White Sox

White Sox: Adam Eaton's aggressive baserunning pays off

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White Sox: Adam Eaton's aggressive baserunning pays off

Corey Kluber was virtually unhittable for the Cleveland Indians on Monday night, making a 1-0 deficit feel much worse than it actually was for the White Sox.

So Adam Eaton decided to put matters into his own hands — in this case, feet — by capitalizing on a small mistake from the 2014 American League Cy Young winner that turned out to be a big one.

Standing on third after a one-out triple in the sixth inning, Eaton was looking for any chance he could get to move 90 more feet.

And then, it came.

With two outs and a 1-1 count on Jose Abreu, Kluber tossed a low, outside slider that slid a little bit too low, enough to bounce a few feet away from catcher Roberto Perez after his block attempt. But Eaton's quick reaction and speed — and attention to minor detail — prevailed as he darted down the base line and dove head-first, scoring the team's first run that evened up the score.

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"Kluber's a heck of a pitcher and you're not going to get too many chances on third base there," Eaton said following the White Sox's 2-1 win over the Indians in extra innings. "I'm just trying to make something happen. Sometimes you got to be aggressive and try to make something happen and it ended up in our favor tonight."

It almost didn't.

Perez beat Eaton to the plate but at the very last second, the ball squirted out of the catcher's glove after a forceful dive from the White Sox outfielder.

Kluber gave an inch, and that's all Eaton wanted and needed.

"I told (third base coach Joe McEwing), I said if it touches the grass or it’s close I’m going." Eaton said. "You gotta put pressure on. As soon as I saw the ball kind of going over, I took a little slide step and then broke for home.

"Sometimes you gotta be risky, especially when there’s a guy on the mound that’s throwing the ball real well and it paid off."

[MORE: White Sox win six straight in extras against Indians]

Manager Robin Ventura acknowledged the White Sox weren't generating much offense against Kluber, who's racked up 30 strikeouts over his last two starts, and recognized his team was probably going to have to grind out a run.

"Yeah, he’s just making an instinctual play for the plate," Ventura said. "At times you have to be aggressive and go after it, especially the way Kluber was throwing you’re taking you chances when you can. It was a good secondary that got him that."

The gamble paid off, but not without paying a different price.

"I think my body got the worst of it," Eaton said. "But what's new?"

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.