White Sox

Steve Stone's mailbag: Manny with Sox next season?

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Steve Stone's mailbag: Manny with Sox next season?

Monday, Sept. 20, 2010
11:38 AM
Steve Stone dives into his mailbag toanswer your questions about Manny Ramirez, Paul Konerko's AL MVP chances, Tyler Colvin's possible move to first base and more!

Scott - Chicago, IL: Do you think Manny Ramirez will be with the White Sox next season?

Steve Stone: As of this writing, Manny Ramirez has 1 RBI and 1 home run. I appreciate the fact that he needs to go through a bit of a spring training. That being said, its a shame he had to go through spring training when we were fighting for our lives in a division race. Now, I personally would not have him on the team, if nothing else, to get rid of his hair.

Robert - Lake Zurich, Illinois: Would Paul Konerko get your vote for AL MVP?

Stone: No. The White Sox are going to finish multiple games back of Minnesota and they will finish multiple back of the Wild Card. Normally when a team that doesn't win it produces an MVP, it means there was a number of other people who didn't have a great year. My MVP vote in the AL would go to Josh Hamilton even though Texas stayed afloat, he has been hitting in the .360 range, and in the top of almost every category. Texas is a somewhat surprise winner in the west and Hamilton would get my vote.

Rene - Chicago, IL: Do you think the Cubs shouldwill move Tyler Colvin to first base next season?

Stone: I think it all depends on the type of power they think he can produce and what happens to Fukudome. I think it is time for Fukudome to move elsewhere and they have to make a decision on what they want to do with their baseball team, which direction they are going in and essentially, how much will they spend to get then. Then and only then I'd consider him playing first base. I'm not sure if he can play it and that becomes problematic. You want to do things to help your defense and not hurt it. There is a long way to go to make him an asset defensively. Too many questions to be answered to be definite.
Kevin - Los Angeles, CA: What is the future of Jeff Samardzija? Do you think he will end up in the Cubs starting rotation soon? Or is he best suited to be in the bullpen?

Stone: I think Jeff will most likely end up in the Cubs bullpen. I think he needs help on his secondary pitches. The CUbs spent a ridiculous amount of money on him but that being said, it's already spent and he could help. Bear in mind, look what happened last year with four youngsters in the bullpen which was disastrous - I don't think they can afford the same thing this year.

Richard - Wheaton, IL: Who wins the AL East? Will the Yankees be able to hold on or will the Rays take it this year?

Stone: If the Wild Card comes out of the East, they can't run into each other as they head into post season play which means that the division winner is going to get Texas, most likely. The Wild Card team is going to get Minnesota most likely. From the Twins standpoint, I don't think they want to play the Yankees. They are hoping for the Yankees to win it - then having the best record between themselves and Texas, they would get Tampa Bay int he first round. All four teams that are going to get in are fully capable of winning a series if they don't have home field advantage.

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.

Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one

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USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one

Carlos Rodon's return to the South Side is coming soon.

The top-five draft pick recovering from last fall's shoulder surgery made his first rehab start Saturday with Class A Kannapolis and threw well. Rodon allowed just one run on three hits in his five innings of work, striking out six and walking none.

The White Sox announced Sunday that Rodon's second rehab start will come Thursday with Triple-A Charlotte.

As for the exact date Rodon returns to the big league roster, it's unknown at this point. General manager Rick Hahn said that Rodon will make multiple rehab starts. One might look to the pitcher's recovery from a spring injury last year as a guide. Rodon made four rehab starts in June before debuting with the White Sox on June 28.

This recovery is different, of course. Rodon is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on May 28.