Fire

Thibodeau quiet on Hinrich injury, listed day-to-day

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Thibodeau quiet on Hinrich injury, listed day-to-day

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said point guard Kirk Hinrich is day-to-day with a groin injury he suffered in last night's win over the Thunder, and is a game-time decision for Fridays preseason finale against the Pacers.

Thibodeau would not reveal much on Hinrichs injury, but did note that the point guard did not have an MRI. The team watched film and shot this afternoon at the Berto Center, so there was not an opportunity for the veteran to test it out.

He should be OK. He just tweaked it so well see, Thibodeau said. He said he felt better, so well see.

Hinrich played 15 minutes before injuring himself in the second quarter of the Bulls 94-89 win, scoring eight points and handed out two assists. In five preseason games, Hinrich has averaged 9.4 points and a team-high 5.6 assists per game.

The Bulls open up their regular season at home against the Sacramento Kings on Oct. 31, but Thibodeau said he has not thought that far in advance regarding Hinrichs availability.

Hes better today than he was yesterday, and well see where he is tomorrow, Thibodeau said.

Thibodeau also said he does not believe the team will need to look outside for additional point guard depth, despite the roster being thin following Derrick Roses and Hinrichs injuries.

Im not concerned about that at all, Thibodeau said. Were confident in the guys that we have. The responsibility of management is to awlasy look at how you can improve the team. So theyre constantly doing that, but I like the group that we have here.

Richard Hamilton, who missed time last year with a groin injury, said he was happy Hinrich and the Bulls shut him down in the second half rather than pushing it.

Its tough. A groin can linger. You just want to jump on it as quick as possible. And the one thing that was good with him was he didnt come back and play the second half, Hamilton said. Sometimes your adrenaline will allow you to say, No, I dont want to sit out. Ill figure it out at the end of the game. And thats what most players do and I think (the staff) did a great job of really jumping on it early and saying, Alright, you know what? Shut him down.

Back-up Nate Robinson filled in for Hinrich Tuesday night, playing most of the second half to finish with eight points, four rebounds and four assists. Robinson also filled in for Hinrich last week while Hinrich was held out with a right thumb injury. Robinson scored 23 points and handed out 14 assists as a starter in a home win over the Bucks.

Marquis Teague, who would see additional run if Hinrich is forced to miss time, missed his only shot attempt and grabbed a rebound in four minutes.

Prior to Tuesday nights game in which Hinrich suffered the injury, Thibodeau applauded Hinrichs work ethic this offseason to put in a full work of daily preparation to get his body ready for the season. Hinrich missed 18 games with the Hawks last season, and missed the Hawks playoff run in 2010-11.

Hes been fine thus far. Hes put a lot of work into improving his body, getting healthy, Thibodeau said before last nights game, and hopefully hell remain healthy all season.

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

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@JTHAZZARD

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

Portillo's has become a staple in the Chicagoland area due to its popular hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and now, its soccer jerseys.

OK, maybe one of these does not belong with the others. Regardless, Twitter user @JTHazzard created mock-up soccer jerseys mashing MLS teams and restaurants based in that team's city, and the Portillo's jersey is sweet. 

From the Portillo's logo taking center-stage to the picnic blanket pattern to the discrete Chicago Fire logo, this jersey is absolutely brilliant. The only change this writer would make is including the logo below instead.

Valspar is the current sponsor featured on the Fire's uniforms. If the team ever needs a new sponsor, though, Portillo's would be an excellent replacement.

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

Lucas Giolito is having a rough go of things in his second year with the White Sox.

He came into the season with some pretty high expectations after posting a 2.38 ERA in seven starts at the end of the 2017 campaign and then dominating during spring training. But he’s done anything but dominate since this season started, and after one of his worst outings in Thursday’s 9-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, he’s got a 7.53 ERA in 10 starts in 2018.

Giolito stuck around for only four outs Thursday, but he allowed the Orioles to do plenty of damage, giving up seven runs on six hits — two of which were back-to-back home runs to start the second inning — and three walks. He leads the American League with his 37 walks.

“I take what I do very seriously. I work as hard as I can at it,” Giolito said. “So when I experience failure like this, it’s kind of hard to deal with. All I can do is come back tomorrow, keep working on things and hopefully have a better one.”

All of Giolito’s struggles have fans wondering why the White Sox haven’t sent him down to Triple-A to work on his craft.

“I don’t foresee that at this particular time,” Rick Renteria said when asked if Giolito could be sent to Triple-A. “I think he’s just a young man who’s got to continue to minimize the emotional aspect of crossing from preparation into the game and staying focused, relaxed and hammer the zone with strikes. And truthfully it’s just first-pitch strike and get after the next one.”

The White Sox have already sent one young pitcher down in Carson Fulmer, who was having a nightmarish time at the big league level. Fulmer’s results were worse than Giolito’s on a regular basis. He got sent down after posting an 8.07 ERA in nine outings.

But hasn’t Giolito suffered through command issues enough to warrant some time away from the major league limelight? According to his manager, Giolito’s situation is vastly different than Fulmer’s.

“I don’t see them anywhere near each other,” Renteria said. “They’re two different competitors in terms of the outcomes that they’ve had. Lucas has at least had situations in which he might have struggled early and been able to gain some confidence through the middle rounds of his start and continue to propel himself to finish some ballgames, give us six or seven innings at times. So it’s two different guys.

“With Gio, I expect that we would have a nice clean start from the beginning, but when he doesn’t I still feel like if he gets through it he’ll settle down and continue to hammer away at what he needs to do in order to get deeper into a ballgame, and that was a little different with Carson. With Carson it was right from the get-go he was struggling, and he had a difficult time extending his outings after the third or fourth because it just kept getting too deep into his pitch count and not really hammering the strike zone as much.”

Renteria is not wrong. Giolito has had a knack to take a rough beginning to a start and turn it into five or six innings. Notably, he gave up a couple first-inning runs and walked seven hitters and still got the win against the Cubs a week and a half ago. And while his first-inning ERA is 10.80 and his second-inning ERA is 12.54, he’s pitched into at least the sixth inning in seven of his 10 starts.

Renteria’s point is that Giolito is learning how to shake off early damage and achieving the goal, most times out, of eating up innings and keeping his team in the game. Those are a couple valuable qualities to develop for a young pitcher. But are those the lone qualities that determine that Giolito is suited to continue his learning process at the major league level? His command remains a glaring problem, and both he and Renteria admitted that his problems are more mental than physical.

“The one thing everyone has to understand is we have to go beyond the physical and attack a little bit more of the mental and emotional and try to connect and slow that down,” Renteria said. “Those aspects are the ones that ultimately, at times, deal in the derailment of the physical action. So if we can kind of calm that down a little bit.

“He’s very focused. Giolito is high intensity. Nice kid but high-intensity young man when he gets on the mound. You might not believe it. He’s going 100 mph. So I think it goes to more just trusting himself, trusting the process, taking it truthfully one pitch at a time.”

Well, if a demotion to the minors isn’t likely, what about moving Giolito to the bullpen? Carlos Rodon and Chris Sale dipped their toes in bullpen waters before moving to the rotation. Could a reversal of that strategy help Giolito?

Well, the current state of the White Sox starting rotation — Fulmer in the minors, Miguel Gonzalez on the 60-day DL and pitchers like James Shields, Hector Santiago and Dylan Covey, who aren’t exactly long-term pieces, getting a lot of starts — doesn’t really allow for another piece to be removed.

“I know they have done it with Rodon and Sale,” Renteria said. “The difference is we don’t have the makeup of the starting rotation that those clubs had in order to put those guys in the ‘pen. We are in a different situation right now. Moving forward, is that something we can possibly do? Absolutely. It has been done with very good success.

“Right now we are in truly discovery mode and adjustment mode and adapting and trying to do everything we can to get these guys to develop their skill sets to be very usable and effective at the major league level and we are doing it to the best of our ability.”

There could be promise in the fact that Giolito has turned a season around as recently as last year. Before he was impressing on the South Side in August and September, he was struggling at Triple-A Charlotte. Even after he ironed things out, things had gotten off to a rocky enough start that he owned a 4.48 ERA and 10 losses when he was called up to the bigs.

It doesn’t seem Giolito will be going back to Charlotte, unless things continue to go in a dramatically poor direction. Right now, these are just more of the growing pains during this rebuilding process. “The hardest part of the rebuild” doesn’t just means wins and losses. It means watching some players struggle through speed bumps as they continue to develop into what the White Sox hope they’ll be when this team is ready to compete.