Different home opener experiences for Jones, Konerko, Ventura

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Different home opener experiences for Jones, Konerko, Ventura

Nate Jones received polite applause when he was announced during player introductions at U.S. Cellular Field Friday. Nobody went wild for the 26-year-old who hadn't pitched above Double-A before last weekend. He's the last pitcher out of the White Sox bullpen, someone who has an impressive fastball but has yet to make his mark in the majors.

Robin Ventura was introduced shortly thereafter to loud cheers. And about a minute after that, Paul Konerko was greeted with the loudest applause of any player introduced during the pageantry of the home opener -- like it'd be any other way.

Those three White Sox each had a different outlook on the day. Jones has never experienced a major-league home opener before. Ventura has, but never as a manager. And Konerko realizes he may not have many of these days left.

"Maybe you think about it a little bit more because you can always remember every opening day whether it's at home or on the road," Konerko explained. "So you kind of know you only have a handful left in you maybe so you pay a little more attention, but not too much."

At 36, Konerko has seen every White Sox home opener since 1999. But his contract with the White Sox only runs through 2013, and he realizes retirement may be right around the corner.

Ventura's seen plenty of home openers on the South Side. Although he hadn't heard his name introduced over the U.S. Cellular Field loudspeaker preceded by "manager" before.

"It's exciting," Ventura said. "I feel like I grew up here, so in a lot of ways it's a coming home of sorts."

But for Jones, along with fellow rookies Addison Reed, Hector Santiago and Eduardo Escobar, the day has added excitement.

"The Chicago fans are great and there's going to be a lot of them here," Jones said, trying to downplay his excitement. "There's going to be a lot of energy in the stadium for sure."

So while Jones may not admit he's enjoying this, Ventura knows the significance of the day is for the White Sox rookies.

"You see a kid like Nate Jones and Hector Santiago, guys that it's their first time for an opening day here. That's the special part that you get to enjoy."

Matt Davidson fractures right foot in White Sox debut

Matt Davidson fractures right foot in White Sox debut

It’s getting to the point where White Sox rookies may just want to remain in the minors.

Matt Davidson became the latest victim of an odd trend afflicting the club this season when he sustained a fractured bone in his right foot in Thursday’s 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. Davidson, who was making his season debut, is the third White Sox rookie to be injured before or during his first game this season.

Outfielder Jason Coats exited a June 4 contest and was given a concussion test after he collided with J.B. Shuck and catcher Kevan Smith injured his back in pregame warmups before he was set to debut in Toronto on April 25 and has played one game since.

“We're hot that way,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think they're afraid to come up. It's odd. I think Smitty was the oddest of all of them.”

A product of a December 2013 trade that sent Addison Reed to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Davidson was promoted to the majors for the first time since September 2013 only hours earlier. He was in the midst of his best month at Triple-A Charlotte since the trade and was named to the Triple-A All-Star Game earlier this week.

Davidson’s fourth-inning RBI single drove in his first run since Sept. 27, 2013 and gave the White Sox a 4-2 advantage. But sometime during his trip around the bases — he reached third on J.B. Shuck’s double and scored when Adam Eaton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded — Davidson injured his foot. He took an MRI late Thursday and the White Sox expect to have more information on Davidson on Friday.

“You could see it when he went from second to third,” Ventura said. “I know he's not a good runner, but it was remarkably poor at that point for him to keep going.

“It's just crazy.”

Davidson is the latest member of the White Sox to be headed for the disabled list. Earlier this month, Austin Jackson partially tore his meniscus, which required surgery, when he awkwardly stepped on a base. The team is also without three relief pitches as Jake Petricka and Daniel Webb are out for the season and Zach Putnam is mulling surgery as he battles ulnar neuritis in his right elbow.

“You hate to see a guy like that put in the work,” shortstop Tim Anderson said. “I was in Triple-A with (Davidson) and he worked his butt off. It’s sad to see him go down like that.”

White Sox rookie Tim Anderson draws first walk of career

White Sox rookie Tim Anderson draws first walk of career

He has been on base routinely since his promotion, but until Thursday afternoon Tim Anderson hadn’t drawn a base on balls.

So when he finally did, in the 86th plate appearance of his career, the White Sox rookie’s teammates had fun with the occasion.

Anderson did, too. He reached base four times in five trips on Thursday as the White Sox clinched their third consecutive series win with a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.

"(Todd) Frazier was like 'We got the bat, we got the pitcher, we got the umpire, we got everything,'" Anderson said of the reaction in the dugout. "It was pretty funny."

It’s hard to find fault in anything Anderson has done since the White Sox promoted him from Triple-A Charlotte earlier this month. Thursday marked the 10th multi-hit game in 19 career contests for Anderson, who was rated the No. 1 prospect in the system headed into the season by BaseballAmerica.com. He has impacted the team with his speed, his defense has been sound and he carried a .293 batting average into Thursday’s game. He also has provided more pop than expected as 10 of his first 24 hits went for extra bases.

But the fact that Anderson — who always has been an aggressive hitter — hadn’t yet walked begun to garner him attention. People tend to notice when a player’s batting average and on-base percentage are exactly the same, especially after 80-plus at-bats.

Anderson took it all in stride and earlier in the week promised his first walk was coming.

Two days later, he delivered and sauntered down to first base after he walked on five pitches against Twins starter Tommy Milone in the fourth inning. After he got to the base, Anderson nodded his head and double-pumped both fists at J.B. Shuck, who was standing on second.

"I was pretty pumped about," Anderson said. "A very exciting moment for me. It was kind of like when I got my first hit. It was fun."

He nearly matched the moment during an eighth-inning at-bat. Only two trips later, Anderson worked a full count against Fernando Abad before he took a 3-2 curveball for a called-third strike.

"I thought it was up a little bit," Anderson said with a smile before laughing. "I thought it was for sure going to be another walk. He kind of let me down.

"(The calls) will come as I get my time. Give me a little more respect."

White Sox outlast Twins to move back above .500 mark

White Sox outlast Twins to move back above .500 mark

It hasn’t been easy for the White Sox over the last seven weeks so why should Thursday afternoon be any different?

A day after they nearly squandered an eight-run advantage in the ninth, the White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 in front of 26,158 at U.S. Cellular Field despite giving away two more leads. J.B. Shuck’s two-out RBI single in the eighth inning paved the way for the team to earn it’s third straight series victory. David Robertson converted his 21st save in 23 tries for the White Sox, who moved back above .500 for the first time since June 10.

Shuck already had two hits in three at-bats when he was gifted an eighth-inning plate appearance courtesy of a pair of two-out walks by Fernando Abad. Abad walked Avisail Garcia and Jason Coats to bring up Shuck, who singled to left to produce the winning run. Shuck tied a career-high with three hits.

Carlos Rodon twice struggled with the lead, surrendering it once.

Ahead 2-0 in the fourth, Rodon gave up back-to-back homers to Robbie Grossman and Brian Dozier with two outs. Before that, Rodon retired the first 11 batters he faced, including five strikeouts.

The White Sox regained a three-run advantage in the fourth inning and Rodon responded with a perfect fifth. But he struggled in the sixth and allowed Minnesota to creep back within a run. Rodon gave up a double and a RBI single before he walked Grossman with one out and Dozier followed with an RBI single. Matt Albers stranded a pair to keep the White Sox ahead 5-4.

Rodon exited after allowing four earned runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out six.

The White Sox offense figured out how to attack Tommy Milone and forced him out of the game in the fourth inning.

Todd Frazier got things rolling with a solo homer in the second inning — the 14th consecutive solo homer hit by the White Sox — to make it a 1-0 game. The team is one shy of tying a franchise record with 15 straight solo home runs, which was set from Sept. 2-25, 1965.

Jose Abreu singled in a run in the third to put the White Sox up two.

The White Sox regained the lead for Rodon in the fourth after Minnesota tied it in the top half. Avisail Garcia singled in Brett Lawrie, who started the inning with a double.

Garcia stole second base and he scored on an RBI single by Matt Davidson. It was the first big league RBI for Davidson since Sept. 27, 2013 with Arizona. Davidson later left the game with a fracture in his right foot.

After Shuck doubled and Tim Anderson walked to load the bases — his first career free pass in 86 plate appearances — Milone hit Adam Eaton to force in a run and make it 5-2. But Neil Ramirez took over and got Abreu to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

With Anderson, who reached base four times, on second and one out in the seventh, Abreu struck out and Frazier flew out.