White Sox

Robin Ventura: Mistakes always 'affect the rest of the game'

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Robin Ventura: Mistakes always 'affect the rest of the game'

A day after he made clear his feelings about poor play, Robin Ventura backed up his strong assertion.

Prior to Friday’s game, the White Sox manager again indicated a Thursday miscommunication between Adam Eaton and Alexei Ramirez that resulted in a single on a routine pop up isn’t OK even though it didn’t result in a run. Though Eaton later said it’s his responsibility, he first suggested after Thursday’s game the play wasn’t as big of a deal because it didn’t hurt the White Sox. But Ventura sees it another way and made it clear the mistake impacted the team’s seventh straight loss, a 3-2 decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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“It always affects, it affects the rest of the game,” Ventura said. “For me, I know in talking to him, it affects everything that goes with it because now the guy gets on base. You’re always dealing with the next hitter, any time, for Jeff (Samardzija) being out there, you don’t get that out, you’re now dealing with another hitter when there’s a possibility of maybe sending him back out. Any time plays aren’t made, it does affect the rest of the game.”

Eaton’s quote was of out character for the center fielder, who normally talks about little things and takes a team-first approach. But it also comes at the end of a long week and 2 1/ 2 months into a very trying season. The White Sox have mostly been pleased with the returns they have received of late from Eaton, who has a .273/.365/.400 slash line in 63 plate appearances this month. Ventura thinks Eaton has bounced back after a tough start and believes his leadoff man may have been trying to overcompensate for the team’s struggles because he signed a five-year extension in spring training.

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“He’s getting back to that point even offensively where he’s doing things a little more common to what we’re expecting out of him,” Ventura said. “He’s getting on base, stealing bases, things like that.

“When you get (an extension), that’s for what you were doing and what you did, not expecting more or anything else — for those exact things you were doing. He’s not a four-hole hitter, he doesn’t need to do any more, hitting home runs or something special, it’s just be an agitator and do the things that go you there.”

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

White Sox prospect Luis Robert headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more playing time after injuries limited to 50 games in 2018.

He just got hurt in the Arizona Fall League.

Robert is playing with the Glendale Desert Dogs in the AFL and left Friday's game with an injury.

It's not clear what the injury was, but Robert walked off on his own power. He also has pulled out of the Bowman Hitting Challenge (a modified home run derby) that will take place Saturday.

Robert, the No. 4 White Sox prospect and No. 44 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was 1-for-3 in Friday's game before exiting. He has hit safely in all four games in the AFL, going 5-for-17 (.294) with a walk and three strikeouts, but no extra base hits.

The 21-year-old is the third youngest player on the team and the AFL is a respected offseason league for prospects. A good showing from Robert would be a sign that he is beginning to develop his talent into playable tools.

The injury could be minor so no need to ring the alarm bells yet, but the AFL season is barely more than a month long. Even a short-term injury could prevent him from making up for some of the lost playing time from the 2018 minor league season.

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

The White Sox have a hole or two to plug in their starting rotation. Could Sonny Gray be an answer?

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday that he's looking to trade Gray away from the Bronx this winter.

Gray isn't as attractive an add as he was a few years back, when he was coming off a sensational 2015 campaign that saw him post a 2.73 ERA and log 208 innings. He went to the All-Star Game and finished third in the AL Cy Young vote that year.

Since, he's been less successful. He made just 22 starts with the Oakland Athletics in 2016 and had a 5.69 ERA. The following season, he started with a strong 3.43 ERA in 16 starts for the A's before the midseason trade that sent him to the Yankees, where he made 11 starts with a 3.72 ERA. This season didn't go too well, earning Gray a move to the bullpen. He finished with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games, only 23 of those being starts. He threw just 29.1 innings over his final 10 appearances of the season, three of which were starts. He had a 5.26 ERA with 50 walks in 113 innings as a starter in 2018.

Those numbers won't leap off the page (in a positive way) for anyone, but there's no doubt that a potential deal for Gray would be a low-risk move for the White Sox. For a team looking to add 40 percent of a starting rotation, being able to do so cheaply — be it from a dollar or prospect standpoint — would be a good thing, especially if the strategy ends up being to simply add one-year fill-ins while Michael Kopech recovers from Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease makes his way to the major leagues.

However, Gray's 57-walk total from the 2018 season could be something the White Sox would want to stay away from. After all, White Sox pitchers led the AL with 653 walks this season. They also had five of the top 21 walk-issuing pitchers in the Junior Circuit: Lucas Giolito led the league with 90, James Shields was third with 78, Reynaldo Lopez was fifth with 75, Hector Santiago was 15th with 60, and Carlos Rodon was 21st with 55. Gray slotted in right ahead of Rodon.

But Gray has obviously produced results in the past, and whether the White Sox are looking to simply plug the holes in the 2019 staff or potentially find a sign-and-flip candidate for the 2019 trade deadline — he's slated to hit free agency after the 2019 season — Gray could fit that bill. One thing's for sure: He's available.