White Sox

Ventura getting some starters a rest

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Ventura getting some starters a rest

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com contributor

With the winning streak now history and a virus working its way through the clubhouse, the White Sox lineup has a new look to it as they go for the series win against Seattle today at U.S. Cellular Field.

Brent Lillibridge, Kosuke Fukudome, Tyler Flowers and Eduardo Escobar are all starting against Mariners right-hander Kevin Millwood.

Its just time, manager Robin Ventura said. These guys have been sitting for a while, while the other guys have been on a good run. Weve got guys who are sick. These guys need to play. And today is a good day to do it.

Lillibridge and Fukudome will start for the first time since May 20, and Escobar is playing for the first time since May 22. Flowers started last Sunday but is appearing in only his 12th game in relief of A.J. Pierzynski.

That could sound like a lot of rusty bats for Chicago, but Lillibridge doesnt think that will be a problem. He said bench players prepare every game with the assumption they will be needed at some point.

Ive got my routines because Im always planning on playing, Lillibridge said. Everything is a little quicker with preparing. If youre not playing youre obviously not going to get loose 30 minutes before the game. But Im always ready to get my chance to play.

Lillibridge replaces Alejandro De Aza in center field and also at the top of the batting order. De Aza twisted his right ankle in Saturdays 10-8 loss to the Mariners that snapped their nine-game winning streak.

But that injury isnt why hes not playing today.

Hes sick today, so hes down, Ventura said. He wasnt scheduled to play anyway, but hes not feeling too good. Hes not looking too good either. His ankle is fine. His face looks worse than his ankle.

For Lillibridge, he isnt looking at this game as an opportunity to get more playing time down the road.

You think, hey, if I get four hits today, maybe Ill get in there tomorrow. Thats not how it works, he said. So you take that pressure off yourself. If the good things happen and keep going over and over again like I did last year than youre going to get a chance to find yourself in the lineup a lot more.

Paul Konerko also gets a much-needed day off as Adam Dunn assumes the first-base role. Dayan Viciedo is the designated hitter and will bat fourth. Konerko is 1-for-16 in the four games since having his 14-game winning streak snapped.

Hes been out there every day, so Ill give him the day off, Ventura said. We have a day off (Monday) so this will give him two days to get off his feet, get in the cage and let him work on whatever he wants to work on.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Bob Nightengale shares his thoughts on what starting pitcher is right fit for White Sox

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Bob Nightengale shares his thoughts on what starting pitcher is right fit for White Sox

It's Day 2 of the Winter Meetings. USA Today's Bob Nightengale joins Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber.

Nightengale shares his thoughts on what starting pitcher is the right fit (2:00), the message the Grandal signing sends to the rest of the league (6:00), predictions for who the White Sox will sign this week (12:00) and when the Sox window is open (13:30).

Plus, he shares some memories of past Winter Meetings including his favorite cocktail napkin trade and the best late-night stories from past years (16:00).

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Ken Rosenthal: Giants viewed as top-bidder for Nicholas Castellanos

Ken Rosenthal: Giants viewed as top-bidder for Nicholas Castellanos

As the budget-conscious Cubs figure out their 2020 payroll, an NL West team has emerged in the race to sign free agent Nicholas Castellanos.

According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal (subcription required), a team interested in Castellanos views the Giants as the top-bidder for the outfielder's services.

The Giants recently named Cubs front office assistant Scott Harris as their general manager, so San Francisco has some ties to Castellanos. The Giants 2020 luxury tax payroll is currently projected to be $186 million (per Roster Resource) so they could sign Castellanos without going over MLB's $208 million threshold.

Castellanos was a stellar addition last season after the Cubs acquired him at the trade deadline. He posted a .321/.356/.646 line with 16 home runs and 21 doubles in 51 games. That performance upped the 27-year-old's value entering free agency.

The Cubs are looking to get under the luxury tax threshold to avoid being penalized a second straight season. Signing Castellanos would complicate this, but the Cubs are still pursuing him, as they could potentially sign him and clear payroll in a corresponding move.

But if it turns into a bidding war, the Cubs may find themselves unable to bring Castellanos back.