White Sox

What's the Bears' record? Don't worry, Lovie has you covered

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What's the Bears' record? Don't worry, Lovie has you covered

In case anyone was forgetting, during the span of about 11 minutes of time at the podium on Wednesday, coach Lovie Smith saw fit to mention that the Bears are 8-5. Not that anyone asked what the record was, but

The sense here is that Smith likely has mentioned that as many or more times to his players and coaches. Hes not mentioning that theyve lost four of their last five games. Hes not mentioning that the Bears need to win some or all of their final three games to reach the postseason. Hes not reminding his team that its lost to the Green Bay Packers five straight times.

MORE: Bears need to break Packers' 'hex' over Cutler

The public, or at least a large portion of it, doesnt need to be convinced that the Bears are 8-5. As for the Bears themselves, however

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall came in for his weeklyWednesday chat with the media carrying a Christmas twig, nicely decorated and with a recording of jazz legend Vince Guaraldis A Charlie Brown Christmas playing.

READ: Brandon Marshall on GB: "This is personal."

Marshall, like Smith, was sending a message to more than those in the Halas Hall press room. It isnt the media who need to believe that the Bears are an 8-5 football team.

Well, yeah, metaphorically, our season looks like this tree right now where were standing, Marshall began. Barren. Ugly.

But theres still hope. As a kid, it doesnt matter how your Christmas tree looks. Youre still waiting for Christmas Day. You have hopes and dreams that Santas going to bring you those things you ask for. Its always a possibility.

Where we stand today, our goal is to win the NFC championship, beat the Green Bay Packers, win the Super Bowl. All of that still can be under this Christmas tree. Whenever youre down, youve got to try to create some type of balance, so this is a perfect little thing for me to keep me going.

In that direction as well:

The normal NFL players week begins in earnest with a full practice on Wednesday. This is anything but a normal week for the Bears, however.

With injuries taking down members of every position group, Smith changed to a second practice session in sweats rather than a practice in some form of uniform.

We have a lot of guys banged up today, and just felt like we could get more work done, meetings, Smith said. Just felt like another day to heal up would benefit us more than trying to go out there and having guys double up on a lot of things.

But the Bears need to heal more than just physical bruises.

The locker room in Minnesota, after a fourth loss in five games, was somber in ways indicative of more than just the after effects of one loss. More like a fourth in five games.

MORE: Barring meltdown, franchise history says Lovie stays

Thats why I think we need to relax a little bit, said offensive coordinator Mike Tice. I dont know why guysIm hoping its not me putting stress on them. I try to keep it loose and have fun.

But at a certain point, we have to look at every reason why guys arent relaxing and making those plays, because they make them in practice. Practices have been sound and sharp, and no balls on the ground in practice.

Reported promotion of Zack Collins adds another piece to White Sox rebuilding puzzle

Reported promotion of Zack Collins adds another piece to White Sox rebuilding puzzle

The White Sox rebuilding puzzle is getting closer to completion.

Zack Collins is reportedly en route to the major leagues, according to a report from Miami talk-show host Andy Slater. That adds another one of the White Sox highly rated prospects to the growing list of them at the big league level as the franchise’s contention window looks set to open relatively soon.


Collins was the team’s first-round draft pick in 2016, selected with the No. 10 pick that year out of the University of Miami. Currently ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the farm system, he’s always been praised for his offensive abilities. Last season at Double-A Birmingham, he finished the year with a .382 on-base percentage and launched 15 homers, also winning the Home Run Derby at the Southern League All-Star Game.

In 48 games with Triple-A Charlotte this season, Collins owns a .258/.382/.497 slash line with nine homers, nine doubles, 38 RBIs and 35 walks.

Collins has been lauded as a big bat, but there have been questions about other parts of his game as he’s risen through the system. From the day he was drafted, there were questions about his defensive ability, leading to speculation that he might one day end up at a position besides catcher. He’s also racked up the strikeouts in the minors, with 396 of them in 322 games over his four minor league seasons.

But the White Sox haven’t wavered in their confidence that Collins can be a big league catcher, and it looks like that’s the position he’ll fill should the White Sox call him up before the start of next week’s Crosstown series with the Cubs. Welington Castillo was removed from Sunday’s loss to the New York Yankees with back tightness. The team said Castillo will be reevaluated on Monday. With this report of Collins’ promotion, it looks like Castillo could be headed to the injured list.

Another top prospect reaching the majors adds another tangible example of rebuilding progress. Fans have been clamoring for the promotions of Dylan Cease and Luis Robert all season long, and while Collins might be a little further down in the rankings than those two, this should still please fans who, even in a season filled with positives, want to see a more rapid advancement toward the rebuild’s ultimate goal.

Collins will perhaps benefit from a lack of pressure, what with James McCann in the midst of a potentially All-Star season as the White Sox primary catcher. The White Sox could perhaps continue to lean on McCann, allowing Collins to ease into the major leagues.

But just like Michael Kopech last August and Eloy Jimenez in March, Collins’ mere arrival is a step forward in this process, one that should please fans immensely.

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Yoan Moncada continues battle with back issues

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USA TODAY

Yoan Moncada continues battle with back issues

Yoan Moncada's battle with his back issues might not be as over as we thought.

The third baseman made his return to the White Sox starting lineup Sunday following a four-game layoff due to a mild back strain. But his return didn't last long. After a fourth-inning strikeout in his second plate appearance of the 10-3 loss to the visiting New York Yankees, Moncada was removed from the game with what the team announced as upper back tightness.

Moncada is described as day to day. The White Sox have an off day Monday ahead of the start of a two-game Crosstown series at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.

"He's doing good. I think I'm not the only one who noticed his grimace in the swing. It made no sense to continue to expose him to that," manager Rick Renteria said after Sunday's game. "All indications are he should be ready to go on Tuesday.

"Didn't seem to put him in any predicament. Hopefully it didn't set him back. All indications are that hopefully he'll be back on Tuesday."

Moncada was removed from Monday's game against the Washington Nationals with what was initially described as back spasms. Renteria updated the verbiage to a back strain in the following days. Moncada missed Tuesday's game against the Nationals, went through a Wednesday off day and then missed the first three games of the four-game weekend set with the Yankees. His return lasted all of four innings Sunday before he was taken out again.

"Just watching the swing, watching the finish, which is what I was concerned with, getting through the ball. He's ready to get through the ball, it's just the finish. He's feeling a little something there," Renteria said. "You can't replicate it in any drill work. We've tried to do it. Everything he did was good. All the work he did was good.

"Everything we tried to do to replicate it, it wasn't existent until you get into the game, then you know. That's why I think it was a good — I don't know if you want to call it a test, but it was a test. We wanted to see where he was at. Didn't make any sense to continue to push him. Get him ready and calm it down and get him ready for the series against the North Siders."

Moncada wasn't the only White Sox hitter removed from Sunday's game. Welington Castillo, who was the designated hitter, was taken out with what the team announced as lower back tightness. Renteria confirmed after the game that Castillo's injury came on his swing in the second inning, a line drive off the center-field wall that ended up as only a single. Castillo will be reevaluated during the off day Monday.

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