White Sox

Twins rock Jose Quintana in White Sox loss

Twins rock Jose Quintana in White Sox loss

MINNEAPOLIS — The White Sox offense had a chance to help out Jose Quintana, who had his worst start of the season on Thursday night.

Even though Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu homered, the White Sox missed out on too many scoring chances. Quintana allowed seven runs and the White Sox stranded 13 base runners in an 8-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins in front of 20,329 at Target Field. The win snapped a 13-game losing streak for the Twins, who would have tied a franchise-record with 14 losses.

“The homers, especially early, five runs in one inning,” Quintana said. “I tried to stop the game after that, tried to make it so the hitters couldn’t come back. But when you give up two more runs after you retire 10 batters straight, it’s a bad one. It was a bad night for me. I’ll turn the page, and that’s it. I’ll try to just keep going with the next one.”

Perhaps the White Sox should have known how their night would go only three batters into the game. That’s when Melky Cabrera’s line-drive single produced the second out of the inning as it clipped Tim Anderson, who was standing off first after he singled. Abreu also singled, but Ervin Santana struck out Justin Morneau to strand two.

Though Frazier’s 34th homer made it 1-0 in the second, the White Sox stranded two more. They left the bases loaded in the third inning, stranded another man in the fourth and left on a pair in the fifth inning.

Despite allowing 11 hits and walking two, Santana held the White Sox to two runs.

“We left a lot of guys out there,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You look up there, we left 10 guys at one point and they cashed everybody in. When you see you left 10 guys and they didn’t leave any at one point, that really tells the tale more than Q.”

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Quintana wasn’t as lucky.

The Twins hit four straight one-out singles in the second inning and Byron Buxton followed with a three-run homer to put the Twins ahead 5-1. Quintana, whose 2.77 ERA was tops among American League starters entering Thursday, then retired 10 in a row. But Minnesota got a two-out hit from Joe Mauer in the fifth inning and Trevor Plouffe homered to make it a 7-2 game.

Quintana allowed seven earned runs and seven hits with eight strikeouts in five innings. His ERA rose to 3.05.

Abreu blasted a two-run homer off Taylor Rogers in the sixth inning as the White Sox closed within 7-4.

Another highlight for the White Sox was the twin debuts of pitcher Juan Minaya and catcher Kevan Smith in the bottom of the eighth inning. Both arrived earlier in the day from Triple-A Charlotte.

“It feels great. I’ve been waiting for this a long time. Now I want to take advantage,” Minaya said.

With a little help from Smith, Minaya, who was claimed off waivers from Houston in June, bounced back after he walked the first batter he faced. With one out, Minaya struck out Kurt Suzuki and Smith fired to catch Jorge Polanco stealing second base to end the inning.

Though he knew Minaya was entering the game, Smith thought his coaches in the bullpen were kidding when they told him to take the field. Smith — who previously missed out on his debut in April when he injured his back during pregame warmups  — also lined out to center field in the bottom of the ninth.

“They were kind of smirking and laughing and I wasn’t too sure and they said, ‘Hey, you better get going,’ and I wasn’t too sure what happened,” Smith said. “But I felt comfortable as ever out there. I didn’t feel out of place. (Umpire Greg Gibson) behind the plate said, ‘You look comfortable as ever.’ That was a little confidence booster and fortunately Minaya got his first strikeout and I got my first throw out at the same time. Certainly an exciting and memorable moment.”

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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White Sox lock up Aaron Bummer with record five-year extension

White Sox lock up Aaron Bummer with record five-year extension

PHOENIX — The White Sox have locked up a key part of their bullpen and did it in record fashion.

The team is keeping Aaron Bummer on the South Side for the next half decade. The deal contains a pair of team options that could keep Bummer in a White Sox uniform through the 2026 season. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, it’s the biggest extension for a pre-arbitration, non-closer reliever in baseball history.

According to the team’s announcement, Bummer will receive $1 million in 2020, $2 million in 2021, $2.5 million in 2022, $3.75 million in 2023 and $5.5 million in 2024. The White Sox hold options for $7.25 million in 2025 and $7.5 million in 2026, with $1.25 million buyouts for either season.

The White Sox have good reason to want to keep the 26-year-old Bummer around. He was excellent during the 2019 season, emerging as one of the team’s most reliable late-inning options. He finished the campaign with a 2.13 ERA in 58 appearances. A left-hander, he was effective against both right- and left-handed hitters, holding righties to a .188 batting average and lefties to a .178 average.

“Any time you’re looking at relievers, there’s the capacity to come in in key situations, in high-leverage and be that guy that you can count on in any situation. That’s what we have with Aaron," White Sox assistant GM Jeremy Haber told reporters Saturday in Glendale. "In addition, the nature of the position — there’s ups and downs, and he’s experienced that in his career on and off the field, demonstrated that resiliency that you look for in that position."

Bummer will continue playing a prominent role in the White Sox ‘pen in 2020, likely starting the season as Rick Renteria’s primary eighth-inning option and forming a formidable back end of the bullpen alongside closer Alex Colome and new addition Steve Cishek.

But with Colome slated to hit free agency after the 2020 season, it’s possible Bummer could be a candidate to take over the closer’s job.

"The reliever role and coming in in the seventh, eighth, ninth inning — it takes a certain type of temperament," Haber said. "Not to just deal with and thrive in those, but handle the ups and downs whenever they come, and Aaron’s shown that."

Add Bummer’s name to the list of young, core players the White Sox have under team control for a long time. Now there’s an exciting bullpen arm to go along with locked-up stars in the making such as Eloy Jimenez, Tim Anderson and Luis Robert, among the other youngsters like Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, who aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

You need a strong bullpen to compete, and with their eyes on competing long into the future, the White Sox are trying to build just that for the long term.

"Every organization seeks to acquire and develop and retain championship-level talent," Haber said. "We’re very pleased to have been able to accomplish that today with another piece."

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