White Sox

White Sox bench competition remains hot as Jerry Sands homers twice

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White Sox bench competition remains hot as Jerry Sands homers twice

MESA, Ariz. — The White Sox have a pretty wide-open competition for the final two spots on their roster with anybody and everybody in consideration.

Even though Adam LaRoche’s retirement leaves the White Sox without a backup first baseman behind Jose Abreu, manager Robin Ventura said his team probably has enough options to handle the workload. The White Sox will consider all options, including a 13th pitcher, as they figure out how to break camp in 11 days.

Chief among the competitors are outfielders J.B. Shuck and Jerry Sands, who homered twice in a 6-2 White Sox victory over the Oakland A’s on Sunday, and infielders Matt Davidson, Carlos Sanchez and Travis Ishikawa. Davidson also had three hits in four trips to raise his average to .483 and Sanchez had two singles and an RBI.

“We are still going through that,” Ventura said. “It does change that quite a bit if you still need the lefty to be a first baseman. (Todd Frazier) has played first base in the past. We have a lot of flexibility as regard to infield positions, what guys can play where. That part just keeps evolving, what you need and we are looking at our schedule. We also don’t have any off days in there. Whether you need another pitcher or are you better off just going with an extra utility guy.”

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Of the five, Sands and Shuck are the only two without options. Ishikawa signed a minor-league deal in February and isn’t on the 40-man roster while Davidson and Sanchez have options left.

Shuck is one of the few lefty bats available and had an .820 OPS off the bench last season. He also is a good defender who can play all three outfield positions in a group with average-or-worse defenders in Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia, which likely has Shuck ahead of the field for one spot.

The White Sox open the regular season with games on their first eight straight days. Though Ventura said a 13th pitcher has been discussed, the idea hasn’t gained much momentum.

Sands also can play first and has an .846 career OPS against left-handed pitchers, though only a .546 OPS against righties.

“He’s been swinging against righties, too,” Ventura said. “He’s very versatile. He’s right in the mix.”

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Jose Quintana, who has the No. 2 spot in the rotation secure, threw six scoreless innings in a B game in Glendale, Ariz. on Sunday. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out three.

Both Nate Jones struck out two in a scoreless inning and David Robertson struck out one in a shutout frame also in B game action.

Dan Jennings struck out three in 2 2/3 scoreless innings in the win over Oakland.

Melky Cabrera walked twice and singled in four trips.

Revenge tour: After Eloy Jimenez homered against Cubs, Yoan Moncada homered against Red Sox

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USA TODAY

Revenge tour: After Eloy Jimenez homered against Cubs, Yoan Moncada homered against Red Sox

Call it the White Sox Hitters Revenge Tour.

Last week, Eloy Jimenez provided the single best image of rebuilding progress to date for the White Sox, smashing a game-winning homer in the ninth inning against the Cubs, the team that traded him, at Wrigley Field, the park he always assumed would be the one he'd call home as a big leaguer.

Well, a week later, Yoan Moncada exacted similar revenge on the team that traded him.

In the first of a three-game series between the White Sox and Boston Red Sox, Moncada took a second-inning pitch out to left field, depositing a ball over the top of the Green Monster for a tie-breaking two-run homer at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox traded Moncada — as part of a package that also included Michael Kopech and Luis Basabe — to the White Sox during the Winter Meetings in 2016 in the deal that jump-started the South Side rebuilding project.

Between signing with the Red Sox in 2015 and making his White Sox debut in 2017, Moncada spent time as the No. 1 overall prospect in the game. After a disappointing first full season in the majors last year, Moncada is having a much better go of things in 2019, bringing a .295/.347/.509 slash line into Monday night, when he belted his 13th home run of the season.

Of course, the Red Sox are pretty happy with their return in that trade, Chris Sale, who in addition to being one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past two and a half seasons got the championship-clinching out in the World Series last October.

But part of the reason the White Sox future is so bright is the return they got in the Sale trade. And one of those players got his revenge, Eloy style, on Monday night.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Chris Getz on Luis Robert, Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal and more!

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Chris Getz on Luis Robert, Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal and more!

Chuck Garfien gets the inside info about some of the top prospects in the White Sox organization from director of player development Chris Getz.

They talk about the wow factor of Luis Robert, what he's working on before being promoted to Triple-A, if he can make the majors in 2019, what kind of major league player he will be and more (3:45)

-Why Nick Madrigal has the "it" factor and why he might have been disappointed with Getz at the start of the season (10:10)

-Why Zack Burdi has struggled this season and a great sign of things to come (16:30)

-Why Kyle Kubat is so highly thought of in the White Sox farm system (18:20)

-How close Dylan Cease is to the major leagues (20:15) and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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