White Sox

White Sox Adam Eaton: 'I respect the hell out of that team'

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White Sox Adam Eaton: 'I respect the hell out of that team'

Adam Eaton took the high road following Thursday night's Royals-White Sox melee, which started when he and Kansas City's Yordano Ventura engaged in a shouting match following a groundout back to the pitcher.

Eaton, who said he was taken aback by Ventura's "two-step" and not-safe-for-work choice of words, said everything happened in the heat of the moment and it didn't diminish the respect he has for the defending American League champions.

"I respect the hell out of that team, I really do," Eaton said. "I think they play the game the right way.

"... What happened, two competitive teams scratching for the same goal. Sometimes it gets the best of you. Ventura is a heck of a competitor. I respect the heck out of him and everyone behind him. I’m a competitor as well. Sometimes boys will be boys and I think that was a situation where we had some excitement."

[MORE: Five ejected in White Sox, Royals brawl in seventh inning]

Like the rest of his teammates who spoke with the media postgame -- Jeff Samardzija, who was ejected along with Chris Sale, was not one of them -- Eaton was diplomatic in his answers regarding the brawl. Kansas City went on to win the game, 3-2, in the 13th inning and the Royals have now won all four meetings with the White Sox this year.

On their way to a 12-4 start, the Royals have had beef with the Angels, Athletics and White Sox. Benches cleared in Anaheim when Ventura stared down reigning AL MVP Mike Trout, and Ventura was ejected after hitting Oakland's Brett Lawrie last week (which sparked a legitimate beanball war and plenty of bad blood there). Six batters were hit in the Royals' three-game series with the White Sox to open the season as well, though manager Robin Ventura said there wasn't any carry-over from that series into Thursday night.

"They are a young group of guys who go about their business in an exciting and aggressive way," Eaton said. "And that’s why we have the utmost respect for them. They’ve earned everything they’ve gotten and now they want to keep it. You don’t expect anything less."

White Sox rookie Luis Robert confident in 'pretty hot' start to his '20 season

White Sox rookie Luis Robert confident in 'pretty hot' start to his '20 season

Luis Robert's pretty good at baseball.

That's not the concern.

Monday during workouts at Guaranteed Rate Field, he showed off a sampling of that jam-packed toolbox of his, tracking down fly balls in the outfield, loping around the bases and smoking a Dylan Cease pitch to the center-field warning track in live batting practice.


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"The biggest thing is just how big he is," Cease said of the encounter afterward. "I think I saw that on Twitter someone tweeted an Under Armour mannequin, and it's actually pretty accurate. That's what he looks like.

"He squared me up good on one of them today, and he looks like he's going to be a very talented player."

But even the best struggle when seeing major league pitching for the first time. Ask Mike Trout. While you're at it, ask Eloy Jiménez, who's so confident in Robert's talent that he called him "the next Mike Trout" back in January.

With Robert's rookie season squeezed down to 60 games in a two-month sprint to the postseason, there won't be time for Robert to make the same kinds of adjustments Jiménez had to make last season, when he started a much anticipated rookie season slowly, only to catch fire by September.

Even though he's never seen a big league pitch, Robert is not short on confidence, putting him in the same category as many of his fellow White Sox youngsters. Jiménez, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito, Tim Anderson, they've all made their fair share of comments that reflect the belief in their ability and the bright future coming to the South Side.

Add Robert to the list.

"If, for whatever reason, I don’t start the season as hot as I know I can, I will do my best to make the adjustments as fast as I can," Robert said Monday through team interpreter Billy Russo. "But of course that’s not my mindset right now.

"I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to start the season pretty hot and display all my talent. I will have to adjust as much as I can if I have any trouble."

That's what White Sox fans want to hear.

RELATED: How Eloy Jiménez can help White Sox rookie Luis Robert during short MLB season

They're more jazzed for Robert's big league debut than they were for the arrival of any top prospect in recent memory, including Jiménez, Kopech and Yoán Moncada. The hype around Robert is massive after he thrilled fans in the minor leagues last season with a dazzling combination of tape-measure home runs, blazing speed and highlight-reel catches in center field. Evaluators are calling him potentially the best of the White Sox collection of young talent. His name has been mentioned frequently in the preseason Rookie of the Year discussion. White Sox fans are thinking Robert is a superstar in the making.

"I see or hear all of that stuff," Robert said. "I try to not pay attention to that. I know what I can do, and sometimes if you hear all that stuff, you’re going to have more pressure on you. And that might not be good for you because there is more. It’s good if people say that, but I just try to not pay too much attention to it.

"My expectations and goals are always the same. Give 100 percent, always, on the field, help the team as much as I can and hopefully go to the postseason. And if I’m lucky enough, maybe win the Rookie of the Year. Those are my goals, and if I stay healthy I feel confident I can do that."

Robert's arrival is part of why the White Sox postseason expectations are looking rather realistic, one of a number of additions that has this roster looking capable of competing right alongside the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians for the AL Central crown.

But obviously, the White Sox are prioritizing a decade's worth of dominance over one strong rookie season. Robert got a big-money contract during the offseason that keeps him in a White Sox uniform through the 2027 campaign, should the team decide to pick up both the options at the end of the deal.

It seems the calendar could work against Robert this year, not allowing him time to adjust and come out the other end of any potential struggles the way Jiménez did in 2019. But if he's good as everyone says he is, maybe the number of games won't matter.

If that's the case, then the only relief pitchers will have is that they were freed from 102 more games of his torment.


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Sources: White Sox will open 2020 season against Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field

Sources: White Sox will open 2020 season against Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field

The White Sox will open their delayed 2020 season at home against the Minnesota Twins, multiple sources told NBC Sports Chicago Monday.

Opening Day will be July 24 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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NBC Sports Chicago also reported Monday that the Cubs will open up at Wrigley Field against the Milwaukee Brewers on the same day.

Due to the shortened 60-game season, the White Sox will only play opponents from the American League and National League Central divisions.

The full 2020 MLB schedule will be released at 5 p.m. CT Monday.

 

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