."Morel tied the game with a homer to left-center in the bottom of third. Later in the inning, Juan Pierre singled for his 2,000th career hit, also earning a nice ovation as he tipped his cap. Pierre, 34, became the 268th big-leaguer to reach the milestone."Juan is probably consistent guy I've ever been around, as far as the way he comes to prepare every day to play," Konerko said.Despite holding the Indians to one run, Floyd fell behind a number of hitters working from a slippery mound, running up his pitch count. At one point in the sixth, he requested that the field crew come out and apply sand around the pitching rubber.Floyd departed after throwing 112 pitches, giving way to Will Ohman, who got Thome on an inning-ending grounder with a runner on first."You look up and you've got like 70 pitches in the third inning, you're kind of scratching your head," Guillen said. "In the meantime, sometimes you have to just (forget) that pitch count and go out there looking for zeroes. That's what he did."Huff pitched into the seventh, when he allowed a walk and a single to begin the inning. He struck out Tyler Flowers before giving way to Herrmann, whose first pitch Morel hammered into the left-field bleachers.Herrmann allowed a walk and a single before being replaced by Josh Judy, who hit Brent Lillibridge with a pitch and gave up Konerko's grand slam. The White Sox scored seven runs on just four hits in the inning.The White Sox's win was muted by the postgame news that Lillibridge suffered a broken bone in his right hand when he was hit and will miss the rest of the season.
NOTES: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said that RF Carlos Quentin (sprained left shoulder) will likely return to the lineup over the weekend. ... Cleveland rookie 2B Jason Kipnis, a Northbrook, Ill., native, singled in his first big-league game in his hometown. He was injured the last time the Indians were in Chicago. ... Indians manager Manny Acta said 1B Matt LaPorta would likely be back with the club in the "next couple of days." The former first-round pick was sent to Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 29 after struggling to a .238 average in 97 games. ... Cleveland's Jeanmar Gomez will square off against Chicago's Mark Buehrle on Friday. Buehrle allowed a season-high eight runs in his last outing.Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Dylan Cease shows off big velocity in first spring training start

Dylan Cease shows off big velocity in first spring training start

Dylan Cease is entering the 2020 season with plenty to prove. Considering how important he is to the future of the White Sox, it is perhaps fitting he was the first White Sox pitcher to take a mound in a spring training game.

On Saturday, Cease pitched two innings against the Cincinnati Reds as he ramps up to full strength. The most notable thing wasn’t how long he pitched or what his stat line was. It was his fastball.

Cease's fastball sat mostly at 96-98 mph and topped at 99. Cease quipped there could be a bit more in terms of his velocity.


Cease averaged 96.5 mph on his fastball in the majors in 2019. In 73 innings, he threw nine pitches that were at least 99 mph, topping out at 100.1 mph, according to Baseball Savant. He was capable of throwing that hard, but didn't do it often. For Cease to be on the higher end of his average and feature a 99 mph fastball in his first pitches of Cactus League baseball might be a sign that he could have added a touch more velocity.

It’s also just a two-inning spring training start, meaning Cease knew he could let fly a bit more in a shorter outing. Cease told reporters after his start he was focusing on his fastball command. He struck out three with no walks and three hits allowed.

In his rookie season, Cease struggled with command and consistency. He had a 5.79 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 35 walks over 14 starts.

February baseball doesn't carry any meaning, but this is a small encouraging sign for Cease.

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Kenny Williams shuts down rumor connecting free agent Yasiel Puig to White Sox

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USA TODAY

Kenny Williams shuts down rumor connecting free agent Yasiel Puig to White Sox

You can put to bed the rumors about free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig possibly signing with the White Sox. It’s not happening.

The two sides did get together during the MLB Winter Meetings in December. Kenny Williams, Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria met with Puig for about 90 minutes to discuss the possibility of the 29-year-old joining the White Sox as their everyday right fielder.

But instead, the White Sox chose to take a different route. That same week, they acquired Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers for minor league outfielder Steele Walker, ending any chance of Puig coming to the South Side.

“After our meeting we came away big Yasiel Puig fans, but he wasn’t the right fit for us then and he isn’t right now,” Williams said.

With spring training games starting this weekend and the regular season a little over a month away, fellow Cuban Jose Abreu says he’s surprised the flashy 29-year-old outfielder remains a free agent.

“Yes, I am (surprised). That’s one of those things that happen that you don’t understand. A guy with his talent. He’s still so young,” Abreu said through a translator. “He doesn’t have a team yet. It’s a surprise. I’m confident he’s going to find something this year.”

Even with Puig’s talent, Abreu looks around the White Sox clubhouse and agrees with the decision by the White Sox not to sign the former All-Star who hit .267/.327/.458 with the Reds and Indians last season.

“I don’t think he would be a good fit here. Don’t get me wrong. He has a lot of talent but we’re full," Abreu said. "Our outfield is looking great with Nomar (Mazara), Eloy (Jimenez) and (Luis) Robert. There’s no reason for us to make more moves in that area of our team. He’s someone who would fit in with any major league ball club because he has the talent to help any of those teams.”

What about possibly platooning Puig with Mazara in right field? On paper, that might sound like a good plan, although Puig has traditionally hit better against righties than lefties in his career. But a larger issue could be the timeshare. The idea of Puig, nicknamed “Wild Horse,” being forced to the stable for half the season could spell problems not only for him, but the chemistry inside the clubhouse.

“It would be difficult, especially for him being an everyday player,” Abreu said about Puig being a platoon player.  “When you have to make that decision, it’s not easy.”

So, where will Puig end up?  No one knows for sure but it won’t be with the White Sox.  

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