White Sox

Dont look for Rizzo when Cubs play interleague

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Dont look for Rizzo when Cubs play interleague

SAN FRANCISCO No matter how much this lineup could use a jolt, dont expect to see Anthony Rizzo when the Cubs resume interleague play this weekend.

Theres no timetable, manager Dale Sveum said Monday. Right now, theres no thought of it.

That essentially confirmed what we knew going in, that the Cubs are leaning to the side of player development and dont want to burn major-league service time. A promotion by late June is a more realistic target date.

Rizzo is hitting .356 with 17 homers and 46 RBIs through his first 50 games at Triple-A Iowa and is said to have Gold Glove potential at first base.

The Cubs will need a designated hitter at Target Field against the Minnesota Twins (June 8-10), and when they face the White Sox on the South Side (June 18-20). That would free up Bryan LaHair to move from first base to left field.

After the San Francisco Giants shut down the Cubs on Sunday the teams 10th straight loss on the road Sveum didnt know what to say. He was asked if Alfonso Sorianos knees would benefit from an extended break.

Weve tried the two days off and that, but we got the DH coming up, Sveum said. Were just trying to get him to that DH spot and roll with it. Hopefully, hell hit some home runs.

Soriano has homered in each of the last seven series the Cubs have played, and he remains the only established middle-of-the-order presence, even if hes not the same player he was years ago.

Sveum wasnt complaining or throwing anyone under the bus when he called his postgame press conferences a broken record. This is just the hand he was dealt.

Sveum made his mark with Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun as the Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach. Rudy Jaramillo earned a reputation as one of the best in the business while working with the Texas Rangers. Sveum knows how hardthankless the job can be.

You take things like this personally, Sveum said, (but) you still know that people out in that locker room get paid a lot of money to hit. No matter what, as a hitting coach, you cant stand in the batters box. You cant swing the bat.

So you do have to separate it, but at the same time, Ive lost sleep over it (because) you take pride in a lot of things, and thats one of them.

Rick Hahn 'intrigued' by offseason talks White Sox are involved in

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USA TODAY

Rick Hahn 'intrigued' by offseason talks White Sox are involved in

The baseball offseason is moving at a quicker pace than recent years and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is among those happy to see that.

Hahn and the White Sox contributed to that quick start to the offseason by signing Yasmani Grandal on Nov. 21. He said he prefers that in an interview with Bruce Levine and Matt Spiegel on 670 The Score on Saturday.

Hahn also gave an update on the team’s offseason.

“We still have work to do, but at the same time we’re obviously quite pleased to have added Yasmani Grandal, much to no one’s surprise bringing back Jose Abreu and we’re intrigued by some of the talks we have going on right now,” Hahn said. “Obviously you can’t convert on everything a point that was publicly driven home this past week, but at the same time we know that regardless of whether we convert on one specific target or not, there are still a lot of reasons to be excited based on the guys we currently have, much less what we may add in the coming weeks.”

The comment about being unable to convert on everything is surely a reference to Zack Wheeler signing with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Hahn didn’t give any hints as to what the White Sox are working on, but he did say he prefers the speed of this offseason.

“We’d certainly prefer to do things sooner rather than later,” Hahn said. “That’s generally true regardless of the time of year.”

If Hahn wants to get things done quickly, it would make sense that the winter meetings could be a time of White Sox activity. Hahn wasn’t biting on that.

“There’s nothing magical about getting a deal done Tuesday at the winter meetings,” Hahn said. “It creates a little more buzz perhaps and fulfills some expectations within the fanbase and the media.

“A guy is not going to have any less impact on your team if you acquire him Dec. 20 vs. Dec. 12.”

Hahn also gave updates on various current players on the team:

  • Yasmani Grandal has been studying up on White Sox pitchers and how he can help the young pitchers develop.

 

“This guy’s No. 1 goal and No. 1 priority is to make the pitchers better," Hahn said. "He’s texting me two, three times a week still with stuff he had seen on our guys and conversations he’s had with our guys about how he thinks we’re going to be able to get them better in the coming months.”

  • Hahn was asked if the White Sox would add another middle infielder to provide cover until Nick Madrigal comes up. He didn't rule it out, but cited Leury Garcia and Danny Mendick as capable of helping out. Hahn has previously said he expects Madrigal to be up for most of the 2020 season.
  • Nothing new here, but Hahn said Michael Kopech will enter spring training "without restriction" and will have "some innings management" throughout the season. Kopech missed 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery late in the 2018 season.
  • Carlos Rodon's timeline to return from Tommy John surgery hasn't changed. Hahn said they will re-evaluate him in April to see where he is after spring training. He is still tentatively expected to return in late July or early August.

 

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Schmaltz to play first game at United Center since being traded by Blackhawks

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USA Today

Schmaltz to play first game at United Center since being traded by Blackhawks

Former Blackhawks center Nick Schmaltz was dealt a tough hand last season. The Hawks traded the Madison, Wisconsin native to the Arizona Coyotes for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini on Nov. 25, 2018. 

"Probably for the first couple weeks it was still shocking and different to be part of a new organization," Schmaltz said. "But as you get more comfortable with everyone, I would say a couple months probably before it sunk in, but I felt comfortable right away."

Then, after recording 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 17 games with the Coyotes, Schmaltz had season-ending knee surgery. 

"It was tough," the 23-year-old said. "It wasn't like one specific thing that blew out my knee or anything, it was just nagging me over time. Obviously it was tough, I had to sit out 40 games or whatever. 

"So that was frustrating, especially because the team was doing well and I was feeling really comfortable. So it was frustrating, but happy to be back and we got off to a good start so far (currently second in the Pacific division)."

Some good fortune came Schmaltz's way when Arizona gave him a seven-year contract for $40.95 million in March.

Sunday marks his first game back at the United Center. 

"I think I'll have a lot of energy," said Schmaltz, who will have family in attendance. "I think I'll be excited. I don't think they'll be too many nerves or anything, I think it'll be fun to play against those guys and I'll be ready to go."

Schmaltz logged a lot of ice time playing with Patrick Kane when he was with Chicago from 2016-2018. 

"He was great to play with," Kane said of Schmaltz. "One of those guys I really enjoyed playing with because he was so fast and as a centerman he really did a good job of taking the puck up the middle of the ice, drawing guys to him then kind of kicking it to the wing and still driving through his feet to the point where the defense had to decide whether to honor him and go back to him or come with me and leave him open. 

"He was really good in that regard, a lot of speed up the middle. I really enjoyed playing with him and developing chemistry with him the years he was here.

"He's a good kid too. I really enjoyed being around him, hanging out with him, golfing with him, things like that. I enjoyed his time here."

Schmaltz's unique golfing style impressed Kane as much as his hockey skills did. 

"Really good," Kane said of his former teammate's golf game. "It's funny when he hits it, the ball doesn't come very far off the ground, but it just goes a mile and he does the opposite with his irons, he hits them so high and then they just land and stop. He's a good golfer."

"He's got his days, he's kind of up and down," Schmaltz said of Kane swinging the clubs. "He can go low 80s or he can fire 100, it just depends how he's feeling. We've had a few games. It's a lot of fun playing with him."

Recall

The Blackhawks recalled forward Dylan Sikura from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. Sikura will slot in for Anton Wedin, who was reassigned to Rockford.