White Sox

Amid constant rebuilding talk, White Sox out to 'surprise a lot of people' in 2018

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USA TODAY

Amid constant rebuilding talk, White Sox out to 'surprise a lot of people' in 2018

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The quote came from a veteran pitcher who looked around the clubhouse assessing his team.

“There’s a lot of talent for sure. I’ll tell you that much. It’s going to be an exciting year.”

This sort of confidence wasn’t coming from the Houston Astros clubhouse, or the Cleveland Indians or the New York Yankees.

Nope, this was Miguel Gonzalez describing the rebuilding White Sox.

“We’re going to surprise a lot of people,” Gonzalez said. “We’re going to switch things around.”

Did you hear that, Las Vegas sports books? Most of them have the White Sox winning about 68 games in 2018.

If you believe what Gonzalez is throwing out there, consider placing your bets now.

It’s only the second year of the rebuild. Judging by past teardowns in the majors, there should be plenty of losing ahead. But this White Sox team is out to shed that rebuild label very soon — like this upcoming season.

“We want to win, and we want to start shifting this rebuilding state,” Matt Davidson said. “We don’t want to always be stuck here.”

Playing his first full season in the majors in 2017, Davidson got off to a solid start, batting .245 with 18 home runs and 42 RBIs in the first half. However, his stats and confidence plummeted in the second half when he slashed .185/.226/.364 with only eight home runs and 59 strikeouts compared to six walks.  

He says he doesn’t need to be reminded about his struggles last season. He admits it only takes a quick search of his name on the internet to find the evidence. He and many of his teammates have reported early to camp to prove they’re better than what people might think — and that might even include the coaches.

“We want to make it hard on them,” Davidson said. “We want them to sit in those meetings and wonder what to do. We want to all be good.”

Reliever Nate Jones has almost become a forgotten man with the White Sox. Tommy John surgery, back surgery and elbow surgery since 2014 will do that. But he’s already in camp, feeling 100 percent, and when asked if he’ll be ready for Opening Day he said, “Absolutely.”

As the elder statesman with the White Sox in terms of seniority — he’s been with the team since 2012 — Jones’ first year with the club was also Robin Ventura’s first as manager.  

He says there’s a big contrast between now and then.

“It’s a different vibe for sure,” Jones said. “Ricky (Renteria) is creating that from the top. He wants us to realize what it takes to be a playoff contender year in and year out, and it starts now. It started last year in his first year getting us all together and bonding. Everyone has talked about how tight-knit a group this is. It truly is. It’s something we bought into, and we know what we need to do to win.”

The White Sox are hoping the winning comes sooner rather than later.

Daily White Sox prospects update: Eloy Jimenez homers, Seby Zavala goes to the DL

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Daily White Sox prospects update: Eloy Jimenez homers, Seby Zavala goes to the DL

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Double-A Birmingham

Eloy Jimenez hit his eighth home run of the season in a 7-3 loss. Zack Collins and Matt Rose each had a hit, a walk and a run scored. Ian Clarkin gave up five runs and walked five in his five innings. Seby Zavala, who leads the Southern League with 10 homers, went on the disabled list with a wrist injury.

Triple-A Charlotte

Jordan Stephens had a good second outing at the Triple-A level, allowing just one earned run in his 6.1 innings. He allowed five hits and walked two, striking out four batters. In his two starts with Charlotte, he's got a 2.19 ERA with three earned runs allowed in 12.1 innings. Charlie Tilson doubled in the 12-6 win. Thyago Vieira gave up two runs in his lone inning of work, and his ERA stands at 5.85 on the season.

Class A Winston-Salem

The bats seem to have gone a tad cold for the Dash, who suffered a 4-1 loss. The top five hitters in the lineup — Joel Booker, Alex Call, Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo and Gavin Sheets — combined to go 2-for-18.

Class A Kannapolis

Lincoln Henzman gave up four earned runs in five innings, allowing a pair of home runs. Luis Gonzalez and Evan Skoug each had a hit in a 5-3 loss.

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: