White Sox

White Sox welcome Blackhawks, Stanley Cup to U.S. Cellular Field

6-21-white-sox-blackhawks-stanley-cup-day.png

White Sox welcome Blackhawks, Stanley Cup to U.S. Cellular Field

Wearing a White Sox home jersey with his name and No. 65 emblazoned on the back, Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw emerged from the third base dugout and hoisted the Stanley Cup above his head as U.S. Cellular Field let out a collective roar.

The White Sox welcomed Shaw, defenseman Michal Rozsival, assistant Kevin Dineen, coach Joel Quenneville and the Stanley Cup to the south side before Sunday’s Father’s Day series finale against Texas. The entire White Sox team raced out of the dugout to take a photo with the historic trophy on the pitcher’s mound and Quenneville threw out the first pitch.

[MORE SOX: Zach Putnam becoming a strikeout machine out of White Sox bullpen]

“It’s the coolest trophy by far,” manager Robin Ventura said. “The fact that it’s a cup and the stories that go with it, guys that have played a long time, you hear some of the stories it has been through. It’s cool. Just the way they treat it, and it’s fun. It’s fun for it to be in our city.”

Shaw was here yesterday (without the Cup) and got a standing ovation from the U.S. Cellular Field crowd when he was shown on the center field video board. On Saturday, he brought the Stanley Cup to 35th and Shields for its third appearance at U.S. Cellular Field.

White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton, who wasn’t in Chicago for the 2010 and 2013 championships, said he’s been blown away by how the city supports the Blackhawks — and just how good the team has been over the last few years.

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“It’s remarkable,” Eaton said. “For what they’ve done and the dynasty they’ve put together in the last six years, it’s been incredible. I’m excited for them, I’m excited to meet the guys and if they have any tidbits.

“I talked to Andrew Shaw briefly yesterday and I said ‘yeah, I’ve been struggling,’ and he said ‘you know, we all go through it, it’s something that athletes go through and you come out on the other end better.’ Just being around those guys and in the same city, we’re blessed to be here with them as well.”

 

Zack Burdi is pitching off a mound again

burdi-618.jpg
USA TODAY

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.

James Shields, Joakim Soria and some other potential midseason trade candidates for the White Sox

shields-617.jpg
USA TODAY

James Shields, Joakim Soria and some other potential midseason trade candidates for the White Sox

Another day, another quality start for James Shields.

The White Sox once more didn’t win a Shields start. Despite an increasingly good-looking season stat line, Shields can’t seem to rack up many wins, with just two to his name on the season. But of course, wins are not exactly the most important barometer in this rebuilding campaign.

Speaking of the rebuild, the White Sox are getting closer to the trade deadline, it’s about a month and a half away. And Shields’ continued success could have Rick Hahn’s phone ringing as July 31 creeps closer. After six innings and three runs in Sunday’s loss to the visiting Detroit Tigers, Shields has seven quality starts in his last 10 outings,

After last season’s struggles that ended in a 5.23 ERA and 27 home runs surrendered, getting anything for Shields might’ve seemed a bit of a fantasy. But Shields has delivered, especially since the end of a rocky April.

“It’s very important to try to eat as many innings as you possibly can,” Shields said of his consistent efforts of late. “Early on in the season, we were ruining our bullpen by not going deep into games. My main focus is to go as deep as I possibly can. … Consistency’s the name of the game.”

Does it make him one of the most attractive names on the market? No, probably not. Is it going to fetch a highly ranked prospect? No, probably not. But it might fetch something, and in a season where guys believed to be afterthoughts like Dylan Covey and Daniel Palka are working their way into the conversation about the White Sox future, who wouldn’t want something added to this rebuilding effort?

And Shields isn’t the only White Sox player who could bring something back.

The bullpen was stocked with potential sign-and-flip guys over the offseason, and a few of those veteran arms have had good runs that could earn them a similar fate to the bulk of last year’s relief corps. Anthony Swarzak, Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, Dan Jennings and Tyler Clippard were all dealt away last summer. Could Hahn employ a similar strategy this season?

The bullpen hasn’t been quite as good as it was last year, which made all of those players attractive additions for contending teams around the league. But veterans like Joakim Soria, Luis Avilan, Bruce Rondon, Xavier Cedeno — guys who hoped to rediscover some old magic — could still draw interest.

Soria owns a 3.12 ERA. Avilan’s is at 3.10. Cedeno hasn’t given up a run in his six relief appearances. Rondon has shown blow-em-away stuff at times. It’s been a nice recovery for some of these sign-and-flip veterans.

“They’ve had an opportunity to get their chances to work on different things and become really effective performers,” manager Rick Renteria said of some of his veteran relievers prior to Sunday’s game. “I think Joakim has risen his level of game back what he was pre last couple years, I think he’s reinvented himself a little bit. He has an up-down breaking ball now, he’s continuing to attack the strike zone, he’s throwing 93 miles an hour with his fastball, he’s commanding the zone. He’s doing everything he can to be as good a closer as he was in the past. His history and his experience also allow him some confidence to be put in situations to close out ballgames.”

Soria could perhaps draw the most interest because closers are often in demand in July. But last year’s trade-a-thon showed that teams are willing to trade prospects away for relief help of any kind. Many of the return pieces in those deals might not get rebuild-loving prospect followers thrilled. Casey Gillaspie and Ryan Cordell haven’t exactly put their names at the forefront of the discussion about 2020 and beyond. But remember that Blake Rutherford came over in the deal that sent Robertson and Kahnle out of town (Todd Frazier went to the New York Yankees in that trade, too). So an acquisition that could improve the rebuild can most definitely happen, even with middle relievers.

There’s no guarantee that any of these guys, be it Shields in the rotation or any of the arms out in the bullpen, will get traded or even draw significant interest. But for a team in the White Sox position, you’d have to assume they’d be open to making a deal and getting something to add to this rebuilding process.