White Sox

White Sox: Jacob Turner starts spring in strong fashion


White Sox: Jacob Turner starts spring in strong fashion

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A familiar face peered out from behind the catcher’s mask Friday as Jacob Turner took the mound for the first time since last June.

Alex Avila, who also caught Turner’s 2011 debut with the Detroit Tigers, was behind the plate for the White Sox pitcher’s first appearance of the spring. Turner made a strong first impression on his new team and also received a positive review from his old teammate after he struck out two in two scoreless innings. The White Sox got home runs from Brett Lawrie, Adam LaRoche and Jason Coats in a 5-5 tie against the Cleveland Indians.

“(Turner) threw the ball great,” Avila said. “Good life on his fastball, both sides and threw some really good curveballs and changeups there. We’ve been working on a cutter that’s he getting more confidence in. Threw that a few times and looked good.”

Turner joined the White Sox last October when they claimed him off waivers and later signed a $1.5 million contract in December. The former first-round pick has battled elbow and shoulder injuries for the past two seasons. Last year, health limited Turner to two minor-league appearances for the Cubs in June. He has found good health and thrown the ball well between.

[MORE: Chris Sale makes most of side session]

But until Friday, Turner hadn’t been back on the mound.

“I felt like the game could have started at 10 o’clock when I got here today,” he said.

Aside from a second-inning walk, it didn’t show. The outing is a continuation of a strong spring for Turner, pitching coach Don Cooper said. Turner has felt healthy enough to even begin working on a cut-fastball.

“The last sideline he had, we challenged him and he passed it all,” Cooper said. “He did very very well on the sideline. He was very, very good and I don’t say that often. We’re hoping he can carry it. This kid has had some rough breaks and he seems to be past that.”

Turner hit 94 mph on the radar gun and also effectively used his curveball. He said he was a little off in the second inning when he struck out Zach Walters to strand runners on the corners.

But overall, Turner felt good.

It didn’t hurt to have Avila catching him, either.

“I haven’t done it in a while so there’s definitely probably more excitement than usual but it’s just fun to be out there competing again,” Turner said. “I’ve had spring training starts with other organizations in the past where I’ve thrown to a catcher and felt like I’ve met him that same day. It was nice to have (Avila) back there. He caught my major league debut so I’m definitely familiar.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Turner made six starts for the Tigers before they traded him and Rob Brantly to the Miami Marlins in 2012 in exchange for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. He stayed with the Marlins until he was designated for assignment and the Cubs acquired him on Aug. 8, 2014.

Avila can see a little difference in Turner, 24, this spring. He hopes the right-hander continues to throw as he has.

“He always had the great stuff and now I think he feels confident about himself that he could command his pitches,” Avila said. “He has been looking good all spring.

“He pitched well and it was nice to see. It was nice to catch him, too.”

The White Sox turned Comerica Park into a Home Run Derby in Saturday's win

The White Sox turned Comerica Park into a Home Run Derby in Saturday's win

Chicks dug the White Sox on Saturday.

The South Siders hit four home runs in their 8-3 dismantling of the Tigers at Comerica Park. Tim Anderson stayed red-hot with a pair of long balls, Jose Abreu went deep in addition to his pair of doubles, and Daniel Palka made some interesting history with his long ball (see below).

We'll let our stat guru Chris Kamka take it from here.

Since their 10-29 start the White Sox are a respectable 6-4. Days at the plate like Saturday sure help.

Charlie Tilson plays in Detroit for first time since getting injured in his MLB debut

Charlie Tilson plays in Detroit for first time since getting injured in his MLB debut

For over two years, Charlie Tilson was starting to look like his own version of "Moonlight" Graham, the player made famous in the movie "Field of Dreams" because he played in one major league game and never got to bat.

The White Sox traded for Tilson just before the trade deadline passed in 2016. Two days later he made his big league debut with the White Sox in Detroit. He got a single in his first at-bat, but left the game with an injury and missed the rest of the season. Tilson also missed all of the 2017 season and his MLB future was starting to come into question.

Back healthy, Tilson started this season in Triple-A Charlotte and hit .248 in 39 games when he got called up to replace Leury Garcia, who was placed on the disabled list. On Thursday, Tilson returned to a big league field for the first time in more than 20 months. He went 0-for-3 in a loss to Baltimore.

Friday marked a return to the site of Tilson's big league debut and the injury that made it such a brief stint. Tilson has now played three big league games, over the course of nearly 21 months, and two of them have been in Detroit.

Tilson went 1-for-4, meaning both his hits are in Comerica Park. The White Sox lost 5-4 after giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth.