White Sox

White Sox still look to jumpstart struggling offense


White Sox still look to jumpstart struggling offense

They heavily invested in the offense in the offseason and the White Sox still think the group has yet to find its groove.

After 52 games, the White Sox are still doing what they can to get the level of the offense’s performance up to par.

On Friday night that meant the White Sox dropped Melky Cabrera from the second spot to sixth, swapping him with Alexei Ramirez, who also is struggling. Cabrera, who signed a $42-milllion deal in the offseason, has a .235/.272/.268 slash line, while Ramirez, a 2014 Silver Slugger winner, is hitting at a .226/.244/.313 clip.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“(Cabrera) would like to be doing better,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s a guy that his track record and his experiences, he would like to be doing better. He feels the responsibility of that and he doesn’t shy away from it. But he realizes he needs to do a little bit more and realizes he wants to do it.”

The same could be said for the majority of the lineup.

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The White Sox are on pace to score 595 runs this season despite free-agent deals for Cabrera and Adam LaRoche ($25 million over two years) as well as the signings of Gordon Beckham and Emilio Bonifacio to bolster the bench. Yet the only regulars with an OPS-plus above the league average of 100 are Jose Abreu (133), Avisail Garcia (118) and LaRoche (117). General manager Rick Hahn believes many of the struggling players are set to get back to their career norms, which would provide a boost to an offense that has scored three or fewer runs in 28 of 52 games.

“There’s a lot about the offense to like and we think there’s still a lot about the offense to like in terms of how it compliments each other, the power in the middle, the ability to run and show some athleticism and do some of the little things to help you win,” Hahn said. “But we just haven’t been consistent.”

Cabrera has only five extra-base hits this season after he had 54 in 2014 with the Toronto Blue Jays. But through an interpreter, Cabrera made it clear he’s still confident in his abilities.

Earlier this week, Cabrera said: “I don’t change anything in my game. I just try to keep my focus, try to keep my approach at the plate. Baseball is a hard sport. … You have to try to have confidence in your game and confidence in your work. That’s the only way that you can, sooner rather than later, get out of the slump.”

Rick Hahn says 'there will be many' promotions for White Sox prospects this week


Rick Hahn says 'there will be many' promotions for White Sox prospects this week

The White Sox have a number of highly-rated prospects performing well in the minors and some of them will be on the move within the system in a matter of days.

General manager Rick Hahn talked to reporters ahead of Monday night's White Sox game in Cleveland, a 6-2 loss, and gave the news. Well, sort of.

He didn't include names, but he did say that "there will be many" promotions after the minor league all-star games for Double-A and both Single-A teams take place on Tuesday.

Hahn added that Chris Getz, the White Sox player development director, will address the media before the White Sox host Oakland on Thursday about the moves.

If the all-star games are a reason to wait, it's safe to think some of the players involved will be playing in those games. So who could be on the move?

Double-A Birmingham has six all-stars: Eloy Jimenez, Zack Collins, Seby Zavala, Danny Mendick, Dane Dunning and Ian Hamilton. Jimenez is the name everyone wants to see on the move. He has torched the Southern League since getting off to a late start to the season due to injury. Hahn was asked about Jimenez, but didn't tip his hand as to whether he would be one of the promotions.

Dunning has been good in Double-A (2.78 ERA, 65 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings), but was already promoted this season so he may not be on the move again.

Single-A Winston-Salem has five all-stars: Dylan Cease, Luis Alexander Basabe, Joel Booker, Bernardo Flores and Matt Foster. Cease, 22, could be due for a promotion with a 2.89 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings. There's also that outfield logjam the Dash, which won the first-half division title, have had all season.

Other than Basabe and Booker, Blake Rutherford and Alex Call are also noteworthy prospects being forced to split time in the Dash's outfield. If Jimenez is moving up to Triple-A, one or two names from this group could be on the move to take his spot in Birmingham.

This would especially make sense if highly-touted outfield prospect Luis Robert, who was supposed to be in Single-A Kannapolis for a short period before joining the Dash, is ready to move up as planned. Robert is hitting .289/.360/.400 in 13 games with the Intimidators.

Birmingham, Winston-Salem and Kannapolis were all off Monday. The various all-star games will take place Tuesday and the three teams will be off again Wednesday. The promotions could be announced Thursday ahead of Getz's scheduled media availability.

Zack Burdi is pitching off a mound again


Zack Burdi is pitching off a mound again

Zack Burdi was thought of as a college pitcher who could make the major leagues quickly after he was drafted in 2016.

The White Sox drafted him 26th overall that year and it appeared his quick rise through the minors was going to come true. Burdi reached Triple-A Charlotte by the end of 2016 and had a 2.25 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 16 innings with the Knights.

However, he had Tommy John surgery in July and hasn't pitched in more than 11 months. The 23-year-old from Downers Grove is nearing his return and had video proof.

That's Burdi throwing off a mound, which means a rehab stint might not be far behind. Burdi may not getting into the full swing of things before the minor league season ends in early September, but this is a good sign for him being ready to go for spring training in 2019.

Before going on the disabled list, Burdi had a 4.05 ERA with 51 strikeouts and 17 walks in 33 1/3 innings with the Knights in 2017.