White Sox

White Sox, Alex Avila not too worried about catcher's sore lower back

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White Sox, Alex Avila not too worried about catcher's sore lower back

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Alex Avila said his lower back stiffens every spring as his body adjusts once again to catching on a regular basis.

This latest round, which forced the White Sox catcher to exit Saturday’s 9-7 loss to the Cincinnati Reds early, is actually tamer than most. Avila — who said he felt his back grab during a third-inning at-bat — said he’s being cautious and isn’t overly concerned. Avila is listed as day to day with a sore lower back.

“Normally I get a little stiff back every spring training,” Avila said. “I’m a lot better. You see I’m standing up straight. Usually I’m hunched over for a week. But I didn’t want it to get to that point.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“Something I deal with every single year.”

Avila knows to expect a stiff back. The veteran said he has felt some stiffness over the past week and will re-evaluate on Sunday. But the soreness is part of breaking his body in after four months of being off — an aspect of the game that can’t be replicated in any workout.

“It’s like I’m breaking in my body to catch again,” Avila said. “Once I get over it, I normally don’t have any issues.”

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said the move is more about precaution than anything. At this point, Ventura doesn’t anticipate anything serious.

[MORE: Jose Abreu has worked on scooping throws out of dirt]

“He was walking around all right,” Ventura said. “It tightened up on him somewhat. Going through that game you’re not going to risk it.”

Even if he misses a few days, Avila has had plenty of time to accomplish what he needs. His body has felt good for all but the past few days as he has worked back into baseball shape. And Avila has caught every pitcher likely to make the team’s Opening Day roster.

“Spring has gone really smooth this year,” Avila said. “I mean, despite today for me physically, I feel really good. Usually I’m, when it comes to my back, I’m a little more hunched over. But everything has gone really smooth as far as catching the pitchers, getting to know those guys and forming those relationships.”

Moncada's moves help seal White Sox epic extra innings win

Moncada's moves help seal White Sox epic extra innings win

To say the 2018-19 White Sox have had an up-and-down season would be an understatement. The season has been filled with more good than bad for sure‒three All-Stars, 42 wins, one possible Rookie of the Year candidate‒but their seven-game losing streak coming out the All-Star break certainly seemed taxing.

Chicago’s Leury Garica-fueled bounce-back win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday certainly helped spirits but Saturday’s dramatic, extra-innings win at Tropicana field could be the type of win that really gets the team back on track.

It looked like the White Sox were headed for their eighth loss in nine games. They were down to their final out when catcher James McCann decided to add another chapter to his storybook season.


 

McCann took a slider from Rays relief pitcher Emilio Pagán 373-feet out to left field for the game-tying home run.

It was another huge moment in a great season from McCann, heightened by the fact that there were so few baserunners (total) in this game and that another o-fer in the scoring column would’ve marked the second shutout loss in a week for the White Sox.

Instead, McCann’s heroics extended a game in which the White Sox bullpen‒2 H, 0 ER‒was excellent in relief of Lucas Giolito, who also pitched well.

Over 6.2 innings, Giolito racked up 9 Ks while giving up 7 hits, 1 walk, 1 earned run. The lone run Giolito gave up was a high changeup that former White Sox outfielder Avisaíl García.

This game was without a doubt a pitchers' duel, so it was only fitting that the game-winning run was scored on an RBI-single by  José Abreu in which Yoan Moncada personified "Ricky's boys don't quit" on the basepaths.


Despite the lack of strong offensive production on Saturday night, the White Sox were able to grind out the win in a Giolito start, something that has been a recurring theme for the squad.

As elder statesmen Abreu hinted at, the White Sox need their key players back but wins like Saturday’s will help build confidence in the meantime.

The South Siders head into Sunday’s noon game with the Rays‒and their subsequent series with the Miami Marlins‒with their seven-game losing streak further in the rearview mirror and that is the best news we could hope for as we await the cavalry.

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White Sox place reliever Kelvin Herrera on injured list with oblique strain

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USA TODAY

White Sox place reliever Kelvin Herrera on injured list with oblique strain

The White Sox saw another pitcher hit the shelf due to injury on Saturday.

Ahead of their game against the Rays, the White Sox placed reliever Kelvin Herrera on the 10-day injured with a right oblique strain. In a corresponding move, the team recalled right-hander Jimmy Cordero from Triple-A Charlotte.

Entering the 2019 season, Herrera was expected to be a formidable late-game reliever in the White Sox bullpen alongside closer Álex Colomé. While Colomé (20-for-21 in save chances, 2.39 ERA in 37 2/3 innings) has thrived, Herrera has struggled in his debut season on the South Side. The 29-year-old holds a 7.36 ERA in 38 games/33 innings. As things currently stand, his .326 batting average against and 3.82 BB/9 would be career highs. 

Herrera's struggles are somewhat suprising when considering how well he pitched (2.44 ERA, 48 games/44 1/3 innings) in 2018. He did struggle after the Royals traded him to the Nationals on June 18, though, perhaps a precursor of what was to come from him in 2019:

Kelvin Herrera in 2018:

  with Royals with Nationals
Games 27 21
Innings 25 2/3 18 2/3
ERA 1.05 4.34
BB 2 8
K 22 16
BAA .207 .304

The White Sox claimed Cordero off of waivers from the Mariners on June 7. He previously pitched with the Nationals (22 games, 19 innings) in 2018 and Blue Jays (one game, 1 1/3 innings) in 2019. He holds a career 5.75 ERA in the MLB, but he's pitched well with Charlotte. The 28-year-old has gone 3-1 with a 0.51 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Knights, with opponents hitting just .215 against him in 13 outings.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.