White Sox

White Sox staff shake-up coming?

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White Sox staff shake-up coming?

MILWAUKEE -- The White Sox starting rotation as you know it could be in line for a major overhaul in 2012.

That is if the Sox decide to go that route. If they do, those sharks Kenny Williams spoke about on Tuesday are ready and willing to take a large bite out of his staff.

Youd think that we had a team out there that actually got into the playoffs from the interest level that people are showing our players, particularly our pitchers, Williams said Wednesday. But you dont know what you ultimately will be able to get back until you really start drawing some lines in the sand, and theres no need for that right now.

Two of his most valuable pieces are starters John Danks and Gavin Floyd. Is it feasible that the White Sox would trade both of them?

That remains to be seen, Williams said. It depends on what you can ultimately get back if you do decide to move them. That hasnt been decided yet. Im not ruling anything out.

Meanwhile, free agent pitcher Mark Buehrle now reportedly has 13 teams interested in signing him. It sounds like it was a very busy and productive GM meetings for his agent Jeff Berry, who left Milwaukee on Wednesday morning. One team said to be in the hunt for Buehrle is the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose general manager Kevin Towers was quite coy when I asked him about his interest in Buehrle.

I dont want to really get into details, showing my hand on who we have interest in, but wed like to add another veteran starter, Towers said. Weve got a lot of depth with young pitchers, but another established starter would make our staff that much better.

He then added with a smile, There are some pitchers in Chicago that are pretty decent.

Whoever is starting for the White Sox next season will mainly be throwing to catcher AJ Pierzynski, whos under contract for one more year at 6 million. Back-up catcher Tyler Flowers showed promise at the end of the last season, but Williams would not concede how much playing time he might receive in 2012.

I think thats a question that leads me down a road I dont want to go down right now because thats disrespectful to Robin Ventura. Robin makes the lineup out and its too early because we dont know what the club is going to look like right now.

What Williams does know is that with some different GMs in place throughout the league, theres a different feel to the meetings this year.

I will say that the tone of these meetings is more serious and people are getting to the point a little sooner than usual, so I dont know if its a byproduct of this being a different group of guys because theres a lot of new guys around, or just the seriousness of the individual situations, that they want to get some things crossed off their list.

Apparently adding starting pitching is one of them.

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

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USA TODAY

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.