White Sox

White Sox bullpen looks to have 'fight' on its hands

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White Sox bullpen looks to have 'fight' on its hands

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox don’t have a lot of battles this spring, but the bullpen could provide one of the fiercest competitions of camp.

Injuries aside, the White Sox would likely begin the season with a seven-man bullpen.

If they can maintain their health throughout camp, the White Sox look to have a tough decision on their hands when they head west in April to start the season at the Oakland A’s. With Nate Jones at full strength and the recent signing of Matt Albers, the White Sox have a full complement of relievers.

“There’s a fight for some spots,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We do have a pretty set bullpen, but there’s a couple of wild cards in there as far as depending the route we want to go. Do we want more innings out of that spot or cover it with just using more guys consistently?

“There’s a couple of options there.”

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Technically, Jacob Turner is in the mix for both a spot in the starting rotation and in the bullpen. But the signing of Mat Latos two weeks ago could solidify the starting five as long as he shows he’s healthy.

That could leave Turner — who signed for $1.5 million and is out of minor-league options — vying for a spot as the long man in the bullpen, if that’s how the White Sox choose to design theirs.

Were Turner in that mix, the White Sox have at least seven relievers earning $800,000 or more as well as Jake Petricka. Albers, David Robertson and Zach Duke are all but locks to make the relief unit based on their salaries, experience and talent.

Dan Jennings is out of options and would have to be subjected to the waiver wire were the White Sox not to put him on the 25-man roster.

Only Jones, Putnam and Petricka have options left. With Jones earning $900,000 this season and a candidate to pitch in a setup role, he’s on the roster if he’s healthy. That could leave the decision down to just Putnam and Petricka, a pair that combined to convert 20 of 25 save opportunities in 2014.

Tommy Kahnle and Daniel Webb — both who have options — and Scott Carroll are also in the mix.

Welington Castillo on board with the reasoning behind his Monday benching and the identity Rick Renteria is trying to establish

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AP

Welington Castillo on board with the reasoning behind his Monday benching and the identity Rick Renteria is trying to establish

And that’s why you always run hard to first base.

Rick Renteria didn’t use a one-armed man to teach his team a lesson Monday night, but he used a relatively extreme measure, benching one of his few veteran players to send a message that lack of hustle won’t be tolerated on this rebuilding White Sox team.

In fact, it won’t be tolerated anywhere in this rebuilding White Sox organization.

That’s the hope, at least.

Welington Castillo stood at home plate while his popup fell into the first baseman’s glove during the sixth inning of Monday night’s loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles, and because of it he didn’t go back out with his teammates for the seventh inning. It was the latest in-game benching by Renteria for a similar offense. Avisail Garcia was sat down during spring training, and Leury Garcia at the end of the team’s previous homestand.

This kind of reoccurring strategy might seem a tad strange, a manager enforcing hustle regulations to pro players during a season in which his team entered play Tuesday with baseball’s worst record. But part of rebuilding and development is establishing a cultural identity, and Castillo seemed on board with Renteria’s strategy, as well as the end goal of these punishments.

“That’s something that he always says, that’s something that he’s not going to let pass,” Castillo said Tuesday. “He always says you’ve got to run the bases hard no matter what. And for some reason, I was just frustrated, I wanted to get the job done. I saw the ball was going to be fair, and for some reason I did not run. I think that the decision that he made was the right decision. That’s not me, and I’m not going to do it again.”

Castillo was brought in this past offseason to provide some veteran experience to what is otherwise a very young squad of South Siders. Coming off career years both offensively and defensively, Castillo seemed to be an addition that would benefit this club in the short and long term. He could be here all the way through the 2020 season, when the White Sox could see their talented minor leaguers arrive and open the organization’s contention window.

And therein lies the importance of what Renteria did Monday. Castillo would figure to be veteran enough to be past such punishments. But if he buys in to Renteria’s style and passes it along to the young guys when they come up, then Renteria will have achieved what he wanted: for this to be the standard of the present and the future.

“The same rule that is for the young guys is for the veteran guys, too,” Castillo said. “We are a team, we are a family. One thing is for me, and the same thing has to be for everybody because we are a family, we are a team. Sometimes that’s good that that happens, and we’ve just got to learn from that.”

“We’re trying to eliminate habits if they’re there. Accidents you understand, but we’re trying to continue to create the identity of the White Sox organization as to how we’re going to go about doing things,” Renteria said. “They accept it, they understand it, and when we take an action I think for the most part they are accountable to what goes on.”

Daily White Sox prospects update: Eloy Jimenez homers, Seby Zavala goes to the DL

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Daily White Sox prospects update: Eloy Jimenez homers, Seby Zavala goes to the DL

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Double-A Birmingham

Eloy Jimenez hit his eighth home run of the season in a 7-3 loss. Zack Collins and Matt Rose each had a hit, a walk and a run scored. Ian Clarkin gave up five runs and walked five in his five innings. Seby Zavala, who leads the Southern League with 10 homers, went on the disabled list with a wrist injury.

Triple-A Charlotte

Jordan Stephens had a good second outing at the Triple-A level, allowing just one earned run in his 6.1 innings. He allowed five hits and walked two, striking out four batters. In his two starts with Charlotte, he's got a 2.19 ERA with three earned runs allowed in 12.1 innings. Charlie Tilson doubled in the 12-6 win. Thyago Vieira gave up two runs in his lone inning of work, and his ERA stands at 5.85 on the season.

Class A Winston-Salem

The bats seem to have gone a tad cold for the Dash, who suffered a 4-1 loss. The top five hitters in the lineup — Joel Booker, Alex Call, Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo and Gavin Sheets — combined to go 2-for-18.

Class A Kannapolis

Lincoln Henzman gave up four earned runs in five innings, allowing a pair of home runs. Luis Gonzalez and Evan Skoug each had a hit in a 5-3 loss.