Konerko-less Sox shut out by Blue Jays

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Konerko-less Sox shut out by Blue Jays

The South Side heat wave has cooled off.

The White Sox managed only two hits against Brandon Morrow and lost for the third time in four games, dropping a 4-0 decision to Toronto on Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field.

The loss trimmed Chicagos lead in the AL Central over Cleveland to a 12 game in being manhandled by Morrow, who threw his AL-leading third shutout of the season and tied Justin Verlander of Detroit for the AL lead in complete games with three.

Morrow (7-3) only allowed five baserunners, including one through six innings. The only hits came on a pair of singles by A.J. Pierzynski. Other baserunners came when Adam Dunn reached on an error in the seventh and was walked in the ninth. Morrow also walked Alejandro De Aza in the ninth.

Morrow struck out five as the Jays beat Chicago for the second night in a row.

Sox rookie left-hander Jose Quintana (1-1) took the loss in his third career start. Quintana flirted with trouble in the first four innings, but some timely pitches and a couple stellar defensive plays kept the game scoreless.

The best of those defensive plays came in the second when third baseman Orlando Hudson snared a line drive by Yan Gomes that appeared destined for the left-field corner, which would have scored Kelly Johnson easily from second.

Quintana pitched himself out of trouble in the fourth, stranding runners at first and second by getting Gomes to pop out to Pierzynski in foul territory behind home plate.

Even when his luck ran out in the fifth, Quintana benefited from a good defense play as the Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead. With David Cooper at second, Colby Rasmus drove the ball into left-center field to score the run.

But Rasmus was out when he tried to stretch the hit into a double as Dayan Viciedo threw a strike to Gordon Beckham at second, easily getting Rasmus for the innings final out.

Jose Bautista gave the Jays a 2-0 lead with his 15th home run of the season, a 423-foot shot into the left field seats to open the sixth against Quintana.

Quintana was replaced by Nate Jones to start the seventh. He gave up two runs on nine hits (eight singles) with one walk and one strikeout. He also threw a wild pitch.

The Sox used three pitchers in the seventh to get out of a jam they pitched themselves into. Jones gave up two singles after striking out Gomes to start the inning. Jones then got Brett Lawrie on a pop-up to Beckham before being replaced by Will Ohman.

Ohman hit the only batter he faced -- Rasmus -- to load the bases with two outs. Jesse Crain entered and struck out Batista to squelch the threat.

The Sox finally got another base runner with one out in the seventh when Dunn reached on an error against the infield shift. That snapped a streak of 14 consecutive batters set down by Morrow.

But the Sox stranded Dunn at first as Viciedo struck out and Alex Rios hit a fly ball to the edge of the right-field warning track.

Pierzynski led off the eighth with a single, just Chicagos second hit off Morrow. But pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge was caught stealing to put a stop to any momentum that might have started.

The Jays stretched their lead in the ninth on a two-run home run by Rajai Davis, who hit a Hector Santiago pitch into the Sox bullpen.

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

The White Sox agreed to one-year contracts with five players on Friday, including a $12-million deal for Todd Frazier.

Frazier established a franchise record for home runs by a third baseman in 2016 when he blasted 40 in his first season with the White Sox. A free agent after the 2017 season, Frazier hit .225/.302/.464 in 666 plate appearances, drove in a career high 98 runs and produced 2.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. 

Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is set to earn $5.9 million this season. The team also agreed to deals with relievers Dan Jennings ($1.4 million), Zach Putnam ($1.1175 million) and Jake Petricka ($825,000).

The White Sox acquired Frazier in a three-player trade from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015. It's expected they would try to trade Frazier, who has hit 104 homers since 2014 and participated in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby three consecutive years, before the Aug 1 non-waiver trade deadline as part of the club's rebuilding efforts. 

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Gonzalez went 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) after he was signed to a minor-league deal in early April. 

Jennings posted a 2.08 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. 

Putnam had a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts before he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. 

Petricka was limited to nine appearances before his season was ended by hip surgery.

Both Petricka and Putnam are expected to be ready for spring training.

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

It was a limited look, but Yoan Moncada made a strong first impression on the White Sox this week.

Acquired from the Boston Red Sox last month in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada arrived in Glendale, Ariz., earlier this week with the franchise hopeful he'd offer a glimpse of the skills that earned him the designation as baseball's top prospect.

Moncada didn't disappoint, either, as he had White Sox evaluators excited throughout a three-day hitters camp. Whether it's his physicality, how he carried himself or his baseball IQ, White Sox staffers couldn't have been happier about their first experience with their new prized possession.

"(Moncada) looks like a linebacker, but he moves like a wide receiver," player development director Chris Getz said. "He's got good actions. He's obviously a switch hitter. He's got power. He can hit. He's got a good smile. He seems to be enjoying himself out here, he interacts well with his teammates.

"So far it has been very impressive, and we look forward to seeing more."

Hitting coach Todd Steverson said Moncada, 21, looked every bit the part when he first observed him from across the hall at the team's facility. Steverson spoke to friends in the scouting community and wasn't the least bit surprised when he encountered the 6-foot-2, 205-pound second baseman. Moncada was just as impressive on the field with his skills and effort, Steverson said.

"This is a large specimen right here," Steverson said. "He's put together pretty well.

"On defense it looks like he has some really good hands.

"He got in the box and he hadn't swung for a while. But still, you could tell he had good hands going through the zone, has a nice approach and wants to work real hard."

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Moncada's fancy tools have been well publicized since he received a $31.5-million signing bonus from the Red Sox in March 2015.

MLB.com graded Moncada's hit tool at 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale while his base running is 65 and arm is 60. Moncada's power received a 55 grade, and his fielding is 50. Moncada received an overall grade of 65, which suggests he has the ability to be a perennial All-Star and worth 4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com.

But the White Sox weren't just impressed with Moncada's physical ability.

One of manager Rick Renteria's top objectives for the camp was to emphasize fundamentals and what's important to the team. Renteria wanted to identify specific game situations and how players are expected to handle them so they're well prepared for the future. Moncada handled that area well, too.

"Yoan is a very knowledgeable baseball player who has experience on a multitude of levels," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "In the brief time we had with him this week, he showed a tremendous ability to drive the ball the opposite way as well as drive balls to the gap and out of the ball park from both sides of the plate. That ability will help him handle and any all situations that Ricky asks him to do at the plate. Defensively his hands and feet are very good and will have no problem there. He's a bright hard-working kid that is part of a bright future for the organization."