Sox minor league update: Saladino, Mitchell going in opposite directions

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Sox minor league update: Saladino, Mitchell going in opposite directions

The White Sox are currently in the midst of another hot streak going into the Midsummer Classic. They have taken five of seven from the two best teams in baseball, including a convincing sweep of the Rangers. Lets take a look at how the rest of the organization fared last week.

Prospect Nestor Molina has seen action at the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season and he is 7-7 with a 4.61 ERA. His stats do not exactly jump off the page at you, but he has shown signs of growth and maturation. Unfortunately, Molina was placed on the seven-day disabled list last week. Apparently it's only a minor case of right elbow tendinitis, but it raised enough concern for the club to send him to Chicago for further examination. Molina has recorded 88 innings of work this season and this could simply be a result of fatigue. Never the less, anytime the word tendinitis is thrown into the conversation there is cause for concern.

They say when it rains it pours, and in the case of the case of the Sox minor league system it poured a little bit last week. Top pitching prospect Simon Castro was also assigned to the seven-day DL after pitching lights out in his last start. Castros success in Birmingham has not gone unnoticed, as he was awarded a promotion to Charlotte a couple weeks ago. In his second Triple-A appearance he went seven innings, gave up no runs on four hits and fanned nine. In short, he was dominant. Unfortunately his pitching efforts reaped no offensive support and he was slapped with the no decision, as the Knights fell 1-0 in 11 innings.

As mind-numbingly repetitive as it is to say, Jared Mitchell struggled at the plate this week. The LSU product went 3-for-21 (.143) with eight K's. He did drive in six, and scored five times but as his strikeout total creeps closer to the century mark, his chances at being in the big leagues in the relatively near future diminish. Mitchell has gone down on strikes 98 times (35 percent of plate appearances) already this season, which is second-worst in the entire Southern League. Needless to say, his production is nowhere near where it needs to be and with each unsuccessful hack I am more convinced that we are driving down a road with a possible dead end. Jared Mitchell may be falling out of the picture fast.

Birmingham shortstop Tyler Saladino had the type of week every up and coming prospect loves to have. He went 9-for 25 (.360) at the dish with two doubles, a homer, five RBIs, six runs scored and four swiped bags. Those four stolen bases take his season total to the top of the Southern League with 29. His memorable week at the plate (.995 OPS) was backed up by a solid defensive performance. Its weeks like these that move a youngster very quickly through the system.

Winston-Salem slugger Trayce Thompson saw similar levels of production as Saladino. He also went 9-for-25 (.360) with five RBIs, five runs, and three doubles. On Monday, Thompson went yard twice, boosting his total to 16 on the year. The talented prospects successful week led to a ridiculous 1.233 OPS. Thompson got off to a slow start this season, but he is taking the proper steps to raise his .232 average to where it needs to be.

Rangel Ravelo has been tabbed the man to watch out of the Class-A Kannapolis Intimidators clubhouse. Unfortunately last week he did not fit the bill. Ravelo was 3-for-22 (.136) with no extra base hits, no runs, two RBIs and three strikeouts. One plus is that Ravelo is putting the ball in play and not striking out much. He simply has to find some holes in the defense and if he continues to hit the ball he is bound to break through.

While the White Sox system is not very deep there are some power arms in the organization as evidenced by the number of youngsters who have assumed roles in the big clubs bullpen and rotation. With injuries to Jesse Crain, John Danks, Phil Humber and Brian Bruney, the White Sox needed to find help and with players like Addison Reed, Nate Jones and Jose Quintana doing the job, the drop-off has been non-existent.

Joe Musso contributed to this report.

White Sox closer David Robertson's foundation big part of MLB's Louisiana flood relief efforts

White Sox closer David Robertson's foundation big part of MLB's Louisiana flood relief efforts

DETROIT — David Robertson’s charitable foundation is at the head of Major League Baseball’s drive to help victims of this month’s Louisiana floods.

High Socks for Hope, which Robertson created with his wife, Erin, received a $62,500 donation on Tuesday from MLB and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, which made a joint $250,000 contribution.

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation, which was established by former Louisiana State players, also received $62,500 and The American Red Cross got $125,000.

The Robertson’s foundation originally was formed to help victims of an April 27, 2011 tornado that rocked Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Birmingham, resulting in 64 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries.

“We’ve evolved over the years,” Robertson said. “Passing time we’ve worked toward helping a lot of the veterans and now MLB has been gracious enough to give us this donation and we’ve already got people on the ground there feeding thousands of people, both volunteers and those who are down there who have lost everything. We’re going to continue to help out as much as we can down there. We’re not a monster of an organization, but we do what we can, we stretch every dollar and with this generous donation we’re going to find a way to help those that have been affected by this terrible flood.”

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White Sox pitcher Anthony Ranaudo pitched at LSU and has been active in raising funds, too.

“It’s good to see young guys getting involved in stuff like this because the game doesn’t last forever,” Robertson said. “But these charities can keep going and there’s always a chance for us to give back and we’re given so much as baseball players that it’s only fitting that we return the favor.”

'Little bit of experience' has helped White Sox infielder Tyler Saladino at plate

'Little bit of experience' has helped White Sox infielder Tyler Saladino at plate

DETROIT — The White Sox have long felt Tyler Saladino would be a player who improves with experience. Saladino wholeheartedly agrees with that assessment.

Now in his second season, Saladino looks like a more complete player. In the midst of a hot streak, the White Sox utility man is hitting .265/.302/.409 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs in 246 plate appearances this season.

The performance is far removed from when Saladino produced a boatload of defensive highlights in his rookie season but only a .602 OPS at the plate.

“At the beginning I didn’t know any of the (pitchers) really, didn’t know what their stuff was like, how they pitch or what I’m doing,” Saladino said with a hearty laugh. “All that stuff kind of plays into just everything. They’re all factors. I have a little more knowledge and the extra at-bats. You kind of know yourself, know what’s going on and kind of slowed things down a little bit. It’s huge.”

Saladino has played nearly every day with Brett Lawrie on the disabled list since July 22. Those consistent at-bats have resulted in one of the hottest stretches of Saladino’s career. Over the last 12 games, Saladino is hitting .326/.354/.522 with three doubles, two homers and nine RBIs in 49 plate appearances. The stretch doesn’t appear to have been propelled by a ton of luck, either; Saladino’s batting average on balls in play over the 12 games is only up a tick to .333 compared with a .310 season average.

Prior to the season, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Saladino has always improved in his second year at a level. Manager Robin Ventura has seen the difference in how Saladino competes at the plate.

“Just the quality of his at-bats have gotten better as the season has gone along and his experience has got him there,” Ventura said. “And everybody is going to see him a second time, have adjustments and do their adjustments on him. But he’s smart and cagey enough that he’s also making adjustments. He understands what guys are trying to do to him. You see him in one series and see him a couple weeks later he has a better idea what they’re trying to do to him and what he might see. And his recall is very good as far as being able to visualize what they’re trying to do to him and get the barrel to it.”

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Saladino said he expected the same. He said his style has always been to make corrections and improve.

“I definitely believed in it,” Saladino said. “That’s kind of how I’ve always been. I may not get it the first time, but I’m going to get it. I’m going to work at it, I’m going to figure it out the second time around or in the future from that first go at it. That’s how it has always been my whole life. If I didn’t get it in the beginning I was going to figure out how to get it done after that. That’s how a long of things go for me.

“A little bit of experience goes a long way.”

Preview: White Sox continue series with Tigers on CSN

Preview: White Sox continue series with Tigers on CSN

The White Sox continue their road series with the Tigers on Tuesday night in the Motor City, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage from Detroit starts at 6 p.m. Then be sure to stick around following the final out for reaction and analysis on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today's starting pitching matchup: Anthony Ranaudo (0-1, 7.88 ERA) vs. Daniel Norris (2-2, 3.63 ERA)

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