Whether you agree with them or not, the White Sox have consistently shown a willingness to fight for their cause all season.
Twice last week, and in March with Adam LaRoche, White Sox players took a stand against management decisions they don’t agree with.
The more recent incident of course occurred Saturday and ultimately led to Chris Sale’s five-game suspension for insubordination and destruction of team property.
White Sox players also made headlines when they declined to tip the Seattle Mariners clubhouse attendant as a form of protest to a new team policy instituted that redirects 60 percent of those tips back to a club account to cover expenses such as postgame meals, etc. Traditionally, all money tipped by players has gone directly to clubhouse personnel without team involvement. Eaton said players merely are standing up for their beliefs.
“You’ve got to stick up for yourself,” Eaton said. “As cliché as it might sound, it’s just power to the players. The players have a voice in this game and if you don’t feel like something is par for the course or up to standard, we definitely vocalize it. It’s not that we’re spoiled or anything like that.”
“It’s just the way things have been ran and how things have been, with the instance of Adam LaRoche, the kid coming into the clubhouse -- I thought we got a lot of support with all kinds of guys putting pictures up online of them and their kid being in the clubhouse. With the Seattle thing, the other 29 teams are doing it. Sale’s a little bit off the radar -- I kind of like it.
“We feel strongly about something we’ll do something about it.”
White Sox players met with Seattle assistant general manager Jeff Kingston during the trip to talk about the policy in a story first reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Eaton said Monday that White Sox players have an envelope full of checks ready to hand over to Mariners visiting clubhouse manager Jeff Bopp when the situation is resolved. It’s not that they want to hurt Bopp, but they want the policy changed similar to how the San Francisco Giants quickly amended theirs last year. Eaton said the Cleveland Indians also tried to get around Seattle’s policy. He expects it will be an issue that is discussed in upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement talks.
“More or less we want to give the money to the people that are doing the work in the clubhouse,” Eaton said. “We don’t want the front office taking money from the guy that’s down there working until 1 o’clock in the morning cleaning our uniform and cleaning our spikes. We treat those guys with the utmost respect. They work their butts off. When we made a decision as a team not to pay, it was because we want that clubby to get the money he deserves. The front office, they’re not down there during the day, they’re not doing any work, and they’re receiving the funds. We don’t see that as a productive practice.”
Chris Sale will return to the White Sox mound Thursday against the Cubs for the first time since being suspended five games for cutting up his team’s 1976 throwback uniforms on Saturday.
The 27-year-old left-hander, who was issued a five-game suspension by the White Sox on Sunday for “violating team rules, for insubordination and for destroying team equipment,” will remain away from the team for the first three Crosstown games this week. Manager Robin Ventura said Sale would probably throw a side session sometime this week, but due to his suspension, any work will have to come on his own.
Ventura said he won’t necessarily have a discussion with Sale when the five-time All-Star returns to the club in the cramped confines of Wrigley Field’s visiting clubhouse later this week.
“He’s going to pitch. That’s what he does,” Ventura said. “I don’t think there has to be a big meeting or anything. He’s pitching Thursday.”
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Because of Sale’s bizarre pregame incident, the White Sox on Saturday had to use six relievers — Matt Albers, Dan Jennings, Tommy Kahnle, Zach Duke, Nate Jones and David Robertson — to get through eight innings before the game was suspended due to a line of heavy thunderstorms that rolled through the South Side. Robertson on Sunday pitched the ninth inning of the suspended game and the ninth of the regularly-scheduled contest against Detroit (he gave up three solo home runs to blow the save in the second game) and is likely unavailable for Monday night’s Crosstown opener against the Cubs.
White Sox players said they moved on quickly after Sale destroyed those uniforms he didn’t want to wear, pointing to the team’s two wins on Sunday for supporting evidence. And Ventura doesn’t think a team-wide meeting is necessary to address any issues when Sale does come back on Thursday.
“Guys have seen a lot of stuff and it’s about playing, I think they’re about playing and we’ll go with that until something needs to be addressed,” Ventura said. “As far as playing, guys are just moving on and playing.
“… I’m sure they’ll have conversations about it. But I don’t think we need to have a whole team meeting and address it that way.”
The last time the White Sox saw Anthony Ranaudo pitch, they drew five walks and scored five runs without recording a hit against the 26-year-old right-hander.
That disastrous outing — which came in a 13-11 White Sox loss to the Texas Rangers — was Ranaudo’s last major league appearance. The former LSU ace and 2010 first-round pick was traded to the White Sox May 12 for minor leaguer Matt Ball and spent the last two months with Triple-A Charlotte.
But with Chris Sale earning a five-game suspension for destroying throwback jerseys on Saturday, the White Sox needed to bring up another arm. And with right-hander Jacob Turner struggling in two outings in place of the injured Carlos Rodon, Ranaudo will start for the White Sox Wednesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
“Hopefully I get another chance to go back out there and prove that’s not who I am,” Ranaudo said before learning of his scheduled start.
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
Ranaudo once was a big-time prospect, being ranked 67th in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2011 season. But he’s never been able to find success in the majors and will enter his start with a 6.33 ERA and more walks (32) than strikeouts (28) in 58 1/3 innings from 2014-2016.
In 13 starts with Triple-A Charlotte, Ranaudo posted a 3.20 ERA with 53 strikeouts, eight walks and 12 home runs allowed over 78 2/3 innings.
“I think he’s refined (things) a little bit more to be able to throw some strikes and have command,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You’re going to have to have it, especially if it’s warm. So hopefully he’s got it.”
Ranaudo can’t afford to have his command escape him, as it did in May against the White Sox, when he faces the Cubs — which lead baseball with a 10.6 percent walk rate — on Wednesday.
If his Crosstown start goes well, Ranaudo could stick around after Sale returns on Thursday. But for now, the right-hander is happy to get another opportunity to prove himself at the major league level.
“It was a little unexpected at the time, obviously, with everything going on,” Ranaudo said of his call-up. “But it was awesome, yeah. I’m just happy to be here and whatever role I’m in, I’m excited about.”