White Sox

Teammates hoping for best as Danny Farquhar is stable but in critical condition following brain hemorrhage

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AP

Teammates hoping for best as Danny Farquhar is stable but in critical condition following brain hemorrhage

“It’s shocking. It’s sad.”

Don Cooper’s two-sentence assessment of the feeling in the White Sox clubhouse was as apt as any.

White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar remains in critical condition at RUSH University Medical Center after suffering a brain hemorrhage in Friday night’s game against the Houston Astros. Farquhar passed out in the dugout in the sixth inning and was carried out and taken to the hospital. Saturday morning, the team updated his status, saying that tests revealed that a ruptured aneurysm caused the brain bleed and that he’s undergoing continued treatment.

His teammates and coaches offered their thoughts and prayers as they got ready to play another game Saturday night, baseball certainly not the most important thing on their minds.

“It crushes us in this clubhouse,” pitcher James Shields said. “And nothing really matters baseball-wise when something like that happens, you know? When you see one of your brothers go down like that, it’s not very fun to watch, and he’s such a resilient human being and we’re praying for him. We hope everything goes well with that.

“Baseball doesn’t matter when it comes to something like that. All that matters is family and life, and like I said, he’s a brother of ours, he’s a great teammate and you don’t ever want to see one of your brothers go through something like that. We’re praying for him.”

Farquhar, who joined the White Sox in the middle of last season, has a clubhouse reputation as a good guy, a funny guy who has made a positive impression on his teammates.

“He’s awesome. Teammate, clubhouse guy, all-around just a great guy, good family guy. Just a good friend,” pitcher Hector Santiago said. “Just kind of sucks how everything just went down like that, unexpected like that. It’s something you can’t control. I mean he just pitched in a big league game and a couple minutes later he’s lying on the ground, so it’s a very worrisome situation and it sucks, but you just pray for him and hope for him to come back soon and hopefully everything works out great.”

“He’s a great kid. Hard worker,” manager Rick Renteria said. “When you look at him he probably had to battle his whole career to do what he’s doing. Has a very good arm. Hes a nice man with a beautiful wife and kids. And just a nice guy to have around.”

As Renteria alluded, Farquhar’s baseball journey has been an eventful one.

He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008, traded to the Oakland Athletics in 2010, traded back to the Blue Jays the following year and made his big league debut in September of 2011. The next summer, he was claimed off waivers by the A’s, then claimed off waivers by the New York Yankees two weeks later, then traded to the Seattle Mariners a month after that. In 2015, he made seven trips between the Mariners and their Triple-A affiliate. The following offseason, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, and he made seven more trips between the bigs and Triple-A in 2016.

Released by the Rays last summer, he was signed by the White Sox and made his first appearance with the South Siders in August. He logged 14.1 innings in a White Sox uniform in 2017 and pitched eight this season, including the 0.2 he threw Friday.

Even with all that moving around between the majors and minors, he’s pitched in parts of seven different big league seasons.

Farquhar’s teammates and coaches said they hope that perseverance will help him in this situation — one that’s far more important than anything that’s happened on the baseball field.

“As of right now it’s not looking great,” Shields said. “He’s definitely stable from what we hear, but he’s got a long way to go and he’s fighting. So, one thing I know is that Farqy, he’s a fighter, man. So again we’re praying for him and his family. Our thoughts are with him and his family.”

“Listen, all of the kids that come into your life, I don’t know if they come into our lives, we come into their lives or our worlds combine. But I believe things kind of happen for a reason,” Cooper said. “You want their pitching and baseball lives to be wonderful. You want them to have the careers they are looking for, and that would certainly hold true outside of baseball. I know this: He’s alive, he’s got a chance and that’s what I’m hanging on to. And prayers are more necessary than talk.”

Daily White Sox prospects update: Gavin Sheets hits his first homer of 2018

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Daily White Sox prospects update: Gavin Sheets hits his first homer of 2018

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

Class A Winston-Salem

Gavin Sheets hit his first home run of the season in a 12-4 loss. While it's taken him this long to hit his first ball out of the park, Sheets has a .380 on-base percentage and his 24 walks make for one of the top 10 totals in the Carolina League. Blake Rutherford doubled in this one, while Sheets, Rutherford, Alex Call and Luis Alexander Basabe combined to draw five walks.

Class A Kannapolis

Luis Gonzalez and Evan Skoug each had a hit in a 9-3 win.

Triple-A Charlotte

Charlie Tilson had two hits in a 9-3 loss.

James Shields is having a stellar May and making comeback wins possible for the White Sox

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USA TODAY

James Shields is having a stellar May and making comeback wins possible for the White Sox

If you haven’t checked in with what James Shields is doing in a while, your opinion of the veteran pitcher’s performance might need some updating.

Shields didn’t exactly win the confidence of White Sox fans during his first two seasons on the South Side. After arriving in a midseason trade with the San Diego Padres in 2016, he posted a 6.77 ERA in 22 starts, during which he allowed 31 home runs. He followed that up with a 5.23 ERA and 27 home runs allowed in 2017.

And the 2018 season didn’t start out great, either, with a 6.17 ERA over his first five outings.

But the month of May has brought a dramatic turn in the vet’s production. In five May starts, he’s got a 3.27 ERA in five starts, all of which have seen him go at least six innings (he’s got six straight outings of at least six innings, dating back to his last start in April).

And his two most recent starts have probably been his two best ones of the season. After allowing just one run on three hits in 7.1 innings last Thursday against the Texas Rangers, he gave up just two runs on five hits Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles.

The White Sox, by the way, won both of those games in comeback fashion. They scored four runs in the eighth against Texas and three in the eighth against Baltimore for a pair of “Ricky’s boys don’t quit” victories made possible by Shields’ great work on the mound.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he said after Tuesday’s game. “It’s our job as starters to keep us in the game as long as we possibly can, no matter how we are hitting in a game. At the end of the game, you can always score one or two runs and possibly win a ballgame like we did tonight.”

The White Sox offense was indeed having trouble much of Tuesday’s game, kept off the scoreboard by Orioles starter Kevin Gausman. Particularly upsetting for White Sox Twitter was the sixth inning, when the South Siders put two runners in scoring position with nobody out and then struck out three straight times to end the inning.

But Shields went out and pitched a shut-down seventh, keeping the score at 2-0. Bruce Rondon did much the same thing in the eighth, and the offense finally sparked to life in the bottom of the inning when coincidentally presented with a similar situation to the one in the sixth. This time, though, the inning stayed alive and resulted in scoring, with Welington Castillo, Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez driving in the three runs.

“I’m out there doing my job,” Shields said. “My job is to try to keep us in the game. And we had some good starters against us that have been throwing well. If I can keep them close, we are going to get some wins and get some wins throughout the rest of the year like that. That’s the name of the game.”

Shields’ value in this rebuilding effort has been discussed often. His veteran presence is of great value in the clubhouse, particularly when it comes to mentoring young pitchers like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, among others. Shields can act as an example of how to go about one’s business regardless of the outcomes of his starts. But when he can lead by example with strong outings, that’s even more valuable.

“I’m trying to eat as many innings as possible,” he said. “We kind of gave our bullpen — we taxed them a little bit the first month of the season. We are kind of getting back on track. Our goal as a starting staff is to go as deep as possible, and in order to do that, you’ve got to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters.

“Not too many playoff teams, a starting staff goes five and dive every single game. My whole career I’ve always wanted to go as deep as possible. I wanted to take the ball all the way to the end of the game. And we’ve done a pretty good job of it of late.”

It’s a long time between now and the trade deadline, and consistency has at times escaped even the brightest spots on this rebuilding White Sox roster. But Shields has strung together a nice bunch of starts here of late, and if that kind of performance can continue, the White Sox front office might find that it has a potential trade piece on its hands. That, too, is of value to this rebuild.

Until that possibility occurs, though, the team will take more solid outings that give these young players an opportunity to learn how to come back and learn how to win.