Rose a game-time decision for Thursday's Heat rematch

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Rose a game-time decision for Thursday's Heat rematch

DEERFIELD -- It's gotten to the point with Derrick Rose's injury situation where even Tom Thibodeau is joking about it.

The reigning MVP has missed 23 games this season with a myriad of injuries, including the latest -- a sprained right ankle -- that leaves his status in doubt for Thursday's matchup with rival Miami.

"Who?" Thibodeau deadpanned when asked about Rose, a question he's received at just about every media appearance for the past couple of weeks.

"Game-time decision," the Bulls head coach said of Rose, who participated in Thursday morning's shootaround.

"He did some shooting and ran through some offense," Thibodeau said. "He did some of the defensive drills and he did the walk-through."

Rose sat out the last matchup with the Heat -- March 14 in Chicago -- with a strained groin. He has played in just one game since then, an overtime loss to the Knicks on Easter Sunday.

Thursday's game may have a big impact on seeding in the Eastern Conference playoffs, as Miami (40-16) sits a couple games behind the Bulls (44-14) in the loss column. Chicago beat the Heat 106-102 without Rose in mid-March, thanks to a monster performance from backup point guard John Lucas III (24 points).

Will the Bulls have their MVP back for Thursday's rematch?

"We'll see," Thibodeau said.

Seven-run ninth inning dooms White Sox in loss to Royals

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Seven-run ninth inning dooms White Sox in loss to Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — What an implosion.

For a second consecutive game, the White Sox bullpen gave away a contest well in hand.

But Saturday’s version was far more unbelievable than Friday’s.

Trailing by six runs, the Kansas City Royals rallied to score seven times in the bottom of the ninth off David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to send the White Sox to a stunning 8-7 loss at Kauffman Stadium. Brett Eibner’s bases-loaded RBI single off Kahnle delivered another crushing blow to the White Sox, who have lost 13 of their last 17.

Cheslor Cuthbert singled to start an improbable rally and Eibner doubled to deep right when Adam Eaton lost the ball in the sun. Robertson walked Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar consecutively to force in a run. Whit Merrifield’s grounder then hit off Robertson’s glove and a potential double play turned into a two-run single and made it 7-4. Lorenzo Cain just beat out a double play ball to score another run before Eric Hosmer doubled off Robertson to get Kansas City within a run. Drew Butera, who entered in the ninth inning after Salvador Perez exited with a knee injury, doubled off Kahnle to score the tying run.

The White Sox entered the ninth inning without a care in the world. They had bounced back definitively from Friday’s stunner, when the bullpen surrendered a four-run lead over the final three innings.

An opposite-field approach against Yordano Ventura took hold with two outs in the fourth inning. Brett Lawrie, Alex Avila and Avisail Garcia all had opposite-field singles with the last one putting the White Sox ahead 1-0. Tyler Saladino fell behind in the count, but crushed a hanging 0-2 slider from Ventura out to left for a three-run homer and a four-run lead.

The White Sox offense continued to add on against Ventura. Avila doubled with one out in the fourth inning and Garcia pulverized a 2-1 changeup for a two-run shot. Garcia’s homer, his fifth, traveled 428 feet with an exit velocity of 113 mph. It gave the White Sox a 6-1 advantage.

They tacked on another run in the fifth when Austin Jackson singled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error by Omar Infante. Jackson went 3-for-5.

Carlos Rodon didn’t handle the run support very well at first.

He labored in the second inning as the Royals brought the tying run to the plate. But Rodon got Alcides Escobar to ground out with the bases loaded to end the threat.

Rodon gave up a leadoff double in the third inning and Friday’s hero, Eric Hosmer, singled to make it a 4-1 game. The Royals got no closer however as Rodon struck out Perez and got Paulo Orlando to line out with a man on third.

Rodon needed 68 pitches to complete three innings. He retired the side in order on 12 pitches in the fourth, which gave him enough gas to complete the fifth inning despite allowing two hits. Rodon retired Hosmer on a comebacker and got Perez to ground out, both with two runners in scoring position.

Zach Putnam took over in the sixth and recorded seven outs on 27 pitches. Zach Duke got the final two outs of the eighth and gave way to Robertson.

Salvador Perez left the game in the ninth inning after he and Cuthbert collided midway between home and third on Eaton’s foul pop up with one out in the ninth. Perez removed the shin guard on his left knee and had to be helped off the field only six days after Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon severely injured each other on a pop up in Chicago. Moustakas is out for the season with a torn ACL while Gordon is on the disabled list with a broken bone in his hand.

Rebuilding Phillies are no match for win-now Cubs at Wrigley

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Rebuilding Phillies are no match for win-now Cubs at Wrigley

Pete Mackanin interviewed for the manager's job that went to Dale Sveum in November 2011 — when the Cubs technically had Carlos Zambrano on their roster and Alfonso Soriano's mega deal still had three seasons remaining. The blueprints for a renovated Wrigley Field were just that, blueprints. Saturday afternoons like this didn't seem at all close, with no guarantees The Plan would ever work.

On a sunny, 75-degree day that started to feel like summer for the crowd of 41,555 at Clark and Addison, the Cubs handled the Philadelphia Phillies, improving their best-in-baseball record to 33-14 with a 4-1 win over a young team now in the rebuilding cycle. 

Kyle Hendricks — who's grown up into an outstanding fifth starter for a first-place team ever since Ryan Dempster decided to waive his no-trade rights and agreed to go to the Texas Rangers minutes before the July 31 trade deadline in 2012 — pitched all nine innings and nearly finished off the shutout.

Dexter Fowler — the final item in late February of a spending spree that approached almost $290 million — drilled his 16th career leadoff home run for what's become a relentless offense. Fowler lifted Jerad Eickhoff's fifth pitch of the game, a 92-mph fastball, and it bounced into and out of the left-center field bleachers. 

Mackanin — a Brother Rice High School graduate who grew up on the South Side and has managed in Venezuela, Australia, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico — knows what his Phillies (26-23) are up against here on Memorial Day weekend. 

"Very formidable team," Mackanin said. "These guys have a lot of everything. They got good pitching and defense. They got dangerous hitters up and down the lineup. It's always tough to come in here and play."

Mackanin became the interim guy when Ryne Sandberg abruptly resigned last summer, managing the Phillies during their surprising three-game sweep and a Cole Hamels no-hitter in late July. Since then, the Cubs are 79-33 and haven't lost a Jake Arrieta regular-season start. 

"A lot of it has to do with the entirety of this place," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Our young guys are different because they don't act like young guys. Their comportment is not like a young man in a baseball sense where they get it. Their work ethic is so good, how they interact, how they attack the day. They don't take anything for granted. They've had a good day — they don't get haughty and proud of it. They just go back out the next day and play.

"These veteran guys that have been involved in championships know that's what it takes. You get the combination of Wrigley Field, the fan base, this facility and a youth-driven good team, that should bring out the best in all these guys," Maddon said. "It should make them feel that way. It's wonderful to come to the ballpark every day to be attached to all of this. 

"It's just the place you want to be, man. You want to be there as a professional right now in Major League Baseball."

Report: White Sox have interest in San Diego pitcher James Shields

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Report: White Sox have interest in San Diego pitcher James Shields

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The White Sox reportedly have spoken to the San Diego Padres about acquiring starting pitcher James Shields.

The San Diego Union-Tribune confirmed an internet report Saturday that the White Sox have interest in the 34-year-old right-hander. Shields is 2-6 with a 3.06 ERA in 10 starts for the Padres this season.

A member of the Kansas City Royals from 2013-14, Shields is in the second season of a four-year, $75-million deal he signed with San Diego before last season. He is owed at least $44 million over the next two seasons. The contract includes a $16 million team option for 2019 with a $2 million buyout. He’s earning $21 million this season and in 2017 and 2018. Shields can opt out of the deal at the end of the 2016 season.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has made it no secret he hopes to add to a club that won 23 of its first 33 games in hopes of contending. Though the Sox had lost 12 of their past 16, they entered Saturday with a half-game lead over the Cleveland Indians and a game over the Royals.

The team’s interest in Shields was first reported Saturday on Twitter by @barstoolWSD.