SI unveils White Sox health report

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SI unveils White Sox health report

Sports Illustrated's Will Carroll and Dan Wade rolled out their yearly pre-season injury reports for each MLB team on Wednesday, and as usual, they dole out praise to Herm Schneider and his training staff. I really like this line from Dan:

"The front office may not intentionally present the med staff with a team full of problem cases, but knowing that even chronic injuries can be managed by this top-line team has to give Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn a greater sense of freedom with respect to player acquisition."

Freddy Garcia turned out to be a big part of the Sox rotation in 2009 and 2010, managing to stay healthy after a few injury-riddled years after he was dealt to Philadelphia following the 2006 season. Carlos Quentin ran into numerous injuries during his four-year tenure with the Sox, but managed to play at least 130 games in half of those seasons. Those are just two examples of many, but there's no doubting that the Sox do have a great asset in their training staff.

With that in mind, here's how the list breaks down (explanation of the system here):

Green light: Alexei Ramirez, Brent Morel, Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, Gavin Floyd

Yellow light: A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, Gordon Beckham, Alejandro De Aza, John Danks, Philip Humber, Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton

Red light: Dayan Viciedo, Jake Peavy, Chris Sale

I think concerns over Viciedo's weight are a little overblown, but Dan does make a good point that if Viciedo picks up a minor knock, he won't be able to be stashed at DH. Luckily, the Sox have Kosuke Fukudome and Brent Lillibridge on the roster, so if he needs a break, they won't lose much overall.

Sale's red light rating comes from his expected innings bump, but I'd expect the Sox to meticulously manage Sale's workload throughout the season even if they're in contention.

Peavy's an obvious red light, no matter how good he says he feels. He hasn't made more than 18 starts since 2008 and hasn't pitched a full season injury-free since winning the Cy Young in 2007.

Last thought: I was a little surprised to not see De Aza in the red light section given his promising career with the Marlins was derailed due to a string of injuries a few years ago. He was healthy all through 2011, though, and hopefully under the watch of Schneider he'll stay that way in 2012.

Tyler Saladino's homer helps White Sox snap seven-game skid

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Tyler Saladino's homer helps White Sox snap seven-game skid

NEW YORK — Tyler Saladino delivered a sweet — and long overdue — sound to the White Sox on Tuesday night.

The shortstop capped off the best game of his career with a two-run homer in the eighth inning as the White Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the New York Mets in front of 32,781 at Citi Field. Saladino’s homer off reliever Hansel Robles gave the White Sox their first win since last Monday. He also singled, walked twice and stole two bases for the White Sox, who received four scoreless innings from the bullpen.

Losers in 15 of their previous 19, the White Sox improved to 28-25. David Robertson pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

With one out and Melky Cabrera on first after a leadoff walk, Saladino fouled off three straight Robles fastballs before he ripped a 2-2 heater out to left field for a two-run homer to put the White Sox ahead for good. Saladino — who entered the game hitting .341/.364/.463 in May — also had a three-run homer in Saturday’s loss at Kansas City.

The White Sox continued to apply pressure in the eighth as Robles walked pinch-hitter Jimmy Rollins and stole second, the team’s fourth of the game. The four steals are the most in a game by the White Sox since Aug. 6, 2011. Adam Eaton also walked again and Brett Lawrie jumped on the first pitch from Logan Verrett for a two-out RBI single and a critical insurance run.

Steven Matz had the White Sox stymied in the early going.

He induced nothing but grounders in the first few innings and didn’t allow a hit until the third. While the White Sox got a pair of singles in the fourth inning, they couldn’t take advantage as Dioner Navarro flew out. Matz, who entered with a scoreless streak of 14, cruised through the fifth inning, too.

But trailing 4-0, the White Sox finally broke through in the sixth inning.

Jose Abreu singled off the glove of James Loney and Frazier crushed a two-run homer to left-center field, his 16th. After Avisail Garcia grounded into a double play, Saladino kept the inning alive with a walk. He easily stole second and third base before Navarro chased Matz when he singled just over the shortstop’s glove to get the White Sox within 4-3. Matz allowed three earned runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three.

White Sox starter Mat Latos didn’t have it easy in the early innings.

He had a potential double play wiped out in the first inning by a Frazier error, putting two on with no outs. Consecutive fly balls by Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes allowed lead runner Curtis Granderson to tag up twice and put New York in the lead. Another Frazier error in the second combined with a walk and a hit led to a 2-0 deficit after a Granderson sac fly.

A leadoff walk in the third hurt Latos when Neil Walker hit a two-run homer, his 13th. Latos retired eight of the last 10 he faced, allowing four runs (two earned) and four hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out five.

A White Sox bullpen that has seen its share of struggles took over from there and delivered three scoreless innings to hand it off to Robertson. A group that allowed 14 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in Kansas City took a step in the right direction as Zach Putnam, Dan Jennings and Nate Jones all put up zeroes.

Austin Jackson could return to White Sox on Friday

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Austin Jackson could return to White Sox on Friday

NEW YORK — At least the White Sox have one thing going for them: Austin Jackson could return in time to play the Detroit Tigers.

The White Sox are optimistic their center fielder may require only another missed game or two before he returns to the lineup. Jackson exited Sunday’s game with turf toe on his left foot and hasn’t played since. A day earlier, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said the club hoped to avoid a trip to the disabled list for Jackson, even if it meant not having him for a week.

“It’s still day-to-day stuff,” Ventura said. “I’m really hoping to get him to the off day and have him back by the weekend. It doesn’t look DL worthy. I know today would be tough one to have him in there.”

“It’s right in the joint. Painful. It should be all right by Friday.”

The White Sox play one more game against the New York Mets on Wednesday before they get the day off. They return to action on Friday in Detroit, their first meeting with the Tigers.

Rick Hahn won't 'publicly point fingers' at Robin Ventura for White Sox struggles

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Rick Hahn won't 'publicly point fingers' at Robin Ventura for White Sox struggles

NEW YORK — White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has no intention of second-guessing his manager, especially not in public.

As a three-week long tail spin continues to bring the White Sox closer toward .500, calls for Robin Ventura’s job have grown louder. The White Sox manager has received his fair share of criticism for game management during a stretch in which the club is 4-15. While Hahn said Tuesday he reviews the decision-making process with Ventura and his coaches in private, he doesn’t want to point fingers to avoid causing any unnecessary distractions.

“Part of the reason we are all drawn to this initially was as fans, and fans focus on the lack of results when things are struggling and look for areas to assign blame,” Hahn said. “For me, I don’t think it’s really in anyone’s best interest when things are going bad to publicly point fingers or second guess or assign blame like that on any individual.

“It’s more important to rally together as a group and focus on putting yourselves in the best position to win the next game ahead of you, which is all you can control at this point. That’s really from a public standpoint all that I think needs to be said. We are in a position right now where all we can control is winning tonight and we are doing everything in our power to put ourselves in the best position to do that.”

Once 23-10, the White Sox have run into an abundance of frustration the past few weeks. The team has gone from leading the American League Central by six games to dropping into third place and trailing the Kansas City Royals by two.

Ventura, who is in the final season of his current contract, has received heavy criticism toward the back end of what started Tuesday as a seven-game losing streak. Most recently, Ventura’s bullpen management in a series-opening loss Friday at Kansas City has been called into question as was his decision to bunt with his No. 3 hitter in Monday’s loss at the New York Mets.

“Look, the game management realm is 100 percent the manager’s purview, and I’m not going to stand here and second guess any decisions he’s making,” Hahn said. “Obviously we all have the benefit of hindsight right now in evaluating a decision. Our conversations in private are about the conversations that lead up to the decision or the thought process that leads up to the decision. And from my standpoint, it’s important to make sure that process is sound and that he and our coaches all have the right information when they’re making a strategic in-game decision, and I’m very pleased with where they are from an information standpoint and from a process standpoint. But it’s not my place, certainly publicly, to second guess in-game managerial decisions.”

As for his decisions, Hahn has done his best not to let emotion rule his. Constantly on the lookout for roster upgrades, including San Diego’s James Shields, Hahn said his team’s slide has made it trying at times to remain patient. But Hahn doesn’t want to make any kind of move — whether for a player or a personnel decision — with emotion involved.

“There is a strong temptation when you’re not in between the white lines or in the dugout to try to do something to have a greater impact between 7 and 10 each night,” Hahn said. “And there’s always that temptation to do something to improve your chances to win. But when things aren’t going well, that becomes perhaps a little bit greater, and that’s when you have to guard yourself against doing something strictly emotional or reactionary that’s going to cause perhaps more long-term damage than any short-term benefit from doing something. That applies to a trade or any sort of change to any process you’ve got going on and anyone in uniform. You don’t want to do something that may provide you with the short-term feeling like you’ve done something to have an impact when you’re going to wind up doing more harm than good by doing that move.”