White Sox

White Sox promote Micah Johnson from Triple-A

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White Sox promote Micah Johnson from Triple-A

Micah Johnson knew what he needed to work on at Triple-A and how he needed to approach the situation.

Rather than sulk after he had been optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte on May 14, Johnson knew he strictly needed to focus on his defense and make the most of his time. Johnson, who was promoted from Charlotte on Tuesday, feels like he accomplished his goals. The second baseman hopes to show the White Sox how much he has developed defensively over the past three-plus months.

“Just be out there and show them what I’ve been working on for the past couple months,” Johnson said. “Show that I’m healthy and play the game that I’m used to playing. That’s playing fast, with energy and having fun.”

Johnson has already appeared in 27 games with the White Sox this season after he made the Opening Day roster. He hit .270/.333/.297 in 83 plate appearances before he was optioned.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Johnson had a .315/.375/.466 slash line with 17 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 36 RBI, 54 runs scored and 28 stolen bases in 353 plate appearances with Charlotte (78 games) this season.

The rookie said he wasn’t surprised by the move and knew it wasn’t because of anything he did at the plate.

“You don’t want to hear you never did a good enough job,” Johnson said. “It’s tough to hear. But at the same time, you understand what you need to work on. It was pretty well understood it wasn’t an offensive move. It was for me to work on some things defensively that I needed to work on. I respect their decision and I went down there and worked on those things.”

One area Johnson wasn’t tried was in the outfield where some believe he could wind up if he doesn’t work out at second base. But the White Sox opted not to try Johnson in the outfield at Charlotte or in the Arizona Rookie League in August as he rehabbed from a hamstring strain.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura doesn’t plan to try Johnson out anywhere other than second or as a designated hitter.

[ALSO: Ventura 'absolutely' wants to return as White Sox manager in 2016]

“If they would have done that previously of him being here I probably would have done that,” Ventura said. “But if they didn’t do it when he was in Triple-A, we’re not going to do it up here. We’ve got enough guys who can where we don’t need to move him around.”

Johnson intends to do his best to not overthink things. He only plans to continue to work on his defense and show the White Sox how much effort he’s put into it while at Charlotte.

“I’m at my best when I’m not really worrying about offense,” Johnson said. “When I just show up at the field, relax and not really worry about who’s pitching that day, or my swing. Offensively, it’s kind of different for me. Defensively, I gotta work on stuff. Defensively, I gotta be out there working on stuff and just finding a rhythm. For me, offense just kind of comes, defense is just something I gotta work on.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.