ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Albert Pujols welcomed his new hitting coach to town with a go-ahead three-run homer and Vernon Wells added a two-run shot to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.Jim Eppard was with the Angels for the first time as hitting coach after replacing Mickey Hatcher, who was unceremoniously dumped Tuesday night by new general manager Jerry DiPoto 1 12 months into Hatcher's 13th season on the job. The team's offensive struggles led to the firing, including Pujols' slow start after signing a 10-year, 240 million contract as a free agent.It was an easy transition for Eppard, who is in his 10th season in the organization and nurtured current Angels players Howie Kendrick, Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo, Erick Aybar, Peter Bourjos and Bobby Wilson as the hitting coach at Triple-A Salt Lake.Jerome Williams (4-1) won his fourth straight decision, allowing two runs and 10 hits over eight innings with five strikeouts and no walks. Last Friday at Texas, the right-hander relieved C.J. Wilson the night before his scheduled start because of a 56-minute rain delay - then gave up six runs and 11 hits in 6 2-3 innings without getting a decision because the Angels were already trailing in the first inning when he came in.Gavin Floyd (3-4) surrendered seven runs and 10 hits in six innings, including both home runs. The right-hander had allowed just one homer in 40 2-3 innings over his previous six starts after giving up three in his season debut at Texas.Trailing 2-1, the Angels grabbed a 4-2 lead with one swing by Pujols, who drove an 0-1 pitch over the center field fence after Mike Trout and Albert Callaspo opened the inning with singles.It was the 447th career homer and second this season for Pujols, the three-time NL MVP who ended the longest regular-season drought of his career after 33 games and 139 at-bats in the finale of the Angels' previous homestand. The Halos increased the margin to 7-2 in the sixth with Kendrick's sacrifice fly and Wells' sixth homer.The No.8 hitters for the Angels and White Sox each drove in their team's first run. Aybar opened the scoring in the second with an RBI double after a two-out walk to Wells, and Dayan Viciedo tied it in the third for the White Sox with a home run into the rock pile in left-center. Alejandro De Aza singled two batters after Viciedo's fifth homer and scored on Gordon Beckham's double.Notes: The White Sox were in mourning over the death of longtime pregame instructor Kevin Hickey, who died Wednesday at age 56 in Chicago after a lengthy illness. Hickey, who spent six seasons in the majors as a reliever for the Chisox and Baltimore Orioles, had been hospitalized since the day before the season opener in Arlington, Texas. "No one wanted to win more, no one was more optimistic, no one cared more and no one took more pride in his job," 1B Paul Konerko said. "Ask anyone in our clubhouse, every person who appreciated what Kevin did to help the White Sox win baseball games." ... With Hatcher's departure, the only coach left from manager Mike Scioscia's original staff in 2000 is 1B coach Alfredo Griffin. Joe Maddon, Bud Black and Ron Roenicke all left to become managers. ... During Hatcher's watch, the Angels set franchise records in 2009 for average, hits, home runs, runs scored, RBIs and average with runners in scoring position - and won a World Series title in 2002. ... All of Floyd's last six starts against AL West teams have been on the road (1-5, 4.35 ERA). ... One of the many Angels employees handing out Bourjos bobbleheads to the fans as they entered the ballpark was Bourjos himself - in full uniform. ... It was a rough night on the basepaths for Trout, who was picked off first by RHP Jesse Crain in the seventh and was thrown out by LF Viciedo when he tried to stretch a single into a double in the fifth.
The White Sox haven't wavered on their asking price for Chris Sale, and their patience may be paying off.
According to FOX's Ken Rosenthal, trade talks surrounding Sale are intensifying between the White Sox and Nationals that would likely include Washington's two top prospects in RHP Lucas Giolito and OF Victor Robles.
Despite the trade chatter heating up, a source told CSN's Chuck Garfien that the White Sox aren't close to a deal and continue to talk with other teams regarding the White Sox ace.
Asked a source if a Sale trade to the Nationals was close. His answer was "no."— Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) December 6, 2016
In an exclusive interview with CSN earlier on Monday, White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said trading Sale would be 'very hard' on multiple levels, particularly being satisfied with the package coming back.
Perhaps it's only a matter a time before Sale gets traded, but the White Sox have made it clear they won't make a deal unless they're maximizing their return.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Though the majority of reports Monday suggested Chris Sale would be the first piece to go in a potential rebuild, the White Sox say they have many contingencies.
The five-time All-Star pitcher was one of the hottest topics on the rumor mill at the first day of the Winter Meetings on Monday and figures to be all week. Tied to numerous teams either vying for his services or reportedly dropping out because of chairman Jerry Reinsdorf’s high-asking price of four can’t-miss prospects, the pursuit of Sale already has been established as one of the offseason’s top stories to follow. But general manager Rick Hahn — whose phone has constantly been recharging after what he describes as an “interesting few weeks” — said the White Sox aren’t limited to one major move to get their offseason underway. As long as someone pays up, the White Sox could deal any one of several players from a top-heavy and talented roster.
“What we are looking to do is deals that put ourselves in the strongest position possible for the long term and there’s no need for Player X to move before Player Y if we get to the right price point on any given deal,” Hahn said.
Hahn continued to make it perfectly clear Monday that the White Sox are interested in long-term moves. The days of quick fixes appear to be over with the hope being that a dramatic paradigm shift could one day prevent the franchise from enduring another eight-year long playoff drought.
The White Sox want to one day be able to provide sound replacements from within their own farm system, something Hahn has preached for years, but hasn’t yet been able to attain. Hahn said he’s encouraged about the potential returns from other teams and the prospect of reloading a thin farm system by trading several of the talented pieces from his roster.
But by no means would the direction the White Sox take be held up by one trade in particular. Given the White Sox have few bad contracts on the books, the team isn’t at a disadvantage of being in a position where it must trade Sale or Jose Quintana. If the White Sox deal either one of their All-Star pitchers or Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, Adam Eaton or anyone else, it would only be after they feel their price has been met.
“I think what we are looking to do is put ourselves in a position for extended success,” Hahn said. “The means for us to do that is by acquiring as much impact, controllable talent as we can over an extended period and continuing the efforts to build us up internationally and through the draft and adding to that potentially via trade.
“It’s not something that’s necessarily going to happen over night. It’s not something that I would expect to be completed while we are here in its entirety. It’s going to be a process potentially that takes some time. …
“We have alternatives in mind and alternative routes for putting the club together. We are pretty confident about what we want to try to accomplish and how that’s going to unfold. …
“We don’t want to be caught in between. But again, we’re not going to force that seven things have to get done or it’s not worth doing one. It’s a process.”