Sale superb, victorious in first career start

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Sale superb, victorious in first career start

CLEVELAND -- Chris Sale won his first career start, limiting Cleveland to one run in 6 2-3 innings and leading the Chicago White Sox to a 4-2 win over the Indians on Monday night.Sale pitched out of Chicago's bullpen the past two seasons but moved into the rotation after ace Mark Buehrle left as a free agent this winter. The left-hander, who had made 79 relief appearances, took a one-hit shutout into the sixth. In his longest outing, Sale allowed three hits and struck out five.The 23-year-old had little trouble with a Cleveland team that came in batting .153.Rookie Hector Santiago gave up Jose Lopez's leadoff homer in the ninth before getting his second save.A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run homer in the first, four batters after Alejandro De Aza homered leading off against Josh Tomlin (0-1).Indians manager Manny Acta rested some of his left-handed regulars after a long season-opening series with Toronto and because of how tough Sale can be on lefties.It didn't do much good.Sale handled Cleveland's right-handed hitters, too.When the White Sox selected Sale in the first round in 2010, the team's immediate need was for a reliever and he had been reliable in that role. But Buehrle's departure left open a spot in the rotation and the White Sox decided to convert Sale. If his first start is any indication, he seems to be in the right spot.Sale coasted into the seventh before giving up a leadoff single to Shelley Duncan. He came back and got Jason Kipnis to hit into a double play, but manager Robin Ventura, who said before the game that Sale was not on a strict pitch count, decided 100 was enough and pulled his young lefty.As he stepped into Chicago's dugout, Sale was warmly greeted by high-fives from his teammates.The White Sox needed just five batters to double their home run total for the season in the first.De Aza connected on Tomlin's fourth pitch for Chicago's first leadoff homer since Oct. 2, 2009. Paul Konerko hit a grounder up the middle that shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera caught up to but didn't field cleanly. Pierzynski followed by rocketing a 2-0 pitch into the lower seats in right to make it 3-0.The three runs matched the entire amount allowed by Cleveland starters Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Derek Lowe in 22 innings.Tomlin dusted himself off after the rough beginning and recorded his seventh strikeout in the fifth before De Aza doubled with two outs and scored when Brent Morel lined an RBI single off first baseman Lopez's glove.Sale allowed only Aaron Cunningham's two-out single in the second and carried a 4-0 lead into the sixth before the Indians finally scored.With two outs, Sale hit Shin-Soo Choo on the left hand, sending Cleveland's right fielder sprawling in the dirt near home plate. Last season, Choo missed eight weeks after his left thumb was broken by San Francisco's Jonathan Sanchez and needed surgery. Choo stayed in and promptly stole second before Carlos Santana brought him home with a single to right.Chicago's bullpen had not allowed an earned run in 8 2-3 innings before Lopez connected in the ninth, hammering a 2-2 pitch off the foul pole in left.Notes
White Sox RF Alex Rios had a Little League-like error in the seventh when he dropped a routine fly that bounced embarrassingly off his glove. ... Acta remains confident RHP Roberto Hernnandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, will rejoin the Indians at some point this season. Acta spoke to Hernandez on Sunday and reported the 31-year-old, who has been pitching at the team's academy in the Dominican Republic to stay in shape, is "a little antsy." Acta was asked if he will call Hernandez "Roberto" or "Fausto" when he returns. "I never called him Fausto," Acta said. "I always called him Grande' (big)." ... Konerko, who needs four homers to reach 400 for his career, tied Hall of Famer Luke Appling for second place in club history with 3,528 total bases. ... The White Sox plan to tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Tuesday. ... Pierzynski is the only catcher in baseball to record 1,000 or more innings caught in each of the last 10 seasons. He's three shy of 1,500 career games.
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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."