White Sox

Thome's watching White Sox, good friend Konerko

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Thome's watching White Sox, good friend Konerko

Thursday, July 15, 2010
7:42 PM
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

MINNEAPOLIS Jim Thome was always crystal clear with how thrilled he was to play in Chicago, and seems to prize his three-plus seasons slugging for the White Sox higher than any others. Between his hometown ties and the fact that his former team has soared past his Minnesota Twins in the standings, Thome has been keeping an eye on the Pale Hose.

Thome got in a few words in between Twins batting practice, his daily back maintenance routine and a team meeting before Thursdays game. The DH, hitting .255 with 10 homers and 29 RBI for third-place Minnesota, admitted being impressed with his former team.

Wow, its hard to put together a streak like that a better than .800 stretch for a week or maybe two, not a month or more, Thome said. Its a good group there, and with pitching like theyve been getting, Im not surprised at all theyre playing so well.

Thome took particular interest watching his old White Sox running mate, Paul Konerko, in Tuesdays All-Star Game, even though Konerkos appearance came at the expense of new teammate Justin Morneau-who missed the All-Star Game, as well as tonights series opener, with a concussion.

Paul is so deserving, Thome said through a smile, reminded that Konerko, with four Midsummer Classics in the books, now trails him by just one All-Star appearance. You couldnt have a better teammate or a better friend in this game. I couldnt be happier for him.

Of course, Thome is no doorknob, either. The 39-year-old has slugged his way past Rafael Palmeiro and Twins hero Harmon Killebrew this season, jumping to No. 10 on the all-time list with Mark McGwire clearly in his sights in the second half.

Its the same thing Id say in Chicago, or even before that, Thome said. You see some of the names youre alongside, above or below you, and its just mind-boggling. Ive been so incredibly fortunate in this game.

When asked to take it easy on his former mates tonightThome hit homers vs. the Indians at a slightly higher clip than his career vs. all other teams in spite of slugging in his prime years for ClevelandMr. Incredible just shrugged and grinned.

In other words, brace yourselves, Sox fans.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

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USA TODAY

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

On Wednesday morning, ESPN.com released their rankings of all 30 MLB team's starting rotations. The rankings were a nod to the current structure of the rotation, as well as how they were likely to perform in the future. And that is why the Chicago White Sox being ranked dead last in the league is somewhat alarming. 

Overall, the White Sox rotation is 28th in WHIP and 29th in strikeouts. 

Lucas Giolito is currently the team leader in wins with four, but his ERA sits at an unsightly 7.19. James Shields has been decent in spurts, but a general lack of run support has limited his effectiveness. Carlos Rodon has been a mixed bag since returning, but was able to reach the seventh inning in his last start. This is encouraging considering that he hadn't made it that far in any of his previous three starts. And Reynaldo Lopez continues to rack up quality starts—much like Shields—but has two wins to show for it. 

Veteran players like closing pitcher Joakim Soria and Shields are sure to be hot names on the trade market, and that could go a long way towards bringing in additional prospects to build up the White Sox farm system, and lead to a much improved rotation in the future.

So the White Sox obviously deserve to be ranked lowly until they can groom their minor league starter prospects into MLB-ready staff members, something that looks like it could take longer than originally expected. Flame-throwing top prospect Michael Kopech is still amassing high strikeouts numbers, but he is walking over six batters per outing, showing an obvious issue with control. 

White Sox fans can take their mind off of ESPN ranking the team's rotation 30th in the league by turning their attention to Eloy Jimenez. He has been absolutely crushing it in Double-A Birmingham, and will likely be making his debut with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights on Saturday. That game will be live on NBC Sports Chicago. So sit back, relax and look forward to the future, wherever it may take White Sox faithful. 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

In Part 2 of "Ask Us Anything" we answer the following questions: Who will be the biggest free agent the White Sox sign this off-season? What are the chances they trade Avi Garcia before the deadline? What's your assessment so far of Luis Robert?  Who's on your all-time busted prospect list? Is Omar Vizquel the next White Sox manager? Would the 1994 White Sox have won the World Series if there wasn't a strike?  What's the long term plan at third base? These questions and many more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

If you missed Part 1 of 'Ask Us Anything', you can listen to the full episode here 

Listen to the full Part 2 of 'Ask Us Anything' at this link or in the embedded player below: