Bell can see gains in White Sox international program

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Bell can see gains in White Sox international program

Venezuelan prospect Carlos Sanchez is a step away from the majors and Buddy Bell believes more international talent is on the way.

Bell, the White Sox assistant general manager, returned from a trip to the teams academy in the Dominican Republic last week and said he can already see progress a little more than a year after Marco Paddy was hired.

Paddy, who joined the team near the end of the 2011 season, has been asked to turn around an international program that has produced few players over the past 15 seasons. Bell is impressed with the programs early gains.

You need scouts to find the talent and Marco has done a very good job since his hire last year, Bell said in an email. Our players at our Dominican academy look a lot different. This is the first time I can say we have some guys that have a chance to be impactful major leaguers. Very athletic looking kids.

Eduardo Escobar, who was traded to the Minnesota Twins in July for Francisco Liriano, and Sanchez, who earlier this month was rated the teams No. 3 prospect by Baseball America, are the programs only recent graduates.

The combination of the clubs poor track record and new rules in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement that effectively level the playing field by limiting the amount teams can spend have led to the White Sox adding resources to their international program.

Not only has the team spent more on international signings, Paddy is also in the process of hiring five new scouts to help the White Sox cover more ground in the international game.

Unfortunately, it's going to take some time but we have to start somewhere, Bell said. Because of what happened a few years back you become a little paranoid about the system. We are all in now.

No, Albert Almora Jr. didn’t subtly give the middle finger to President Donald Trump during Cubs’ White House visit

No, Albert Almora Jr. didn’t subtly give the middle finger to President Donald Trump during Cubs’ White House visit

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

[CUBS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”

Almora is 23 years old, confident and focused, rarely straying off message during his interactions with reporters. He grew up in a Cuban-American family in South Florida and traveled with the team in January for the final official event in the Obama White House.   

“Hey, man, it’s not every day you get to meet the president of the United States,” Almora said. “To meet two in one calendar year, for me, is a special feeling.”

5 at 5: Cubs owner talks smack to President Trump

5 at 5: Cubs owner talks smack to President Trump

In Wednesday's edition of 5 at 5, Chuck Garfien and Slavko Bekovic break down the top five Chicago sports storylines right now.

Following his controversial comments, Miguel Montero was designated for assignment by the Cubs. They react and share fan responses.

Cubs owner Todd Ricketts also tells President Trump that his team will beat the Washington Nationals in the playoffs.

Also, is Phil Jackson's legacy tarnished?

5 at 5 - 6/28/2017

From #WeAreGood to #HeIsGone, Chuck Garfien and Slavko Bekovic break down Montero's departure and MORE of today's biggest stories on the 5 @ 5! We're taking your questions and comments too, so react while you watch!

Posted by CSN Chicago on Wednesday, June 28, 2017