White Sox

White Sox eyeing Carlos Rodon, Scott Carroll for spot starts


White Sox eyeing Carlos Rodon, Scott Carroll for spot starts

Scott Carroll is back in Chicago and could be an option when the White Sox need a spot starter to take a suspended Chris Sale and/or Jeff Samardzija’s turn in the rotation. But Carroll’s presence — his contract was purchased and he was promoted Sunday to replace the injured Matt Albers — doesn’t mean Carlos Rodon has been ruled out of making his first major league start in the coming weeks.

Manager Robin Ventura said both Carroll and Rodon will be considered when the appeals process for Sale and Samardzija comes to a conclusion and it’s determined if their respective five-game suspensions will be upheld and when those will start. Both pitchers are scheduled to make their next starts, with Hector Noesi starting Monday, Samardzija Tuesday and Sale Wednesday in Baltimore.

“It's a possibility (Rodon) gets a start in there for one of these guys,” Ventura said. “With yesterday being the way it was, guys got a little bit of rest, but he definitely becomes in the equation of getting a start out of one of these.”

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Rodon has appeared in one game since he was promoted to the majors a week ago, as the left-hander relieved Noesi Tuesday night against Cleveland. The 2014 No. 3 overall pick said he’s confident in his ability to swing between the bullpen and rotation if need be — he threw 60 pitches in relief against the Indians and 87 in each of his two Triple-A starts prior to his promotion.

“If I have to make a start I’ll make a start whenever that is,” Rodon said. “I’ll find out if that happens.”

To make room for Carroll on the 40-man roster, the White Sox designated left-hander Eric Surkamp for assignment on Sunday.

The 30-year-old Carroll was promoted to the White Sox right around this time last year — he made his MLB debut April 27, 2014 vs. Tampa Bay — and said he feels confident in his second go-around with the club. He was designated for assignment in the winter but re-signed as a minor league free agent in large part due to the familiarity he has with the organization.

Carroll, too, is a native of Liberty, Mo., a suburb northeast of Kansas City. So while he wasn’t here for Thursday night’s brawl, he heard plenty from his friends back home about it — and, because of it, now has another shot in the big leagues.

“I’m hearing from all of my K.C. people what’s going on, like ‘Hey what are your boys doing to our boys,’ “ Carroll said. “It’s interesting but I see it from the outside just as much, on my phone when I was in Norfolk (with Triple-A Charlotte). It’s kind of crazy the way things turned out. But I’m just excited for my opportunity and I want to help the team as much as I can.”

Suspended catcher Welington Castillo working his way back to White Sox with minor league rehab stint


Suspended catcher Welington Castillo working his way back to White Sox with minor league rehab stint

With about a week until the end of his 80-game suspension, Welington Castillo his making his way back to the White Sox.

The veteran catcher joined Triple-A Charlotte for a rehab assignment Friday, in the Knights' lineup for their afternoon game.

Castillo has been serving his suspension since May 24, when Major League Baseball handed down its punishment for his testing positive for a banned substance. He's eligible to return Aug. 23, just nine days before rosters expand.

The White Sox added Castillo over the offseason after he had career years offensively and defensively with the Baltimore Orioles during the 2017 season. The hope was he could provide a veteran presence and help out with the development of the team's young pitching staff — and of course that his bat could help bolster the team's everyday lineup. A two-year contract with an option for a third meant that if all went well, Castillo could be around for the start of the team's transition from rebuilding to contending, a sort of bridge to top catching prospect Zack Collins.

Things obviously did not work out as planned, and Castillo has missed months of time working with the pitchers while he's served his suspension.

Still, his return will perhaps be a welcome help to young pitchers still learning how to succeed against major league lineups, guys like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, who have had inconsistent first full campaigns in the big leagues — not to mention any young pitchers who might be called up from the minor leagues over the season's final month and a half.

As for the team's catching situation, Omar Narvaez has done very well at the plate since taking over as the starting catcher when Castillo was suspended. Since the beginning of June, Narvaez is slashing .356/.433/.559, and his season batting average of .282 is one of the highest on the team. Kevan Smith, the No. 2 catcher, is hitting .283 on the season. Castillo will return with a .267/.309/.466 slash line in 33 games he played in before being suspended.

Despite midseason slump, Jose Abreu is moving toward a fifth straight season of 25 homers and 100 RBIs

Despite midseason slump, Jose Abreu is moving toward a fifth straight season of 25 homers and 100 RBIs

When Jose Abreu went to the All-Star Game — voted in as the starting first baseman for the American League squad — he was of course deserving as an incredibly consistent performer through his first four seasons in the big leagues and his role as the face of the White Sox.

But the numbers weren't looking so good in mid July. An extended slump had Abreu looking very un-Abreu-like, perhaps heading toward his worst statistical season since arriving in the majors from Cuba ahead of his 2014 Rookie of the Year campaign.

At the close of the first half, he was slashing .253/.311/.441 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs, a far cry from the .301/.359/.524 slash line he put up through his first four seasons, when he also joined Albert Pujols and Joe DiMaggio as the only players ever to start their careers with a quartet of 25-homer, 100-RBI campaigns.

But Abreu, who's been a very good second-half hitter during his career, is on a hot streak that's powering his way back to his version of normal. And it's looking like he could again reach the numbers we're so used to seeing from him by season's end.

After a one-homer, three-hit, three-RBI day in Wednesday afternoon's win over the Detroit Tigers, Abreu is up to .268/.327/.484 on the campaign with 21 homers and 73 RBIs. That puts him nine homers and 27 RBIs away from the mark he's hit in each of his first four seasons with 42 games left in the season. It's not at all unreasonable to suggest he'll be able to do that, as he's hit eight homers and driven in 21 runs in his last 22 games.

He'd have to be some kind of dialed-in for the remainder of 2018 to bump the averages back to where they've been in recent seasons. But here's the kind of hot streak he's on now: Since the start of the second half, Abreu is slashing .323/.385/.646. And that's not too crazy when you realize how good he's been in the second half in his career. Coming into Wednesday's game, his career second-half stat line looked like this: a .314/.381/.540 slash line with 61 homers and 199 RBIs in 303 games.

For the White Sox, the confidence was always there that Abreu was going to snap out of the extended slump that saw him slash .180/.230/.308 from May 27 to the end of the first half, and he's done exactly that. Now, he's hot enough that he's inspiring confidence he could return to some of his regular numbers by season's end. It's that kind of consistency, coupled with his off-the-field value, that makes the team think so highly of him and could keep him around long enough for the rebuilding process to yield a perennial contender on the South Side.