White Sox

White Sox drop opener to Rangers

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White Sox drop opener to Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)Colby Lewis struck out nine in his first opening day start, Ian Kinsler homered and the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers began the season with a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday.

Kinsler, unable to reach a deal on a new long-term contract before his self-imposed deadline of opening day to end negotiations, had a leadoff double in the first and scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Hamilton. Kinsler hit a solo homer in the third.

The loss spoiled the managerial debut of Robin Ventura, who before the game had his first meeting with Nolan Ryan since charging the mound 19 seasons earlier against the Hall of Fame pitcher. Ryan is now president, CEO and part-owner of the Rangers.

It was a picture-perfect day75 degrees under blue skiesfor the Rangers opener, which came just more than five months after they twice came within one strike of a World Series championship before losing in seven games to St. Louis.

Lewis (1-0) walked only one over six innings, throwing 70 of 100 pitches for strikes. The only other Rangers pitcher with nine strikeouts in a season opener was Ryan in 1991.

Alexi Ogando, an All-Star and 13-game winner as a starter last season, is back in the bullpen and struck out all three batters in faced in the seventh after Texas regained the lead and Lewis left.

New Rangers closer Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth for the save.

Hamilton, the slugger and former AL MVP who can become a free agent after this season, had a leadoff single in the sixth off White Sox starter John Danks (0-1). Hamilton scored to break a 2-all tie on a single by Michael Young, the longest-tenured Ranger starting his 12th season.

Adam Dunn homered leading off the sixth for the White Sox, tying a major league record with his eighth opening day home run when he pulled a ball into the second deck of seats in right field. Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey Jr. are the only other major leaguers who have eight homers in openers.

Dunn batted third in the White Sox lineup. Last year, the highly paid slugger hit .159 with only 11 homers while striking out 177 times in 415 at-bats.

Alex Rios was hit by a pitch with two outs in the White Sox sixth, and the speedster was on the run when Alexi Ramirez singled to left. Rios scored to tie it at 2.

Danks first opening day start came in the stadium he visited often growing up in Austin about three hours away and where he always expected to pitch an opener after being drafted ninth overall by Texas in 2003. But he was traded to Chicago in December 2006, and got a new 65 million, five-year contract from the White Sox this winter.

Ventura, a surprise hire by the White Sox after Ozzie Guillen went to be Miamis manager, hadnt spoken to Ryan since charging the mound against him on a hot August night at old Arlington Stadium in 1993. Ryan, 20 years older and in the last year of his playing career, got Ventura in a headlock and landed several blows. Ventura was then a 26-year-old third baseman for the White Sox.

Before Fridays opener, Ryan went to the White Sox clubhouse and visited with Ventura.

Notes

It is the sixth time Dunn has homered in the first game of the season. He twice had two homers on opening day, in 2005 and 2007 while with Cincinnati. The 13 strikeouts by Texas pitchers were a record for opening day. The previous record was 11, in that 1991 opener when Ryan had nine.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

White Sox free agent focus: Turning to Marcell Ozuna to fill out the outfield

White Sox free agent focus: Turning to Marcell Ozuna to fill out the outfield

Baseball free agency is heating up as the weather gets colder. This week we are breaking down 10 potential free-agent targets for the White Sox ahead of the Winter Meetings.

Marcell Ozuna, OF, Cardinals

Age: 29

2019 salary: $12,250,000

2019 stats: .241 BA, .328 OBP, .472 SLG, .800 OPS, 29 HR, 89 RBI, 80 R, 12/14 SB 

What Ozuna would bring to the White Sox

Ozuna appeared on the verge of becoming an elite star like Anthony Rendon after a breakout season in 2017 with the Marlins. Ozuna came up at 22 and had decent years early in his career. He improved upon his first few years with 37 home runs, 124 RBIs and a .924 OPS as a 26-year-old.

Unlike Rendon, who broke through in 2017 and has sustained that for three seasons now, Ozuna's breakout year appears to be more of a flash in the pan. Ozuna was traded to the Cardinals before the 2018 season and saw a dropoff in his production.

His power and walk rate took big dips in 2018, although he bounced back in both last season. However, he hit .241, which was the lowest batting average of his career.

Ozuna had a career-high walk rate (11.3%) and had the second-best extra-base hit and home run rates of his career (he was only better in those areas in 2017). His strikeout rate (20.8%) was in line with his career average. So what went wrong? His batting average of balls in play was a career-worst .257, which suggests that maybe he's due for some form of bounce back in 2020 as far as batting average.

To simplify all that, Ozuna was good in some areas and inexplicably poor (and maybe unlucky) in others. Does that mean he will return to his big 2017 year wherever he signs? Probably not, but it does help to alleviate some of the feeling of risk for a player who has been inconsistent in his career.

Defensively, Ozuna has a Gold Glove on his resume from 2017, but the stats say he's just an average fielder. Not to mention, he's become infamous for this fielding gaffe.


What it would take to get him

He's young with a mostly positive track record offensively and if he can recreate his 2017 season offensively, he's an all-star outfielder. He won't be cheap, but he has enough question marks to come up just short of $20 million per year.

Ozuna should be able to get four or five years in the mid-to-upper teens per year, similar to fellow outfield free agent Nicholas Castellanos.

Why it's a fit for the White Sox

The White Sox need a corner outfielder. He fills a position of need, adds depth, patience and power to the lineup and won't be a liability in the field.

Ozuna isn't the splashiest signing the White Sox could make, but it makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons.

Latest rumors

White Sox add flamethrowing Tayron Guerrero to bullpen

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USA TODAY

White Sox add flamethrowing Tayron Guerrero to bullpen

The White Sox added a flamethrower to their bullpen.

Tayron Guerrero is the newest member of the White Sox relief corps, the team claiming the 28-year-old right-hander off waivers from the Miami Marlins on Friday.

Guerrero's most eye-catching attribute is his triple-digit fastball. He averaged 98.9 mph on his four-seam fastball in 2019 and threw the second most 100-mph pitches (178) of any pitcher in baseball. He posted a 10.6 K/9 in 2018.

But throwing hard and giving up runs are two different things. In 2019, Guerrero had a 6.26 ERA, a number that jumped up from the already less-than-ideal 5.43 ERA he turned in a year prior. He also had some trouble locating said fireball, walking 36 batters in 46 relief innings in 2019 for a ridiculously high 7.0 BB/9.

Still, this type of addition was signaled as perhaps the primary way the White Sox would add to their bullpen this offseason. With so many other items on Rick Hahn's offseason to-do list and the back end of the bullpen being a pretty stable part of the roster, the general manager said that small signings and waiver claims would continue to be part of the strategy when it comes to making additions to the relief corps.

Hahn referenced the team's acquisitions of Evan Marshall, who was signed to a minor league contract last winter, and Jimmy Cordero, who was claimed off waivers in the middle of the 2019 season, as moves to emulate going forward.

"All 30 teams will tell you ... that adding more bullpen pieces is an offseason priority, and we're no exception," Hahn said during his end-of-season press conference in September. "Cordero's been a nice find, as has been Marshall, but that's not going to stop us from continuing to potentially take guys off waivers like Cordero or (sign) minor league free agents like Marshall.

"It's going to go into this offseason continuing to be a place we want to add because relievers are tricky. You see it every year, guys go from the top of the list to the bottom and back."

As Hahn frequently says, you can never have too much pitching, and while this might be a low-risk move, it could end up proving fruitful, as those Cordero and Marshall moves did.

Spending on money on more proven guys has also been a part of the White Sox strategy in this department in the recent past. Hahn's front office gave Kelvin Herrera a two-year deal just last winter. But as Herrera showed during a rough first year of that contract, even guys with good track records can lead to easy second-guessing on those kinds of deals. So building up depth through less splashy means figures to be a good idea, regardless of the results.

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