White Sox

Forte won't rule out signing the franchise tag, wants to be in camp

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Forte won't rule out signing the franchise tag, wants to be in camp

Matt Forte was not in uniform for OTAs with the Bears. He was not there for the three-day minicamp last week. And he is still realistically a longshot to be in Bourbonnais when the Bears begin actual practices on July 26.

But Forte, appearing at the EA Sports Madden 2013 Pigskin Pro-Am in Chicago on Friday, did not rule out signing the 7.74-million franchise tag prior to the start of the season and told Comcast SportsNets Pat Boyle that the contract gap between the Bears and himself has narrowed.

I cant really speculate about signing the tag right now, Forte said, adding that as far as training camp itself, I want to be there, obviously. Its a matter of what happens in these next couple weeks leading up to July 16.

July 16 is the NFL deadline for a long-term contract. After that, Fortes only option is the guaranteed tag pay rate.

For complete coverage of Pats conversations with Forte and linebacker Lance Briggs, tune into Chicago Tribune Live and SportsNet Central Friday on Comcast SportsNet.

Forte reiterated that he is not seeking to become the NFLs highest-paid running back.

I just want to get market value, Forte said, citing the deals LeSean McCoy signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and Arian Foster did with the Houston Texans, both of which guaranteed the players slightly more than 20 million over five and four years, respectively.

Quarterback Jay Cutler has been among those who cannot see a 2012 season or even training camp without Forte, but the running back would prefer to be his own spokesman.

I dont know. It depends on how negotiations go, Forte said. Thats why it looks bad when other people speak for you...

Forte avoided discussing specifics beyond saying that talks are worlds apart from last year, a clear indication that the gap between the sides has narrowed from the impasse of the past year.

Forte said that he talks frequently with teammate Lance Briggs, who was in a similar franchise-tag situation in 2007 and eventually reached a long-term deal.

Pay the man! Briggs declared, expressing unqualified support for Forte and his position. "Hes done what hes had to and everybody on the team knows it.

Forte has generally maintained an outward air of calm through the stalemate times and is not getting any more emotional about any sense of progress that may be occurring.

I stay even-keeled about it. I dont get too high or too low about it, Forte said. If it happens, then thank God that its going to happen.

Everybody knows I want to be with the Chicago Bears and play for them, Forte said, at the same time asking for understanding. If it comes to the point where Im not going to be and have to make a business decision for myself, everybody should understand that.

As White Sox continue to pile up the strikeouts, Rick Renteria is taking the broad view

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USA TODAY

As White Sox continue to pile up the strikeouts, Rick Renteria is taking the broad view

White Sox third baseman Matt Davidson has in his mind an ideal number of times he’d strike out in a season.

“If I had it my way I’d probably strike out 20 times a year but I don’t know how you do that, really,” Davidson said before the Sox defeated the Royals 9-3 on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

It’s not realistic for an everyday player to go through the season with that few strikeouts, especially on a Sox team that entered Friday’s game with 1,163 of them, the second-highest total in the major-leagues behind the Rangers’ 1,168. The Sox were on pace to strike out 1,570 times, which would break the franchise record of 1,397 set last season.

Against the Royals, the Sox struck out seven times, but made more than enough contact—including three-run home runs from Jose Abreu and Nicky Delmonico—to win for the eighth time in their last 14 games.

With the Sox going through the trials and tribulations that come along with a radical rebuild, perhaps it’s not a surprise the team strikes out as much as it has the past two seasons. They are young, aggressive at the plate and still learning at the major-league level.

“It’s just some of the experience and learning your swing and trying to improve on it every single year,” said Davidson, who went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts Friday night. “I don’t think coming up (in the minors) everybody was striking out as much as we do here so that just shows that the competition is better and we’re just also trying to learn.

“The MLB (web site) has a section just showing how nasty pitches are,” Davidson added. “Guys are really good here. It’s just a part of learning. It’s about seeing the ball, learning the zone, learning counts and understanding when they’re going to throw stirkes and when they’re going to throw balls and also just putting the bat on the ball.”

The Sox were particularly susceptible to the strikeout when they fanned 10-plus times during an eight-game stretch from Aug. 5-13, a franchise record. They fell one game short of matching the dubious major-league record of nine consecutive games with 10-plus Ks set by the Brewers in 2017.

Sox manager Rick Renteria said the cause of all the strikeouts “depends on who you want to look at. You could look at it collectively (or) you can look at it individually. We have one of the young men (Yoan Moncada) who has quite a few under his belt, both looking and swinging (for a major-league leading 172 this season). Two-strike approach obviously is something we talk about a lot and still has to be implemented in practical terms so that it's useful. We don't want our guys swinging out of the zone. We do want them to be able to defend themselves and keep a ball in play possibly when need be.

“But I'm not thinking in regards of how (strikeouts) continue to mount and what that indicates or doesn't indicate,” Renteria added. “We look at all of our guys individually and figure out what it is we can help them with in terms of attacking that strike zone and being ready to hit.”

Rick Renteria still looking for 'a little better effort' from Avisail Garcia despite injury

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria still looking for 'a little better effort' from Avisail Garcia despite injury

Rick Renteria proved once again that he won’t let his boys quit.

The White Sox manager pulled Avisail Garcia from Friday night’s 9-3 victory over the Royals after the outfielder failed to run hard out of the box during a first-inning flyout. It wasn’t the first time Renteria has made a point by pulling a player during a game. Garcia was yanked from a spring training contest for not running hard out of the box and Tim Anderson got the same treatment in July.

“I didn’t think (Garcia) had given me an effort on the Texas Leaguer,” Renteria said after Friday’s victory. “If the ball falls in, you have to possibly advance.”


Renteria was quick to point out that Garcia is playing with a right knee injury that the right fielder said would have to be addressed—likely with surgery—during the offseason.

“He does have a knee that’s bothering him a little bit,” Renteria said. “I told him, ‘you certainly looked like something was bothering you.’ He said, ‘I felt it click when I came out of the box.’ ‘I said you understand you can still give me a better effort out of the box (and) he said, ‘yes, I understand that. I’m feeling this.’ We addressed it a little bit. He’ll be back in there (Saturday night). He realizes he still feels he can give us a little better effort.”

Garcia, who has been on the disabled list twice this season due to hamstring injuries, said he understood Renteria’s decision. 

“I felt a click (in the knee) and I didn’t run,” Garcia said. “Even if I felt a click I can do a better effort if I want to play and I want to play. That’s why they take me out. I felt a click and I was a little bit scared about it but I’m OK.”

Renteria said it is important down the stretch to communicate with Garcia when it comes to managing his knee.

“That’s why we had the conversation,” Renteria said. “He doesn’t want to come out of the lineup. He says he can play every day, he says, ‘I can manage this, I can play through this, I’ll be fine.’ I said then give me a little more effort on some of those plays. I get it that you may feel it but if you feel it, just explain to me what’s going on and we can manage it that way. He really doesn’t want to come out. He wants to play.

“We’ve never had a problem with (Garcia),” Renteria added. “Despite a couple times here or there where we’ve taken him out, if you watch him he busts his rear end pretty much all the time. That was a rarity. At that particular point in time it was my decision to pull him out.”

Garcia said he will continue to play through the knee issue.

“I just have to keep going,” Garcia said. “But I was scared a little bit because I felt like a click. But at the same time, I didn’t run hard enough so I’m OK with it. I’m good to play.”

When asked if Garcia will get the knee taken care of following the season, he responded, “yeah, for sure. One-hundred percent.”