White Sox

Kap: Rizzo to debut Tuesday?

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Kap: Rizzo to debut Tuesday?

The arrival of heralded prospect Anthony Rizzo is imminent with Tuesday expected to be the day that he begins his Cubs career and as the long-term answer as the first baseman in Chicago.

Rizzo has dominated AAA pitching for the better part of the last two seasons and he will arrive in Chicago with the weight of a struggling franchise on his shoulders no matter how much Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer may try to tamper the enthusiasm of the longest suffering fan base in professional sports.

While speculation centered on Rizzos arrival coming while the Cubs were playing this weekend in Arizona or during interleague play, it makes sense to bring him up to the big league club on Tuesday or Wednesday when the Cubs will play the New York Mets.

Monday the Mets will start one of the toughest left-handers in baseball in veteran Johan Santana who dominates hitters with a variety of off-speed pitches including a devastating changeup that even the best hitters in the game can look foolish on.

The Cubs front office wants to put Rizzo in the best possible position to succeed and having him make his debut on Tuesday or Wednesday is a much better scenario than having him face Santana in addition to all of the hoopla that will coincide with his arrival at Wrigley Field.

Fans need to temper their expectations regarding Rizzo because he arrives in an impossible situation, on a last place team and expected to automatically become an All-Star caliber player. He is a solid offensive player and a very good defender but he needs time to learn the major league game and he needs to experience failure before he can truly achieve the heights that many are predicting for him.

Dont look for him in the lineup at Wrigley Field on Monday night but if you can clear your schedule for Tuesday night, that might be a great opportunity to watch one of the best prospects the organization has had in a long time make his Cubs debut.

They have only been looking for a left-handed difference maker since Rafael Palmeiro was traded away before the 1989 season and with the exception of Mark Grace, who never drove in 100 runs but was a solid hitter, the Cubs have been almost devoid of left-handed run production in the past 20 years.

Rizzo should be an important core piece as Epstein and Hoyer continue their overhaul of the worst team in baseball and if he is what they expect him to be, it would be cool to say you saw his first game ever in a Cubs uniform.

That opportunity should come early this week at Wrigley Field.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.