White Sox

White Sox bullpen blinks first in loss to Rangers

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White Sox bullpen blinks first in loss to Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — David Robertson could only watch as Shin-Soo Choo poked a walk-off single into left field in the 11th inning.

Choo’s game-winner off left-hander Dan Jennings dealt the White Sox a 2-1 loss Thursday night against Texas at Globe Life Park. Jennings, whose ERA rose to 7.84, was the fourth reliever used by White Sox manager Robin Ventura after Carlos Rodon allowed one run with 10 strikeouts over six innings.

Ventura said he wanted to save Robertson, who signed a four-year, $46 million deal in December, for a save opportunity if the White Sox were to take the lead in extra innings.

[RELATED: Rodon lets his pitching do the talking in 10-K performance]

“We were short tonight, with Robby if you put him in there you know you’re only going to get him for that inning,” Ventura said. “If he ends up scoring you’re going with somebody else so you’re saving him, especially with this road trip’s been with him. Held that back and hopefully we score a run.”

Robertson appeared in three games on the White Sox 11-game road trip, blowing two saves in Toronto and nailing down a save May 29 in Houston, his last appearance. The White Sox bullpen was shorter on Thursday, too, with right-hander Zach Putnam unavailable due to an issue with his thumb.

After Daniel Webb shut out Texas for 2 2/3 innings — Carlos Sanchez’s fantastic turn of a double play in the eighth with the bases loaded kept the Rangers off the board — Ventura turned to Jennings against a lefty-heavy lineup.

Leonys Martin led off the 11th with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Delino DeShields was intentionally walked to get to a trio of left-handers — Choo, Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland — with one out. Choo, though, made quick work of Jennings by flipping a curveball past Alexei Ramirez for a game-ending hit.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“He’s been getting hit around a little bit,” Ventura said of Jennings, “a little too much in the middle of the zone for us.”

After plating nine runs against Texas Wednesday night, the White Sox were unable to do much against Yovani Gallardo (6 IP, 1 ER) and five Rangers relievers. The White Sox emerged from this 11-game road trip with a 5-6 record, which wasn’t what they hoped for but was good enough to keep them from getting buried.

Ventura said despite the sub-.500 record, he was pleased with the way his team battled through a grueling trip that took them from Toronto to Baltimore to Houston to Arlington.

“We wish we would have gotten this one tonight,” Ventura said. “It would have put us over the edge of being able to survive, but you survive. We’re still going to battle, but it’s a tough trip. We saw it coming up, especially when the doubleheader (in Baltimore) was put in there. But they battled. I’ll give them that. “ 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Rebuild advice from 3 Houston Astros All-Stars

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Rebuild advice from 3 Houston Astros All-Stars

With the White Sox in the middle of a rebuild, Chuck Garfien spoke with 3 Houston Astros All-Stars who explained how they went from a rebuilding team to World Series champions. Jose Altuve, George Springer and Alex Bregman talk about how they dealt with losing, how they learned how to win, the importance of adding veterans to the young core, and how they kept hope alive during the rebuild.  Then later, Chuck spoke with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain trying to understand how he dominated the White Sox for so many years.

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jose Abreu didn’t come to the White Sox to be a leader. But that’s what he is as he took his spot among the best in baseball at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.

Abreu is the face of the South Side baseball club and he’s had a stellar-enough first four and a half seasons in Major League Baseball to earn the distinction of a starter in the Midsummer Classic. But Abreu, unsurprisingly, doesn’t look at himself as one of the best in the game. He looks as himself as a hard-worker.

“I don’t believe that I’m the best,” Abreu said through a team translator on Monday. “I’m just a person who likes to work hard every day and try to do my best.”

That humility is nothing new to folks who follow the White Sox on a regular basis. And neither is talk of Abreu’s work ethic, the admiration of everyone involved with the team and a constant talking point from Rick Hahn, Rick Renteria and all Abreu’s teammates.

Abreu has become as important for his off-the-field roles as he has for his on-the-field production for this rebuilding White Sox team. He’s been described as a role model for all the young players in the organization, whether they’re on the big league roster right now or coming up through the system.

“None of them have told me that yet,” Abreu joked. “But I know that. It’s definitely a compliment, and I take it as something that makes you feel good, something that makes you keep moving forward and to keep trying to help the guys to improve and get better as a team. You feel like that is a big honor, that people think that way of you.”

As good as he feels to be held in such esteem, Abreu didn’t set out to be one of this team’s leaders when he came to the United States. And to be honest, he might not be in his current position if it weren’t for the team’s rebuilding effort. Abreu is one of the few veterans on this team.

“That was something that happened. I didn’t look for it,” Abreu said. “I was always trying to help people and trying to give advice to help people to improve. But I never tried to be a leader. If people say that because of what I do, that’s good, but that’s not something that I’m trying to force or something that I say, ‘I want to be a leader.’ No, that’s not who I am. I am just the kind of person who likes to help people, who likes to give advice.”

Abreu is seemingly the definition of what the White Sox want their next winning roster to be full of. And whether it’s the special relationship he has with fellow Cuban Yoan Moncada or the role-model status he holds in the eyes of his other teammates, both current and future, he’s helping the White Sox develop those kinds of players.

Oh, and he’s generally — though this season has seen an extended slump and atypical numbers — one of the most consistently productive hitters in the game.

Who wouldn’t want all that as the face of the franchise?

“It’s all a blessing. I can’t ask for anything else,” Abreu said. “I’m a true believer that if you work hard, good things are going to happen. That’s why I work hard every day, I try to do my best, I try to improve every day and just to be a better person. Not just a better player, but a better person.”