To Cooper's delight, Sox aren't horsebleep

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To Cooper's delight, Sox aren't horsebleep

Everyone saw the predictions. Sports Illustrated had the White Sox pegged for 95 losses. Others projected an uninspiring finish in the American League Central, with the Sox maybe, just maybe, scraping .500.

White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper knows the predictions. He also knows the Sox currently sit in first place.

"If I'm not mistaken, I think that all of you guys had us picked to be horsebleep," Cooper bristled to the assembled media in the Sox dugout prior to Saturday's game. "And we haven't come to that yet. There's a lot of good things going on."

Not everything is rosy for the Sox, though, who have lost four of their last six games since a nine-game winning streak came to an end a week ago. Third base remains an issue while Gavin Floyd and Philip Humber have struggled to keep their ERAs from climbing. But Cooper isn't having any of that negativity.

"We have two guys that we are trying to bring out of their inconsistency to more consistency," Cooper said of Floyd and Humber. "Weve seen them good before and we know what it looks like.

"With that being said, everyone likes to pick out our issues or our weak points or things we need to improve. We are well aware of them, first of all. Thanks to everyone for telling us. We are well aware of everything that is going on. Heres some news too: There are 30 other clubs and they all have issues too. We are not sitting and lamenting our inconsistency. We are trying actively to get it better. Thats all you can do."

While the Sox are trying to get Floyd and Humber back on track, they've successfully replaced their 65-million man with an unheralded Colombian rookie. With John Danks on the disabled list, Jose Quintana has posted a 2.05 ERA in 22 innings.

"He's going out there and he's making his way in the major leagues. I mean, this is stuff that's great to watch," reveled Cooper. "To see a kid go out there for the first time, get his first win, pitching well, trying to live his dream. That's good, that's not bad. I'm having a lot of fun watching the younger guys to tell you the truth."

Along with Quintana, Nate Jones, Addison Reed and Chris Sale have provided Cooper with that enjoyment. Sale has been especially good, as entering his start Saturday he led the American League with a 2.30 ERA.

"Listen, he was one of the baddest ass lefty relievers in the league, I know that," Cooper said. "Now we're trying to give him the chance to be one of the top-flight starters. He's on his way."

But Sale hasn't thrown over 100 innings in two years, when he tossed 136 23 innings between Florida Gulf Coast, the minor leagues and the White Sox. With a quality start today, Sale will surpass his 2011 innings total.

Cooper doesn't know if the Sox will impose an innings limit on Sale, instead choosing to play things by ear and do everything possible to get Sale as much rest as he needs.

We're certainly determining everything as we go," Cooper said. We already skipped him a start earlier when he moved to the bullpen. He's getting extra days now. Believe me, everything we can do to keep him healthy and strong and keep him going out there and doing what he's doing, it's getting taken care of."

The Sox haven't played their 60th game of the season yet. It's still early, and while the team is in first, there still are concerns that need to be addressed going forward. But Cooper is determined to not focus on the negative any more than he has to.

"For me it's a pet peeve, I guess," Cooper said of that negativity. "A lot of people like to moan, complain and cry about 'what's this guy not doing? What's this guy not doing?' Hey man, look what's happening here. We don't sit and cry and moan. There's no crying and moaning in baseball. You just got to keep going. And that's a good attribute of our club. Regardless of what happens yesterday, we come back ready to play today."

White Sox conclude suspended game with Tigers on CSN

White Sox conclude suspended game with Tigers on CSN

The White Sox conclude their suspended game against the Detroit Tigers, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. The 3-3 game will pick up in the top of the ninth at 1:10 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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White Sox mum on Chris Sale incident after suspended game against Tigers

White Sox mum on Chris Sale incident after suspended game against Tigers

The White Sox and Detroit Tigers will resume play of their suspended game — which is tied 3-3 to begin the top of the ninth — on Sunday after a third rain delay finally washed things out Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field. 

But literal storms paled in comparison to the figurative one that erupted from the White Sox clubhouse involving ace left-hander Chris Sale. The American League's All-Star Game starter was scratched from his start about 30 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, with a vague statement from general manager Rick Hahn mentioning a “non-physical” incident in the clubhouse that was under investigation by the team

Just as the game's second rain delay hit, though, a report surfaced — which was later confirmed by CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes — that Sale, who started for the American League All-Stars last week in San Diego, was so furious over having to wear the team’s 1976 throwback uniforms that he cut them up so they couldn’t be worn. Sale was sent home by the White Sox after the incident. 

The White Sox will still start All-Star left-hander Jose Quintana for Sunday’s series finale — which will begin 30 minutes after the final out of the suspended game, which will resume play at 1:10 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet — and manager Robin Ventura said he doesn’t have any plans for when Sale will make his next start. 

“I’ll talk about the game, but any of that stuff, we’ll wait on that,” Ventura said when asked about the Sale incident. “I know the team put out a release on that and we’re just going to stick with that. I’m not going to discuss what went on in there. But unfortunate he didn’t start tonight and proud of the guys that came in and filled in.”

Third baseman Todd Frazier declined comment — “I can’t really talk anything about that,” he said — as did right-hander Matt Albers, who started and threw two innings as the first cog in a seven-pitcher “Johnny Wholestaff” game.  

"I think we're going to keep that in-house,” Albers said. “For me, obviously you guys probably know what happened, but for me as a player, and in our clubhouse, we're going to keep in in-house. So, you're going to have to ask somebody else about that."

Without anything close to ample time to shuttle a starting pitcher up from the minor leagues to replace Sale, the White Sox went with Albers despite the 33-year-old throwing an inning both Thursday and Friday against the Tigers. Albers said he was told he would start the game around 4:30 p.m. 

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The White Sox needed seven relievers to get through the evening, with Albers, Dan Jennings and Tommy Kahnle all soaking up two innings and Zach Duke, Nate Jones and David Robertson combining for the final two frames before more heavy storms slammed the South Side. 

“(Sale’s) one of the best, absolutely,” Albers said. “But we're here for teammates. We're here to pick each other up in good times and bad, so we're just here to pick whoever up whenever."

On Thursday, general manager Rick Hahn said the White Sox are open to all options at the trade deadline outside of adding a short-term rental, meaning that a complete teardown and rebuild of the roster is on the table, even if it’s ultimately an unlikely scenario. But Frazier said the swirling rumors about plenty of players in the clubhouse aren’t fraying — or causing bizarre, national storylines — a White Sox team that only has one win since the All-Star break. 

“That’s happened to me the last two years,” Frazier said. “You just gotta be professional and play baseball. That’s it. Control what you can control, that’s playing the game.”

Chris Sale scratched from start due to 'clubhouse incident'

Chris Sale scratched from start due to 'clubhouse incident'

Chris Sale has not been traded, but he was scratched from his scheduled start Saturday due to a "clubhouse incident."

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement about 25 minutes before the scheduled start of Saturday's game against the Detroit Tigers that Sale was sent home from the park after a "non-physical" incident that is being investigated by the team. 

Here's Hahn's statement in full:

“Chris Sale has been scratched from tonight’s scheduled start and sent home from the ballpark by the White Sox due to a clubhouse incident before the game.  The incident, which was non-physical in nature, currently is under further investigation by the club.

“The White Sox will have no additional comment until the investigation is completed.”

Multiple reports, which CSNChicago.com's Dan Hayes confirmed, have the incident stemming from Sale not wanting to wear a 1976 throwback jersey for Saturday's game. The White Sox announced in March they would wear those uniforms on July 23, instead, the White Sox wore their 1983-style uniforms for Saturday's game. 

Matt Albers instead started for the White Sox on Saturday.

CSN Chicago's Chuck Garfien reported the incident started over something "stupid," while ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported the incident wasn't with any of Sale's teammates. 

The news of Sale’s scratching set Twitter ablaze with questions about if this year’s American League All-Star starting pitcher was on the move. On Friday, rumors circulated that the Texas Rangers were pushing to acquire Sale, but the White Sox reportedly were asking for a hefty return. 

On Saturday, the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant reported the Rangers had moved on from talks with the White Sox and were focusing on acquiring a starting pitcher from the Tampa Bay Rays.

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MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday the cost to acquire Sale would be “five top prospects.”

Earlier this week, general manager Rick Hahn said the White Sox were open to anything (except acquiring a second-half rental) but added that it might be “extreme” to undergo a full rebuild with Sale and fellow All-Star left-hander Jose Quintana under team control through 2019 and 2020, respectively. 

“We certainly have desirable players that people would want to help them win a championship,” Hahn said Thursday.” But at the same time, we’re aware of the fact that we have a lot of high-quality talent under control for years beyond 2016.”