Pierzynski: I'm over the whole All-Star thing

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Pierzynski: I'm over the whole All-Star thing

A.J. Pierzynski has said about all he has to say regarding his exclusion from the American League roster for next weeks MLB All-Star Game.

Despite a strong case and many supporters inside and outside the White Sox clubhouse, Pierzynski was not named to the roster by Texas manager Ron Washington, who is in town as the Rangers and White Sox begin a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field tonight.

On Sunday, Washington expressed remorse for having to leave Pierzynski off the team. Pierzynski responded harshly at the time, but toned down his comments Tuesday in the Chicago clubhouse.

Im kind of over the whole All-Star thing, so its nice to hear but at the end of the day it doesnt change anything, Pierzynski said about Washingtons comments. Im looking forward to four days at my house, and getting away from baseball and just hanging out with my family.

Thats a different tone than Pierzynski had Sunday.

If (Washington) felt that bad he would have put me on the team, Pierzynski said then. He had an opportunity to do it and he didnt do it. Obviously he can feel as bad as he wants, but he didnt feel that bad.

For his part, Washington wasnt interested in rehashing his decision or reiterating his initial statement. He also didnt want to respond to Pierzynskis rebuke.

I said what I had to say about AJ, and it came from my heart, Washington said. After that, I have no more comment on that. I said what I said. I was asked a question. I brought up Pierzynskis name, thats about it.

Pierzynski is far from the first player to feel snubbed by the All-Star Game selection process. Its an annual event that sometimes overshadows the roster announcement itself.

He deserves to go, but this happens every year and its happened for years and years and years, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. Its nothing new. He deserves to go. Hes played great. But unless they expand the rosters, this is something were going to talk about all the time.

Ventura added he felt Alex Rios also deserved a spot on the team.

Pierzynski is having one of his best seasons in a White Sox uniform. He is batting .285 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI. He leads AL catchers in RBI and is second in home runs, slugging percentage, OPS, runs scored and average.

AJ has been by far one of our most steady offensive guys, but you could say that about (Alejandro) De Aza and Rios, too, said Adam Dunn, one of two White Sox who were named to the AL team. Those guys had tremendous first halves and deserved to go, but I realize you cant take the whole team.

Pierzynskis exclusion came down to Washington choosing Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer as the squads third catcher. Rangers catcher Mike Napoli won the fans vote and will start. Baltimores Matt Wieters won the players vote.

By rule every team must be represented, and Mauer was a clear choice as the Twins sole selection. Mauer leads the AL in on-base percentage and is third in batting average entering Tuesdays action.

When youre picking teams sometimes a lot of people will get snubbed, not because you wanted to but thats the way it is, said Washington, who also managed the AL All-Star team in 2011. You only have so much that you can do and you try to do the best with what you have to do. You cant please everyone.

You got to move on. Thats just life, theres nothing you can do about it. Im certainly not going to apologize for what we put together. We tried to do the best we could.

Making things especially interesting is that Pierzynski and Washington are in the same stadium for the next three days.

Pierzynski said hes known Washington for a while and got to know him a little better during the Rangers run to the AL pennant last season while working for FOX Sports. But he had no plans to confront Washington regarding the perceived snub.

I will say hello to him -- Ive known him for a long time, Pierzynski said. Ill wish him luck and thats it.

White Sox need to simplify to rediscover winning ways

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White Sox need to simplify to rediscover winning ways

They’ve done it before this season, and White Sox players are confident they can find it once again.

Once off to a 23-10 start, the White Sox have been brought back to Earth by a stretch during which they’ve lost 11 of 15. Still, they don’t feel like they’re far off the mark, and eight losses since May 10 by two or fewer runs would suggest they aren’t. But the White Sox know they have to get back to what worked before, and that hasn’t occurred in a stretch where they’ve lost five consecutive series.

“It just hasn’t been as tight as it was when we were winning, making the plays, coming up with clutch hits, throwing the ball where you want to throw it and getting the result,” veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. “The results have been opposite of what we were like."

The pitching hasn’t been as good in this stretch as it was early. The team has a 4.53 ERA in its past 15 games.

But the offense has been much worse.

A group that averaged 5.6 runs per contest from April 25 to May 9 has averaged 3.8 in its last 15 and only 2.8 over the last dozen. Included in that stretch are nine contests with three or fewer runs, of which the White Sox have won two. In their last 12 games, the White Sox have a .289 team on-base percentage.

“We need to get guys on with less than two outs more, and we need to come through,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “Right now we’re putting a little too much pressure on that instead of just playing our game, maybe a little too much. You’ve got to come back a little bit and understand, take our singles and make the pitcher work. Or, you get on him early, if you get a pitch to hit, we’ve got to do something with it.”

Both Frazier and Rollins said the White Sox merely need to simplify and get back to the basics. Rollins said they need to hit the ball, catch it, execute pitches and score more runs than the other team.

But he knows it isn’t that easy. While it should be, it isn’t.

It’s just that when a team is in a good stretch, there isn’t much to dwell on.

The White Sox have previously shown they’re capable of that state. Now it’s up to them to get back to it.

“When we were doing those things, everything’s going well,” Rollins said. “It’s always like when everything’s going well, everything seems easy. And when they’re not going well, you realize how difficult this game really is.

“We have to find a way to put an end to that. Great series to start that with."

“This game will always give you reminders — ‘Hey, you guys are good, but we’re going to slow you down a little bit.’ You keep at it, it’ll reward.”

Jimmy Rollins remains confident despite slow start for White Sox

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Jimmy Rollins remains confident despite slow start for White Sox

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jimmy Rollins isn’t happy with his offensive production so far this season. But a slow start hasn’t made the veteran White Sox shortstop any less confident.

Through 142 plate appearances this season, Rollins is hitting .231/.289/.346 with 10 extra-base hits and eight RBIs. But Rollins -- who has played in 33 games -- said prior to Thursday’s rainout he feels fresh. He also doesn’t see a huge difference between how he has been pitched in his first tour of the American League after 15-plus seasons in the National League.  

“I don’t think I’ve done enough,” Rollins said. “I could be hitting .400 and I’d still be wanting to hit .500. But I’m only .200 and some change. I haven’t done enough to help the team and I’ve had plenty of opportunities. The good thing is, that will change also as the season goes along and I start catching that rhythm again.”

Rollins has a career .825 OPS in 2,232 plate appearances with runners in scoring position.

This season he’s hitting at a .417 clip in 30 plate appearances with seven RBIs. Rollins also struggled with RISP in 2015, hitting .464. But he spent part of that season dealing with injuries.

Nearly 30 percent through the campaign, Rollins feels healthy.

He has appeared in 33 games as White Sox manager Robin Ventura has given him routine days off to stay sharp. Rollins likes how Ventura has employed those days off, sometimes two at a time to allow Tyler Saladino to develop a rhythm and get at-bats. So far, Rollins said his playing time is what he expected when he opted to sign with the White Sox instead of the San Francisco Giants and others.

As far as switching leagues, Rollins doesn’t know a lot of the pitchers he’s facing but he does know the hitters, which has helped him line up in good position. He thinks the defensive side is a more important component.

“I don’t think it really makes a tremendous difference (hitting),” Rollins said. “If you’re putting good swings on the ball, no matter what league you’re in, you’re going to get hits.”

He expects those hits will come shortly.

Before Thursday’s game was wiped out, Ventura dropped Rollins from second to sixth in the lineup for the second time in a week. Melky Cabrera was scheduled to start in the No. 2 hole and Jose Abreu hit there several times on the team’s last homestand.

“I’ll be able to contribute more and that’ll make the job easier on everybody,” Rollins said. “It goes down the line. One guy is doing good, hitting becomes contagious. The next guy wants to hit, the next guy wants to hit and that turns into nobody wants to make an out and then you grind out those at-bats and you find a way to execute. You might catch the ball, but I’m not making an out. And that’s the difference. Sometimes when you’re trying to get hits, it’s like pitching --- you’re trying to make the pitch. You’ll do whatever it takes, even if that means going outside your box, and when you do that you’re not going to be successful.”

White Sox opener with Royals postponed by rain

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White Sox opener with Royals postponed by rain

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The White Sox will remain in first place for at least another day.

With the Cleveland Indians off Thursday and their own contest washed away, the White Sox will maintain their half-game lead in the American League Central.

Set to open a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals, the White Sox instead received an unexpected day off as Thursday’s contest was rained out.

No makeup date has been announced, but a Royals spokesperson said the game wouldn’t be made up this weekend. The White Sox make two more trips to Kansas City later this season.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he wouldn’t make any changes to his rotation, which means Chris Sale will face the New York Mets on Monday instead of the Royals on Sunday.

Miguel Gonzalez, Carlos Rodon and Mat Latos will instead be pushed back one day, starting Friday with Gonzalez.

The Royals altered their rotation, removing Ian Kennedy from Saturday’s start. Thursday’s scheduled starter, Danny Duffy, will move back one day to Friday and Yordano Ventura will not pitch on Saturday. Edinson Volquez will start on Sunday as previously scheduled and Kennedy will start again on Monday.