White Sox

White Sox rotation gearing up for stretch run

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White Sox rotation gearing up for stretch run

With less than two months left in the regular season, the White Sox rotation is in a state of flux.

John Danks, who hasn't pitched since May 19, underwent surgery on his ailing left shoulder Monday morning and will miss the rest of 2012.

Meanwhile, Philip Humber, he of the perfect game in April, was demoted back to the bullpen as the White Sox abandoned the six-man rotation in favor of a more typical pitching staff. The move helps add another arm to a taxed bullpen that was working a man short.

"It's nice to get another guy in there that can help out," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.

Jake Peavy, Jose Quintana, Francisco Liriano, Gavin Floyd and Chris Sale will make up the five-man rotation, though Ventura said Humber can slot in if called upon.

"With Phil down in the bullpen, you have the ability that if you need him to, he can start anytime," Ventura said. "In case something happens to somebody and you need a major-league arm, he's the best guy for it. It helps us a lot with flexibility."

That cushion has to be comforting for Ventura, who has seen his rotation take hit after hit this season. Humber joined Danks on the DL earlier this season and Liriano had to leave his start early on Sunday after taking a ball off his leg -- Ventura said Liriano was fine, just nursing a bruise.

Even Sale has been banged up, having been forced to skip several starts this season. Monday is his first appearance since July 27 and the White Sox hope the nine days off will keep the 23-year-old fresh in his first full season as a starter.

"You hope so," Ventura said. "That was the plan of giving Sale a rest. You can find out if it actually works. Nobody knows for sure, but we're erring on the side of helping him out and giving him the best chance possible."

While the Washington Nationals have been adamant that they will keep young phenom Stephen Strasburg on a strict innings limit even amidst a playoff race, the White Sox haven't placed a definitive number on Sale's innings.

Ventura said he and the coaching staff are in constant communication with their pitchers, monitoring their health and listening to them.

"It is unchartered waters with all of them," Ventura said. "Player-wise, everything is day-to-day. Every day a guy plays, it's possible that something could happen that they might not be able to play the next day.

"It's just more on how they feel. It's going to be an individual thing with some pitchers. You just listen to them."

The communication throughout the season has impressed Peavy.

"The organization has to be smart about things and they will," Peavy said. "I think this organization has handled Chris Sale brilliantly...We have an open line of communication from the front office to what's going on in the clubhouse with all of us.

"It's so nice to see an organization work as a cohesive group from the top of the chain all the way down to us and make good decisions for all the players involved. It's a tough situation. These young guys are so valued, but at the same time, I was young and throwing all I could and we weren't even in the mix some of those years."

While the young guns like Sale and Quintana have yet to even approach a 200-inning season in their professional careers, Peavy last reached the 200-inning plateau in 2007. The six-man rotation could have given everybody a chance at an extra day to rest and recuperate.

"Extra rest this time of year is always a good thing, but we're about to get to the point where we're trying to chase down this dream," Peavy said. "You're not going to get to go on extra rest and it's getting to be 'go time' where you have to get out there as much as you can get out there.

"I believe I do have enough rest now where I can go on a normal schedule. I can't speak for anybody else, but you do what you do all year long and you don't ever hold back...The rest that we have gotten, you would hope would just help your body to be a little more ready to handle the next two months of workload and next 10 starts."

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.