Twins eyeing Kubel return?

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Twins eyeing Kubel return?

With Michael Cuddyer headed to Colorado, Minnesota has stepped up efforts to re-sign outfielderDH Jason Kubel, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Take it away, Darth Vader.

It looked as if the Twins wouldn't be able to bring back either Cuddyer or Kubel after signing Josh Willingham earlier this week, but now that doesn't appear to be the case. This is bad news for the White Sox, seeing as Kubel has absolutely crushed the Sox in his career.

Kubel owns a .896 OPS against the White Sox in 303 plate appearances. He's hit 22 home runs and drove in 76 runs, easily the highest totals against any opponent (for reference, he's hit 12 home runs vs. Cleveland and driven in 52 runs vs. Kansas City, the highest totals in those areas).

He's smashed four home runs in his career off Gavin Floyd, the most he's hit against any opposing pitcher. Kubel's also hit three home runs against three pitchers, two of which are Jon Garland and Javier Vazquez -- both former Sox pitchers. He's driven in 13 runs with John Danks on the mound (the highest total there), with 11 RBIs coming against Garland and 10 against Floyd.

For the sake of the White Sox pitching staff's ERA, here's hoping Kubel doesn't return to Minnesota.

Back with White Sox, Carlos Sanchez handled demotion well

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Back with White Sox, Carlos Sanchez handled demotion well

BALTIMORE -- He may have been disappointed when he was sent to Charlotte last month, but Carlos Sanchez hasn’t let it affect his play.

Sanchez’s play at Triple-A has been so good that he’s back with the White Sox, at least temporarily.

The White Sox promoted the middle infielder on Thursday after they placed closer David Robertson on the bereavement list. Sanchez, who appeared in 120 games for the White Sox last season, is hitting .309/.356/.469 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 89 plate appearances at Charlotte.

“It’s never a good feeling for a guy trying to make the team,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He played well enough in spring training, but you make decisions based on what you need on the roster and it’s a tough one. But he’s always handled that well. Any time he’s gone down there he has gotten his work in.”

Sanchez said he tries to avoid looking at the big picture, which helps him remain focused on a daily basis. After they acquired Brett Lawrie and Todd Frazier in the offseason, the White Sox no longer had an everyday role for Sanchez, who spent most of last season at the starting second baseman. Because he’s only 23, the White Sox told Sanchez they wanted him to play every day and continue to improve. He has taken the message to heart.

“They don’t want to keep me here just to be on the bench,” Sanchez said. “They need me to play every day to keep developing my game, and I took it.

“I feel really good. My game is really good right now, so I’m just going to try to help the team. Whatever they need, I’m going to be there for my team.”

 

White Sox will be without closer David Robertson until Sunday

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White Sox will be without closer David Robertson until Sunday

BALTIMORE -- The White Sox feel like they’re in the best position possible to handle the temporary loss of David Robertson, who they’ll be without until Sunday.

The White Sox closer has been placed on the bereavement list to attend the funeral of his father-in-law, who passed away earlier this week after battling cancer.

Robertson -- who has eight saves in nine tries and a 0.87 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings this season -- closed out Wednesday night’s four-run win over the Toronto Blue Jays even though it wasn’t a save opportunity. He joined his family on Thursday, which allowed the White Sox time to promote both Daniel Webb and infielder Carlos Sanchez. Sanchez replaced Robertson on Thursday while Webb joined the team on Wednesday after Miguel Gonzalez was optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte.

“We knew a few days ago, so I thought he handled it great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “As tough as the news is, he knew he was going to need three days. He was with us for a couple of days after he got the news. He pitched in a game and gave us the opportunity to kind of maneuver a little bit. For him to get through this, all the way around it was the best you could hope for.”

The White Sox have utilized a 13-man pitching staff for a big chunk of their current stretch, which includes 19 games in 19 days. But with an off day around the corner, the White Sox chose to go back to a 12-man staff and call upon Sanchez, who could be necessary if any of their four games against the Baltimore Orioles are rained out.

Though Nate Jones is a likely option at closer, Ventura didn’t commit to how he’d manage his ‘pen in Robertson’s absence. He also listed Matt Albers and Zach Duke as potential options. And, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka have experience in the role dating back to the 2014 season.

Jones picked up his first career save during the team’s last homestand.

“We just talked about treating it just like any other inning, no matter who it is,” Jones said. “We have to close out the sixth, we have to close out the seventh. Even though it’s the final three outs of the game, it’s a little bit different. A lot of people put emphasis on it. But that’s what we’re going to try and do -- just treat it like it’s the whatever inning.”

The White Sox bullpen has been outstanding this season. The group leads the major leagues with a 1.32 ERA. Over the past nine games, White Sox relievers have only allowed two earned runs in 24 2/3 innings (0.73 ERA).

“Those guys have handled it as well as you can,” Ventura said. “They feel for Robby. In a lot of ways they want to help him out as well. Robby is a good teammate and part of this is being able to flow with it. I think these guys are going to step up. That’s what you do.”

White Sox win sixth straight, blank Blue Jays

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White Sox win sixth straight, blank Blue Jays

A rare triple by Dioner Navarro gave the Chicago White Sox something even more uncommon: a series sweep in Toronto.

Navarro hit a go-ahead, two-run triple in the seventh inning, and the White Sox beat the Blue Jays 4-0 Wednesday night for their sixth straight win.

Chicago earned its first sweep in Toronto since May, 2005.

Jose Quintana (3-1) struck out a season-high 10 in six innings for Chicago, which at 16-6 is 10 games above .500 for the first time since Sept. 25, 2012.

"We've got a great team here and I think we've got a great shot at doing great things," Navarro said.

Quintana allowed five hits and walked three, improving to 4-0 with a 0.68 ERA in four starts at Toronto. He has won consecutive starts and lowered his ERA to 1.47, passing teammate Chris Sale for fourth-best in the AL.

"Every time he got in a tough spot, he got a little more on it," manager Robin Ventura said.

Navarro called Quintana's performance "unbelievable."

"He was throwing a lot of strikes," Navarro said. "He was getting ahead of hitters with all of his pitches, fastballs, breaking balls, everything."

Zach Duke, Nate Jones and David Robertson pitched an inning each, finishing Chicago's major league-leading fifth shutout.

Marco Estrada (1-2) gave up one hit through six innings but was knocked out in the seventh. Estrada allowed three runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings and is winless in three starts.

Chicago's three-game sweep was the first by a visitor at Toronto since the Los Angeles Angels from Sept. 10-12, 2013. Shut out for the first time this season. Toronto has lost six of eight.

Todd Frazier singled to begin the seventh, and Melky Cabrera hit into a forceout. Brett Lawrie walked, Avisail Garcia struck out and Navarro got his fifth career triple, a drive off the wall in right-center.

"I knew in that situation I needed to make something happen," Navarro said. "I was fortunate enough to get a chanegup in the strike zone and put some good wood on it."

It was Navarro's first triple since Sept. 27, 2012.

"I filled up that zero," he said. "I always try to fill up a zero every year. I got the triple already. The next stat is a stolen base."

Estrada, who worked almost exclusively with Navarro when the two were teammates last season, gave his former catcher credit for hitting a good pitch.

"There's nothing else I could have done," Estrada said. "I put the ball exactly where I wanted."

Jesse Chavez relieved, and Austin Jackson tripled. During the next at bat, plate umpire John Tumpane ejected Blue Jays manager John Gibbons for arguing. It was the first ejection of the season for Gibbons, who came out and continued arguing with Tumpane and crew chief Dan Iassogna.

Estrada, who was seen rubbing his shoulder in the dugout between innings, acknowledged feeling some soreness.

"It didn't feel very good, but, you know, I don't want to talk about it," Estrada said.