White Sox

NHL labor negotiations will begin Friday

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NHL labor negotiations will begin Friday

NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr indicated Monday that labor negotiations with management would start very quickly after the players met for three days here in Chicago.

Just a day later, it was revealed that bargaining sessions with the league will begin Friday in New York, following Wednesdays introduction of the 30-member players union negotiating committee.

Tuesday would be the longest of the three days spent at the Peninsula Hotel. The 53 players on-hand broke into three groups and rotated into different sessions specializing on various topics, and didnt wind up until after 5 p.m. Call it an Education Day. Safe to say everything ranging from revenue-sharing, to salary caps, to escrow payments, to Olympic participation was covered.

Its about getting a chance to share your feelings, said Blackhawks player representative Steve Montador. Its not a one-way street, but a two-way street of enabling and empowering players to speak up, and share and give their opinions while were getting a lot of information and learning a lot.

We had a lot of discussions about what our priorities are, former Hawk and current Capital Troy Brouwer said. Its why we broke down into groups to try to educate ourselves a little more in small groups, so youre not as intimidated to talk and share ideas.

As hard-line as Executive Director Fehr was running Major League Baseballs union for 24 years, there were several cases in which negotiations carried on despite a season at-hand and no deal in place. He expressed a willingness Monday to do the same here, but players like Brouwer know a lot of being able to pull that off comes from the state of talks when the current CBA ends September 15th, and if the feelings mutual on the management side.

Youve got to look out for yourselves. Obviously, we want to play hockey and we want to make sure we can do everything in our power that theres a season come September.

Brouwer was just a fan seven years ago when the entire 2004-05 season was lost prior to the current collective bargaining agreement finally being reached. Current Blackhawks Montador and Jamal Mayers were players who wound up finding work in France and Sweden, respectively. Montador was coming off a Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup Final for Calgary against Tampa Bay.

We made a number of concessions last time that cost us a season, he reflected Tuesday. Nobody wants to miss a season of hockey players, fans, owners. The game has made too many positive strides the past seven years to try and warrant that. We have a lot to look forward to, and a lot of room to work to get a new deal done. We have issues we want to stand on and we have to be able to represent that. With the corps of players we have here (at the meetings in Chicago), were capable of doing that.

And from experience, Mayers knows league executives and owners will have their own spin on things, beginning Friday.

Obviously, we made a lot of huge concessions last time. Theres going to be issues that arise, but the league for the last seven years has seen revenues grow. Im sure theyll have their angle, but my hope is we can get a deal done. Like all things, it always takes time and pressure for things to happen. But well have faith in this negotiating committee to do the job.

A Full Monty?
Montador says he feels full-strength with one caveat since suffering a concussion in early February, then having an immediate setback when he finally returned seven weeks later, costing him the rest of the season.

Its been just over the last few weeks Ive been feeling as good as Ive felt in a long time. I havent been in game situations or cleared for contact officially, but Im really encouraged with how I feel now, and being able to train for the season thats coming.

The season we hope is coming.

Troy Tried

Okay, maybe Brouwer didnt knock on Caps GM George McPhees door or give him a phone call, but you had to figure he was rooting for ex-Blackhawks assistant Coach Mike Haviland to get the Capitals head coaching job that was given to Devils Assistant Adam Oates Tuesday. Brouwer played under Haviland in the minors as well.

It wouldve been nice for Havi. I know hes worked his way up through the ranks and done a good job. Im not sure what happened in Chicago, but Ive been with him for a long time, and hes been nothing but great to me and had a lot of influence on my hockey career.

But the winger knows he has to please the new boss, a former Capitals captain whose day also included election into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Guys already know he was able to do a lot of good things in his career and was an impact on any team he played for. I think hes going to bring some of that mentality to our team.

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

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USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

As encouraging as the reports are on many of the White Sox’s minor-league pitching prospects, Carlos Rodon’s effort against the Athletics on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field could prove just as significant to the rebuild on the South Side.

Looking much like the ace the Sox envisioned prior to Rodon’s rough 2017 season that ended with shoulder surgery, the left-hander put together his most successful effort of ’18 during a 10-3 drubbing of the Athletics before a sun-drenched crowd of 21,908.

Making his fourth start of the season, Rodon matched a career-high by going eight innings. He yielded two runs on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Rodon earned his first win of the season to help the Sox salvage a split of the four-game series.

“I felt good today—a lot of strikes,” Rodon said. “It was good to go eight and just be ahead of guys.”

Helping matters for Rodon was an offensive explosion by the Sox, led by Yoan Moncada’s career-high six RBIs. After falling behind 2-0, the Sox plated five runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings as Moncada cleared the bases with a double off the base of the wall in the fifth and launched his 10th home run of the season to drive in three more an inning later.

“Today was a great day,” Moncada said via a team interpreter. “I just went out to play the game the way that I play. Just to have fun. It was a very good game for me.”

Daniel Palka and Yolmer Sanchez also homered as the Sox won for just the second time in their last 11 games.

Rodon was the happy recipient of the run support to win his first game since Aug. 21, 2017, against the Twins. On Sunday, he threw 99 pitches, 69 for strikes and was consistently in the mid-90s with his fastball.

“I’m looking to do that every time out,” Rodon said. “Just show up and establish the strike zone with the fastball and be aggressive.”

The 25-year-old’s second-inning strikeout of Khris Davis was the 400th of Rodon’s career. It is a career that is continuing after a surgery that was a setback, but one that did not derail Rodon’s confidence that he would again pitch effectively.

“There are up-and-down days when you go through shoulder surgery or any surgery for any player,” Rodon said. “You've just got to work through it and try to make your way back. I'm here now and it’s looking up and I’m trying to get better.”

So is it reasonable to view Rodon as the future ace after all?

“You certainly can’t discount that,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He has to go out there and continue to get his feet underneath him and get through the rest of the season healthy and climbing.”

In other Sox pitching news, Renteria said starter Dylan Covey, who was removed in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game due to a hip flexor injury, “felt better” Sunday and the team will continue to monitor the right-hander’s progress.

Meanwhile, veteran Miguel Gonzalez made a rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte as he continues to recover from inflammation in his right rotator cuff. Gonzalez went three innings and allowed one hit with a walk and a strikeout. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez belted his first homer for the Knights in the game.

A series to forget: Facts and figures from Cubs' rough weekend in Cincinnati

A series to forget: Facts and figures from Cubs' rough weekend in Cincinnati

The Cubs and their fans may want to invent and use one of those Men In Black neuralyzers because the four-game series in Cincinnati was one to forget.

The Reds finished off a four-game sweep of the Cubs on Sunday with an 8-6 win. The way the Reds won the finale will be especially painful for the Cubs considering they led 6-1 after six innings. Mike Montgomery appeared to tire in the seventh inning and Pedro Strop got rocked out of the bullpen to lead to a seven-run seventh for the hosts.

The Reds have now won seven in a row and 10 of 12, but still sit 13 games under .500. Bizarrely, the Reds also swept the Dodgers, the Cubs’ next opponent, in a four-game series in May. Duane Underwood will start for the Cubs Monday against the Dodgers and make his major league debut.

Here are some other wild facts and figures from the series:

  • The last time the Reds swept the Cubs in a four-game series was back in 1983. That was the first week of the season and three weeks before the infamous Lee Elia rant.
  • One positive for the Cubs from the game was Montgomery’s start. Through six innings he allowed one run on three hits and two walks. However, he gave up a single, a double and a single in the seventh before Strop relieved him. Montgomery had gone six innings and allowed one run in each of his last four outings.
  • Strop was definitely a negative. On his first pitch, Strop gave up a home run to pinch-hitter Jesse Winker, the second home run for a Reds pinch-hitter in the game. Then Strop allowed a single, a walk, a single and a double before getting an out. Strop’s final line: 2/3 inning pitched, four runs, one strikeout, three walks, four hits.
  • The Cubs led in three of the four games this series, including two leads after five innings.
  • The Cubs were 5-for-23 (.217) with runners in scoring position in the series. On the season the Cubs are hitting .233 with RISP, which is 22nd in the majors and fourth-worst in the National League (but ahead of the division-rival Brewers and Cardinals).
  • The Reds outscored the Cubs 31-13 and scored at least six runs in every game. The Reds are now 6-3 against the Cubs this year after going a combined 17-40 against the Cubs from 2015-2017.