Yonder Alonso

White Sox officially designate Yonder Alonso for assignment among other roster moves

0628_yonder_alonso.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox officially designate Yonder Alonso for assignment among other roster moves

The White Sox officially moved on from Yonder Alonso on Friday, designating the veteran hitter for assignment a day after it was reported they would do just that.

Alonso was acquired in a December trade with the division-rival Cleveland Indians, and while fans focused on the fact he was the brother-in-law of mega free agent Manny Machado, who the White Sox pursued all winter, general manager Rick Hahn touted the 2017 All Star's offensive ability and mentorship potential inside the clubhouse.

On the field, none of that panned out, with Alonso posting a woeful .178/.275/.301 slash line with seven homers and 27 RBIs in his 67 games. Fans directed much of their frustrations at him, and the White Sox clearly started looking elsewhere for production both with Alonso's limited use during the month of June and the promotion of Zack Collins, who looked primed to further eat into at-bats that before the season started were allotted for Alonso.

Alonso's departure will dominate the conversation Friday, but it was one of four roster moves the White Sox made at the outset of a weekend series against the first-place Minnesota Twins.

Tim Anderson expectedly landed on the 10-day injured list after suffering a high ankle sprain Tuesday night at Fenway Park. The severity of the sprain is still unknown, but Anderson will miss at least 10 days and likely won't see any further action before the All-Star break, which comes in little more than a week. The team will certainly address what will happen at shortstop while Anderson is on the shelf, but it looks like Leury Garcia and Jose Rondon sharing duties there is a safe bet.

The White Sox also brought Daniel Palka back from Triple-A Charlotte, where the lefty slugger had been since being sent down on April 17. Palka notably began the 2019 season with the major league team but went hitless in his first 32 at-bats before picking up a pinch-hit single in that April 17 game against the Kansas City Royals. His 1-for-35 start prompted his being sent down to Charlotte, where he was able to turn things around, with a .271/.374/.548 slash line and 16 home runs in 59 games. Palka's power bat figures to replace the one the White Sox thought they were getting in Alonso, and a three-position timeshare of sorts between Jose Abreu, James McCann, Collins and Palka could be in the works at catcher, first base and DH, though Palka is capable of playing right field, as well, and will likely see time there, too.

Finally, the White Sox called up starting pitcher Ross Detwiler, who they signed as a minor league free agent earlier this season. The team's shredded starting-pitching situation adds another name at the big league level, and it'll be Detwiler getting the start Friday night against the high-powered Twins. It will be Detwiler's first big league start since the 2016 season. At Charlotte, the left-hander posted a 3.98 ERA in eight starts, striking out 35 batters in 43 innings.

Who knows how long Detwiler might be around. But Tommy John surgeries for Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodon, far more minor injuries that Dylan Covey and Manny Banuelos are still recovering from and the failed experiments of Ervin Santana and Odrisamer Despaigne have pushed the depth to its limits. The White Sox did recently sign Hector Santiago for his third go-round with the organization, and top pitching prospect Dylan Cease figures to make his major league debut before long. But right now, it's Detwiler.

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Report: White Sox designating struggling Yonder Alonso for assignment

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USA TODAY

Report: White Sox designating struggling Yonder Alonso for assignment

The White Sox are reportedly designating Yonder Alonso for assignment.

According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, the White Sox have decided to move on from Alonso, who they acquired in a trade with the division-rival Cleveland Indians in December.

While the move could be considered surprising due to the caliber of player Alonso has been in his career — he was an All Star just two seasons ago — what's inarguable is that Alonso is in the midst of a very disappointing 2019 campaign. Acquired in part to provide a presence in the middle of the White Sox lineup, he's been unable to do that and owns just a .178/.275/.301 slash line with seven home runs, 13 extra-base hits and 27 RBIs in 67 games.

Alonso was given an opportunity to figure things out by manager Rick Renteria, who kept the veteran in the middle of the batting order through the first two months of the season, all while fans focused their frustration on Alonso, constantly complaining on Twitter that he was still with the team.

For better or worse, those fans have now, reportedly, gotten their wish.

Somewhat unfairly, Alonso has remained connected to the White Sox failed pursuit of mega free agent Manny Machado in the minds of many fans. While general manager Rick Hahn lauded Alonso's attributes as a hitter and as a clubhouse presence after he was acquired, a large number of fans chose to see his relationship to Machado — Alonso is Machado's brother-in-law — as the main reason for his acquisition. And the lack of production since has made those opinions difficult to change.

As for what the White Sox would do from here, the first base/designated hitter timeshare Alonso was ticketed to have with Jose Abreu before the season started had already crumbled a significant amount. Renteria lessened Alonso's playing time considerably in June, with Alonso starting just eight of the team's 21 games this month. James McCann's emergence has provided another option at DH on days when McCann isn't catching. Zack Collins' recent promotion could produce a sort of three-way timeshare between Abreu, McCann and Collins. Collins is a catcher, but questions about his defense behind the plate, as well as McCann's currently immovable status as the No. 1 catcher, has forced him to try out first base, as well. So Abreu could maintain his stronghold on the playing time at first base, McCann could be the No. 1 catcher and Collins could be the go-to option at DH, subbing in on the field when those two need a day.

That's one possible option. Though with injured shortstop Tim Anderson likely heading to the injured list ahead of this weekend's series against the Minnesota Twins, a whole bunch of moves could be on the way and new faces could be up from the minor leagues. A potential call-up could come in the form of Daniel Palka, who would factor into that DH discussion, as well, though that's merely speculation that the White Sox would want to replace the power bat they thought they were getting in Alonso with another power bat in Palka.

None of this is official yet, of course, and we'll have to wait and see how the White Sox actually proceed.

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White Sox players speak in favor of extended netting after line drive hit young fan

White Sox players speak in favor of extended netting after line drive hit young fan

If we're considering the discussion over adding more protective netting to Major League Baseball stadiums a "debate," it's going to be hard to find much difference of opinion inside big league clubhouses.

All the White Sox players who spoke on the matter Thursday afternoon were in favor of extending the netting at ballparks across the league. A night earlier, a young girl was hit by a line drive off the bat of Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. Almora's emotional reaction went viral. But the day after, the talk was about what Major League Baseball can do to prevent that kind of thing from happening in the future.

One can argue that a rule extending protective netting should've been implemented prior to Wednesday night's incident in Houston. The league can respond by doing that now, and though the sample size was not large, it seems like such a decision would have the support of the players.

"I believe in netting completely all around. If not netting — I know the fans want to be close — just put up glass, like hockey," Yonder Alonso said. "There's a reason why in our dugout we always have protection, we have a net or a fence. But three feet behind us is the fans, and they have nothing.

"There's times when close calls come into the dugout and we can't even get out of the way. We're professionals, some guys have gloves, you're trying to get out of the way and we still get hit. So imagine a fan, who's probably eating some popcorn, they have no time."

While this danger has always existed for fans attending games, time has perhaps increased the damage that a line drive can do. Players are bigger and stronger and hitting the ball harder than ever, especially with such a focus on exit velocities. And of course every fan in the stands being equipped with a phone makes for less time locked into the game, no matter how intense your fandom might be.

"Guys are hitting the ball harder. We have 110-plus mile an hour exit velocities all the time now, line drives just flying into the stands," Lucas Giolito said. "You know, if everyone had a glove and everyone was fully aware, maybe not so much an issue, but sometimes you can’t even get out of the way.

"Like, even if you have the glove and you’re ready and you see the ball there might be spin on it where you’re not going to be able to react well no matter how athletic you are or if you have baseball experience. It’s just going to happen. So I think that more netting would help so that didn’t happen as much."

While there might be groans from a few who don't like sitting behind the netting, extending it to make fans safer seems like a no-brainer. Rules extending netting to the ends of the dugouts in recent years haven't prevented fans from sitting in those seats. It's doubtful teams would experience much of an increase in difficulty selling seats down the line if netting were installed all the way to the foul poles in big league parks.

"It's only for the safety of the fans," Alonso said. "I think it's crazy when a fan gets hit. There are foul balls that go in the upper deck, and fans still get hit. And you see them later on, they're hurting. So imagine (being) just 100 feet away.

"You've got to enjoy yourself. Enjoy your drink, enjoy your cheeseburger, have a talk, enjoy the baseball game for what it is. But it's coming. It's coming, and when it comes, it's dangerous."

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