White Sox

White Sox: Jose Abreu has worked on scooping throws out of dirt

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White Sox: Jose Abreu has worked on scooping throws out of dirt

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jose Abreu has always had soft hands over at first base.

Now, he wants to use them to improve his ability to scoop throws out of the dirt.

The White Sox first baseman grabbed yet another one-hopper at the bag to secure an out on Friday, one of several he’s managed to wrangle this spring.

[MORE: Jose Quintana looks sharp after rough first inning]

Shortstop Tyler Saladino remembers thinking “Oooh, that’s a tough one,” when he released the throw from deep in the hole. But Abreu stayed with it and hauled in another tough play to bail out his teammate.

“I’ve been working a little bit on that because in the beginning I was good, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with my work,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “Now, I feel very, very good. I’m much more confident.”

Abreu -- who had two hits in a 5-4 loss to Seattle Mariners -- said his only practice has come from taking extra grounders and working on how he handles throws in morning workouts.

Other notes:

While White Sox manager Robin Ventura won’t divulge how he plans to split playing time between Saladino and Jimmy Rollins, he won’t commit to the veteran as an everyday starter. Rollins is expected to win the starting job. But Saladino should see a fair amount of time.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“Especially with age and things like that, there will be definite periods when (Rollins is) going to need a rest,” Ventura said. “He’s better when he’s fresher. You can tell even out here, you get three in a row, the crispness that comes back with a day off. That’s just father time. It has nothing to do with his mindset or anything else. It’s just, there comes a time when guys get to that point where it’s better to get rest to become more effective when you’re in there.”

Rollins is hitting .324/.333/.649 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 37 at-bats this season. Saladino is hitting .258/.324/.645 with three homers and eight RBIs in 31 at-bats.

Jose Quintana's first start against the White Sox will come Friday

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USA TODAY

Jose Quintana's first start against the White Sox will come Friday

Well, the opening game of this weekend's Crosstown series on the South Side just got a lot more interesting.

The Cubs are juggling their rotation a bit as they head toward the postseason, and in doing so, Jose Quintana is now scheduled to pitch against his former club Friday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. It will be the first time he's faced the South Siders since last summer's trade that sent him to the other side of town.

Rick Hahn's front office shipped Quintana to the North Side in exchange for a package that included Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease. The trade initially looked like a winner for both teams, with the Cubs in win-now mode and the White Sox in rebuilding mode. It's looking even better for both sides at the moment.

Quintana has been on fire of late, with a 2.10 ERA in his last six starts. Meanwhile, Jimenez and Cease are arguably the two best prospects in the White Sox loaded farm system. Jimenez is ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the game after a big season swinging the bat, and Cease was the organization's best minor league pitcher this season, both guys sparking big expectations for the team's bright future.

While the Cubs have to be confident in Quintana with how well he's pitched of late, he's returning to a ballpark where pitching well didn't always end in wins. He infamously received an unbelievably small amount of run support during his otherwise terrific tenure on the South Side and posted just a 22-27 record in his 84 games (all but two of which were starts) at Guaranteed Rate Field. Of course, the win-loss record doesn't reflect the 3.59 ERA he posted there in a White Sox uniform.

Quintana will almost surely get a nice ovation from White Sox fans, who treated also-traded starting pitcher Chris Sale well in his return to the South Side last season, but this Crosstown series could have a little more meaning than most. The Cubs remain in a tight division battle with the Milwaukee Brewers, meaning the White Sox have an opportunity to play spoiler. And while Quintana won't be trying to strike out Jimenez or battling against Cease, his former club could have an opportunity to pour some rain on the Cubs' late-season parade.

White Sox Talk Podcast: What kind of player will Yoan Moncada become?

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: What kind of player will Yoan Moncada become?

Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber discuss the trials and tribulations of Yoan Moncada during his first full season in the majors and what kind of player they think he will become.

Plus, they talk about some White Sox buried treasure that Chuck found on the internet: Nolan Ryan pitching a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the White Sox from 1974 with audio from Harry Caray's call that night.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: