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White Sox: Sale, Samardzija suspended five games each

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White Sox: Sale, Samardzija suspended five games each

Major League Baseball suspended White Sox starters Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija five games each for their roles in Thursday night’s brawl with Kansas City.

Both players will appeal their suspensions and make their scheduled starts next week in Baltimore, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. Four Royals players were suspended as well: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (seven games), right-hander Edinson Volquez (five games), outfielder Lorenzo Cain (two games) and right-hander Kelvin Herrera (two games).

The White Sox haven’t determined a course of action in case Sale and/or Samardzija lose their appeals, though the club will skip right-hander Hector Noesi’s turn in the rotation — John Danks is scheduled to face Volquez in Sunday afternoon’s season finale following Saturday's rainout. Volquez would have to appeal his suspension to start Sunday.

Hahn said it’s “too early” for the club to make a decision on giving recently-promoted left-hander Carlos Rodon a spot start in place for Sale or Samardzija.

“Certainly Carlos is stretched out and does have the ability to start should he be needed,” Hahn said. “At the same time we need to balance that against keeping him on the current program as well as some of the other potential alternatives we have within the system to make a spot start should we get to that point.”

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The fact the White Sox may have to look for alternatives for their two top starters — and right-hander Matt Albers, who will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a finger injury sustained in the brawl — is part of why Hahn said he wished “the whole thing had not happened.” But the third-year general manager said he was pleased with the players involved in the brawl showing remorse and taking responsibility for their actions.

Hahn did say the brawl may foster team unity, though that appears to be more of a pyrrhic victory given the loss of Albers and potential losses of Sale and Samardzija. But Hahn doesn’t want to see Sale or Samardzija — especially Sale, who’s been involved in some dust-ups in the past — change who they are because of the repercussions of Thursday’s fight.

Hahn said he talked with Sale Friday and Saturday about attempting to confront Ventura in the visitor’s clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field and, while keeping the details private, said the conversations were good.

“Part of what makes these guys good is the competitive fire,” Hahn said. “Part of what makes a guy a front-end starter is that fight, that passion and the desire to excel between the lines. Certainly that’s part of their makeup and sometimes that carries over outside of the lines. As they continue in their big league careers and mature, they realize how to ideally keep that between the lines.

"But in terms of Chris’ makeup or character, anything along those lines, no, there’s absolutely no concern. He has a special makeup and that’s part of what makes him great.”

After homering for his first MLB hit, Zack Collins was 'in shock'

After homering for his first MLB hit, Zack Collins was 'in shock'

The young players that figure to feature heavily in the future of the White Sox have had quite a week.

It started with Lucas Giolito being the first pitcher in the majors to reach 10 wins, then Eloy Jimenez blasted a big go-ahead home run in the ninth inning in his first crosstown game against the Cubs. Now, Zack Collins has added his own blast of optimism to the White Sox young core.

The 24-year-old made his first major league start on Friday in Texas and delivered a three-run home run in his first at-bat. It was his second MLB plate appearance after he drew a pinch-hit walk Wednesday in Wrigley.

After the White Sox beat the Rangers 5-4 in 10 innings, Collins talked to Jason Benetti and Steve Stone on the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast.

“Honestly I was just in shock,” Collins said. “I was running around the bases. It seemed like it lasted like three seconds and I felt myself sprinting around second so I had to slow it down and enjoy the moment, but it was an awesome time.”

Collins finished 1-for-5 with three strikeouts, but that is Collins’ game. He’s going to strikeout a lot and his batting average probably won’t be pretty. He has a career .234 batting average in the minors (.250 in Triple-A Charlotte this year), but he coupled that with a .378 on-base percentage and big power.

In his five trips to the plate on Friday, Collins saw 22 pitches. He’s going to work the count and sometimes he’s going to run into home runs.

“It was smooth,” Collins said. “I just kind of put the ball in play and the ball flew. I really don’t know. It was kind of a blur to me. It was obviously a big moment for me.”

Collins was called up Tuesday morning ahead of the first game against the Cubs. He didn’t play that game, but the pinch-hit walk on Wednesday helped take out some of the nerves.

“On Wednesday night I stepped up, I had a little bit of jitters, had a little bit of butterflies and stuff, but I think that was the point of getting in there on Wednesday and getting all that out,” Collins said. “It felt good tonight.”

Collins still hasn’t played catcher since he got called up. He was the DH in Friday’s lineup. That didn’t stop his dad from being excited about his first start.

“I was pumped,” Collins said of when he saw he was in the lineup. “I immediately texted my dad and told him I was in there. He told me good luck, play hard, do your thing. Obviously it started off well and we got a big win tonight so it was fun.”

As of the postgame interview, Collins didn’t yet have his home run ball. However, it sounded like he was able to make a deal with a fan for it.

“Somebody said they did get the ball,” Collins said. “I think I have to make a little trade with somebody.”

 

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WATCH: Zack Collins hits a three-run homer for his first MLB hit

WATCH: Zack Collins hits a three-run homer for his first MLB hit

Zack Collins started his MLB career in fitting fashion, with a walk.

In his next trip to the plate, he hit a home run.

Collins came on as a pinch-hitter Wednesday at the Cubs and drew that walk. Friday's game at Texas was his first start. The 2016 first-round pick entered the lineup as a DH and batted eighth.

He came up with two on and two out against Rangers starter Ariel Jurado. Collins, as he is known for, took the first three pitches before fouling off a curve on a 2-1 count. Then he took a slider deep to right-center.

Watch Collins' home run in the video above.

Collins is known for three things as a hitter: home runs, walks and strikeouts. Before getting called up from Triple-A Charlotte, Collins was hitting .250/.374/.482. He had nine home runs in 50 games with 36 walks and 66 strikeouts. He was sixth in the International League in walks while playing fewer games due to splitting time at catcher.

In a very short time period, Collins is showing what the White Sox thought they were getting when they drafted him 10th overall in 2016.

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