White Sox

White Sox name Jason Benetti new announcer, extend contracts of Harrelson, Stone

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White Sox name Jason Benetti new announcer, extend contracts of Harrelson, Stone

The White Sox named local product Jason Benetti to their TV broadcast team on Wednesday and extended the contracts of Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone.

Benetti, 32, is set to call 81 games next to Stone in 2016 as Harrelson starts a reduced schedule.

Harrelson, who is beginning his 32nd season in the team’s broadcast booth, will call 81 games, 78 of which come on the road. The longtime play-by-play man is also expected to be in the booth for the home opener and when the Cubs play two games at U.S. Cellular Field in July. Now in his ninth season with the White Sox, Stone’s schedule is expected to remain the same.

[RELATED - Brett Lawrie is one of four White Sox players to file for arbitration]

Benetti, who grew up a White Sox fan, has called college basketball, football, baseball and lacrosse at ESPN since 2011. He also previously served as the radio play-by-play man for the Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

“Jason is one of the top up-and-coming voices in sports television,” vice president of sales and marketing Brooks Boyer said in a release. “He is a homegrown talent who will mix a love for the game with a deep knowledge of the White Sox and an informative and entertaining style. We believe Sox fans will immediately connect with his humor, intellect and personality.”

A graduate of Homewood-Flossmoor High, Benetti graduated in 2005 from Syracuse University, where he earned a bachelor degree in broadcast journalism, economics and psychology. He also attended Wake Forest University’s school of law. Prior to joining ESPN, Benetti worked for Fox Sports 1, Westwood One Radio and Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.

“Joining the White Sox television team of Ken Harrelson and Steve Stone — with the chance to work with Steve on home games — is truly a dream come true for a kid who grew up in the south suburbs watching Sox games during the 1990s,” Benetti said. “This is beyond exciting for me.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Benetti was born with cerebral palsy and works with the “Just Say Hi’ campaign launched the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.

“The way I look or walk is such a small part of who I am as a person,” Benetti said.  “I like to joke that, fortunately, I chose a profession where all I needed was my voice, not my legs. I have always felt that if I can help one other person, or if I can help change one person’s attitude about how they perceive others, then I have made a positive difference.”

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

White Sox prospect Luis Robert headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more playing time after injuries limited to 50 games in 2018.

He just got hurt in the Arizona Fall League.

Robert is playing with the Glendale Desert Dogs in the AFL and left Friday's game with an injury.

It's not clear what the injury was, but Robert walked off on his own power. He also has pulled out of the Bowman Hitting Challenge (a modified home run derby) that will take place Saturday.

Robert, the No. 4 White Sox prospect and No. 44 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was 1-for-3 in Friday's game before exiting. He has hit safely in all four games in the AFL, going 5-for-17 (.294) with a walk and three strikeouts, but no extra base hits.

The 21-year-old is the third youngest player on the team and the AFL is a respected offseason league for prospects. A good showing from Robert would be a sign that he is beginning to develop his talent into playable tools.

The injury could be minor so no need to ring the alarm bells yet, but the AFL season is barely more than a month long. Even a short-term injury could prevent him from making up for some of the lost playing time from the 2018 minor league season.

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

The White Sox have a hole or two to plug in their starting rotation. Could Sonny Gray be an answer?

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday that he's looking to trade Gray away from the Bronx this winter.

Gray isn't as attractive an add as he was a few years back, when he was coming off a sensational 2015 campaign that saw him post a 2.73 ERA and log 208 innings. He went to the All-Star Game and finished third in the AL Cy Young vote that year.

Since, he's been less successful. He made just 22 starts with the Oakland Athletics in 2016 and had a 5.69 ERA. The following season, he started with a strong 3.43 ERA in 16 starts for the A's before the midseason trade that sent him to the Yankees, where he made 11 starts with a 3.72 ERA. This season didn't go too well, earning Gray a move to the bullpen. He finished with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games, only 23 of those being starts. He threw just 29.1 innings over his final 10 appearances of the season, three of which were starts. He had a 5.26 ERA with 50 walks in 113 innings as a starter in 2018.

Those numbers won't leap off the page (in a positive way) for anyone, but there's no doubt that a potential deal for Gray would be a low-risk move for the White Sox. For a team looking to add 40 percent of a starting rotation, being able to do so cheaply — be it from a dollar or prospect standpoint — would be a good thing, especially if the strategy ends up being to simply add one-year fill-ins while Michael Kopech recovers from Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease makes his way to the major leagues.

However, Gray's 57-walk total from the 2018 season could be something the White Sox would want to stay away from. After all, White Sox pitchers led the AL with 653 walks this season. They also had five of the top 21 walk-issuing pitchers in the Junior Circuit: Lucas Giolito led the league with 90, James Shields was third with 78, Reynaldo Lopez was fifth with 75, Hector Santiago was 15th with 60, and Carlos Rodon was 21st with 55. Gray slotted in right ahead of Rodon.

But Gray has obviously produced results in the past, and whether the White Sox are looking to simply plug the holes in the 2019 staff or potentially find a sign-and-flip candidate for the 2019 trade deadline — he's slated to hit free agency after the 2019 season — Gray could fit that bill. One thing's for sure: He's available.