White Sox

Simeon's Smith, Parker weigh in on Illinois situation

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Simeon's Smith, Parker weigh in on Illinois situation

Simeon star Jabari Parker and head coach Robert Smith joined Thursday's Chicago Tribune Live to reflect on the success of their program after winning the 2012 state championship. They also voiced their opinions on the University of Illinois basketball program.

Smith, fresh off winning his fifth championship in eight years at Simeon, says he would consider joining the Fighting Illini coaching staff under John Groce if he was approached about the job. He is also optimistic that Groce can succeed in recruiting Chicago public league players if he works hard at building relationships right away.

Meanwhile, Parker did not rule out Illinois as a potential destination for college. But the No. 1 player in the class of 2013 admits that he will have to build a strong connection with Groce and his staff quickly in order for them to be a serious contender for his services.

You can watch the entire interview as Smith and Parker go into greater detail on the topics below:

The learning process continues for Dylan Cease, who just had 'my best start of the year'

The learning process continues for Dylan Cease, who just had 'my best start of the year'

Dylan Cease's ERA is still north of 5.75.

He's not a finished product, no matter how much anyone wants him to be one.

"It would be ideal for me — and my ability to sleep — and everyone’s mood if these guys came up and dominated immediately," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday. "In reality there is a little bit of a learning process that goes on."

All these results, the ones that have contributed to that ugly ERA and some generally ugly outings over Cease's first couple months in the major leagues, are learning moments. Not convinced on the effectiveness of those learning moments? Just look to Lucas Giolito, who took all the struggles he had in 2018 and turned them into an All-Star 2019 season in which he's blossomed into the ace of the staff.

But, despite the hype, these guys aren't coming up finished products.

Cease, though, has flashed the potential that has earned him all that hype, and in no outing did he flash more of it than he did in Friday night's start against the visiting Texas Rangers.

Following the theme that seems to be developing in Cease starts, he had a pretty lousy inning early in the game, in this case the very first inning, in which he served up a three-run homer. The theme continues, though, that Cease usually uses all that composure and maturity everyone's always raving about to settle down and pitch a decent game. Friday night, he was more than decent. After the first inning, Cease retired the next 11 batters he faced and allowed just two hits (both singles) over five scoreless innings.

Cease, following in the tradition of perfectionist pitchers everywhere, hasn't been happy with previous outings that followed a similar script. This time, he was pleased. Maybe something to do with the career-best nine strikeouts.

"To me, that was just a huge confidence boost right there. Now I just need to not let those big innings happen," Cease said. "That's definitely my best start of the year today, besides that first inning."

"You had a couple of things going on," manager Rick Renteria said. "He had a rough first, we scored some runs, he holds them. We scored some more runs, he holds them. He kept doing that throughout. It's a big push. You see, there's a confidence-builder in that particular outing today. He should be happy how he ended up redirecting himself and righting the ship."

Cease's ability to do just that, right the ship, might give him a bit of a head start on his developmental process at the major league level. After all, Giolito and James McCann talk frequently about that issue plaguing Giolito in 2018. When things went wrong early, Giolito couldn't get back on track. He's been able to this year, contributing to his success. If Cease can do that from the day he hits the majors, that's a plus.

And if that's a tool Cease already has in his tool box, then the next step would be eliminating those early troubles. As good as Cease has looked at times, those numbers aren't lying. He's given up 32 earned runs in his 50 big league innings. He's given up 11 home runs in nine starts and has yet to have an outing without allowing a homer. Walks have been a sporadic issue: He walked just one batter in each of his last two starts but walked five in the outing prior and has three starts this year with at least four walks.

Again, learning process.

"His stuff is — it's electric stuff," Renteria said. "Sometimes you wonder, 'How can they hit him?' or 'How can they do this?' It's just (that they are) big league hitters. You leave something out over the plate or something they can manage, and they're going to do what they can do with it.

"As long as he continues to execute and use that stuff that he has, he's going to be OK."

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Texas Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. visits sister Diamond at Sky shootaround

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USA TODAY

Texas Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. visits sister Diamond at Sky shootaround

The Texas Rangers are in town for their three-game set with the White Sox, which kicked off on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field but that didn't stop outfielder Delino Deshields from making some time for family. 

DeShields' sister is none other than Chicago Sky wing scorer Diamond DeShields. 

Diamond is averaging a career-high 15.3 points per game and has helped lead the Sky back to the postseason for the first time since 2016. 

Delino (Jr.) was only able to stick around for the Sky's morning shootaround, as he obviously had to be back with the Rangers in time for Friday night's game. 

Delino may be a good luck charm for Diamond, as she chipped in 22 points and four rebounds in a win on the day of his visit. It was the first win the Sky has had over the Washington Mystics since they traded superstar Elena Delle Donne back in 2016.