White Sox

White Sox David Robertson's foundation helps Illinois tornado victims

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White Sox David Robertson's foundation helps Illinois tornado victims

CLEVELAND - The much-needed relief David Robertson has delivered this week hasn’t been restricted to the mound.

A day after he recorded his second save of the season, the White Sox closer said Wednesday morning that his foundation, High Socks For Hope, is on the ground in the communities surrounding Rockford, Ill., that were ravaged by last week’s tornadoes. Robertson said representatives of the foundation, which he and his wife, Erin, began in 2011, have served more than 200 hot meals to members of those communities.

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After joining the White Sox this offseason, the Tuscaloosa, Ala. native hopes to establish ties in Chicago and provide further assistance to those areas in the near future.

“I’ve seen what (tornadoes) can do,” Robertson said. “It’s amazing how much damage a tornado can create, especially when they got big like that (Alabama). It seemed like Illinois got hit pretty hard. We’ll continue to try to help out any way possible.

“We’re going to continue to try and raise money and figure out how best to help the community.”

The Robertsons started their foundation in 2011 after Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Ala. were hard hit by an F-4 tornado that left 64 dead. Since 2011, Robertson has pledged $100 for every strikeout and $200 for each save, raising more than $13,000 to date, including $1,200 this season.

Robertson hopes to engage the local community and find corporate sponsorship for his non-profit once his family is settled in Chicago. In the past, Robertson has been able to help residents of Staten Island, N.Y., who were affected by Superstorm Sandy, as well as tornado victims in Norman, Okla. and in Texas.

One save away from 50 in his career, Robertson said he hopes to further help those affected in Rochelle, Ill. and Fairdale, Ill. after things have settled down and the debris has been cleared. Robertson said one area in particular his foundation has helped is furnishing homes and apartments, in particular providing mattresses.

“When you lose everything, going to get a new mattress can cost you, there’s no telling,” Robertson said.

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Though he didn’t know anyone killed in Tuscaloosa, Robertson felt the impact. People’s houses, restaurants he’d dined at, were flattened by the storm. Robertson’s work in Alabama continued this offseason as the foundation helped to furnish 50 newly built apartments for local veterans.

“Lot of places I grew up going over to are just gone,” Robertson said. “We’ve got to get back on the fundraising trail again. If we can get that going again we can really help some families.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Chuck Garfien and Steve Stone take a look back at Mark Buehrle's perfect game. How did Buehrle do it? How did Dewayne Wise make that catch?

Plus, Buehrle and A.J. Pierzynski talk about how Buehrle actually told Pierzynski before taking that field that day that he would throw a perfect game and more.

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

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Yoan Moncada cleans up for White Sox: 'I think we found our No. 4 hitter'

Yoan Moncada cleans up for White Sox: 'I think we found our No. 4 hitter'

Though Jose Abreu and James McCann represented the team at the All-Star Game earlier this month, Yoan Moncada holds the title of the White Sox best hitter through the first 97 games of the 2019 season.

The guy who struck out 217 times during his first full season in the majors last year has been a completely different hitter this time around. Instead of looking lost at the plate, he’s the guy White Sox fans want to see at the plate in run-producing situations. He hasn’t spent much time in one of those traditional run-producing spots in the batting order, but manager Rick Renteria inserted Moncada into the cleanup spot Monday night.

And Moncada cleaned up, all right.

“I think we found our No. 4 hitter,” starting pitcher Ivan Nova said after he went the distance in a 9-1 waxing of the Miami Marlins. “A lot of times you get surprised. While he was hitting second, you're thinking and knowing, the type of hitter that he is — you're only thinking as a player, they have another way to think. But today, I think it was first time hit in fourth, and he showed.”

Moncada went 2-for-4 with the game’s biggest blow, a three-run homer in the fifth inning that blew things wide open. He drove in four runs on the night, and he flashed a potential glimpse of the future of this future-focused franchise.

Combining with Abreu, who went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three runs scored, Moncada showed what the middle of the order might look like for this team when rebuilding finally transitions to contending. That could come as soon as next year, and when you throw the currently injured Eloy Jimenez into that group, the White Sox could boast a fearsome 3-4-5 as soon as later this season.

“If someone is happy that we finally found a cleanup hitter, it’s me,” Abreu said through team interpreter Billy Russo. “Nothing that he does surprises me because I know all the talent he has. I know that he still can do more. He has been working hard. He’s a great baseball player with a lot of talent and I still think he can do more.

“What he did today is not a surprise for me. I still know he’s a great player and I think we’ve seen that throughout the whole season this year. He’s going to get better.”

Moncada has been sensational all season long, proving why the White Sox weren’t at all worried during his struggles in 2018. He owns a .304/.362/.530 slash line through these first 97 games, and his three-run blast Monday night gave him a new career high in that category after he smacked 17 a year ago. He’s six RBIs away from setting a new career high there, too. And even though he made a fielding error Monday that only briefly delayed Nova finishing off his complete-game effort, Moncada has been generally excellent at third base in his first season at that position as a big leaguer.

But putting Moncada in a run-producing spot in the order is a new wrinkle for Renteria this season. Coming into Monday’s game, Moncada had spent 63 games as the team’s No. 2 hitter and just 26 everywhere else. According to the skipper, Moncada is good enough to hit anywhere, and that’s certainly true. His eventual everyday spot in the lineup might have more to do with the hitters around him than simply what he can do by himself.

But if Moncada keeps up the kind of offensive production he’s churned out this season, maybe sticking him right in the thick of the order is what's best for the White Sox — even if those lineups of the future include big bats like those swung by Abreu, Jimenez, Luis Robert and Andrew Vaughn.

“For me, it's an advantage to hit in the cleanup spot having (Abreu) ahead of me,” Moncada said through Russo. “That way, you can see how the pitchers are attacking him, and you have a better idea, in those situations when you need to produce, how the pitchers are doing it. Even though he's a right-handed hitter and I hit from both sides of the plate, it's good. It's something that gives you a better idea of how the pitchers are doing, how their pitches are working.”

“He had a nice game,” Renteria said. “He can hit anywhere in the middle and the top of the order. I wish I could say I'm really a genius, but I'm not. He's got that talent. He's able to take advantage of it and today he had a nice day. He made everybody look good.”

It would make sense to see Moncada batting fourth again as this first homestand of the second half and the 2019 season roll on, but that’s up to Renteria, who has his reasons for every permutation to his lineups.

Of course, if Abreu gets ahold of Renteria's lineup card and starts writing out the batting orders, we’ll know where Moncada will be slotted.

“If I would have that decision,” Abreu said, “I would put him in the cleanup spot for the rest of the season.”

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