Rule 5 draftee familiar to White Sox

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Rule 5 draftee familiar to White Sox

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The White Sox believe immediate help is on the way after they selected infielder Angel Sanchez in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday morning.

With 628 major league plate appearances, Sanchez is far more experienced than most of the players normally taken in the Rule 5 draft, which allows teams to draft unprotected players off other organizational rosters as long as the player remains in the majors all season.

A shortstop by trade, Sanchez signed a minor-league deal with the Los Angeles Angels earlier this offseason but wasnt placed on the teams 40-man roster.

The White Sox made Sanchez their first Rule 5 draft selection since Jason Grilli in 2003. Sanchez, who played 110 games for the Houston Astros in 2011, will compete for the White Sox open backup infield job next season.

He was a guy that we talked about even before that list came out, White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell said on Thursday before he and the team traveled home from the winter meetings. This is a lot different than finding a guy that is throwing 95 or 100, then you can just hope you can hide on your roster somewhere. This guy here, we think if it works out, it can really help our club from Opening Day beyond that.

Sanchez hit .320 last season for the Houston Astros Triple-A Oklahoma City club. Sanchez, of his 924 defensive appearances in the minor leagues, 815 were at shortstop.

Sanchez has a career .255.304.308 slash line in the majors with Houston, the Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals. He also has familiarity with Bell, who managed him in 2006 with the Royals.

I loved this kid, Bell said. He had some elbow issues at the time and I left before he came back after his injuries. Ive been keeping my eye on him for the last few years. He had a good year in Triple-A last year and hes a solid and more of a situational player who can catch the ball, move the ball if you need to.

After they are purchased for 50,000, players selected in the Rule 5 draft are immediately added to a teams 40-man and active rosters. The drafting team can waive the player at any time and if he clears waivers he must be offered back to his original club for 25,000.

The White Sox 40-man roster is now at 38, though the team only has one spot open as infielder Jeff Keppingers deal should be finalized early next week.

Preview: Chris Sale starts for White Sox against Rays tonight on CSN+

Preview: Chris Sale starts for White Sox against Rays tonight on CSN+

The White Sox take on the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, and you can catch all the action on CSN+. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Tonight’s starting pitching matchup: Chris Sale (16-9, 3.19 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (1-1, 6.16 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.

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James Shields gets first win in two months as White Sox beat Rays

James Shields gets first win in two months as White Sox beat Rays

James Shields’ time with the White Sox has not gone well. But Monday night was one of the bright spots, and it came against his former team.

Shields allowed just one run in his six innings of work against the visiting Tampa Ray Bays — with whom he spent the first seven seasons of his career — and earned his first win since July 26 as the White Sox opened this four-game set with a 7-1 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.

Shields didn’t exactly keep the Rays off the bases Monday, running into jams with multiple base runners on in four of his six innings. But he did keep them off the scoreboard, for the most part, getting some help from his defense with a couple double plays. He finished allowing just one run on seven hits with six strikeouts over his six innings.

The win was his first in two months after a brutal August — six starts with four losses and an 11.42 ERA — and a couple of rough outings in September. It was Shields’ sixth victory on the season and fourth since joining the White Sox compared to 18 losses on the season, 11 coming with the White Sox.

“I had a few chances my last few starts to get some wins, but sometimes those things happen,” Shields said. “I’m just trying to finish the season strong right now. Body feels good, arm feels good, so hopefully I can get another win on Saturday to end my season and move into next year.”

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With just one more start on his schedule in the season’s final week, Shields won’t lose a visually upsetting 20 games. Avoiding that number might not make losing 18 or 19 much easier for fans and observers to swallow, but teammates understand what Shields has gone through this season.

“I think we’ve all been through it once or maybe even twice in our career. He works his butt off, though,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “He looks at film. He watches everything he’s doing. To come out with the strong outing today, even in the first inning, getting two runners on and getting out of that jam, it goes to show you his resilience. Whenever he got runners on, he looked relaxed and induced a lot of ground balls which we needed.”

Certainly Shields’ teammates picked him up Monday. The two double plays while he was in the game were just half the infield’s total on the night, two more coming in the seventh and eighth, when Tommy Kahnle and Nate Jones put the first two hitters they faced on in each frame. But the double plays helped end those threats and keep the Rays down.

The White Sox struck first with a run in the first inning, Melky Cabrera scoring on Justin Morneau’s sacrifice fly. After the Rays tied it up in the fourth with an RBI single, the White Sox punched back, Frazier doubling, stealing third base and scoring on Omar Narvaez’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of that inning.

And as Shields and the relief corps danced out of jams, the White Sox added to their score. Jose Abreu singled in a run in the fifth, but it was a pair of two-run homers off the bats of Morneau and Carlos Sanchez in the seventh and eighth innings that provided the real insurance.

The win was the third straight for the White Sox, something that while positive won’t provide much solace in a season where competing for a playoff spot is a distant memory.

But, like Shields finishing his season strong, White Sox players in general can create individual momentum for each of their offseasons and into next year with good finishes to 2016.

“We want to end on a positive note,” Frazier said. “Everybody wants to meet their goals. Baseball is the most individualistic team sport there is. You have to have your individual goals just like your team goals, and our team goals are out the door right now. You don’t want to play for yourself, but at the same time play for your pitcher a little bit and help him out.”