White Sox drop opener to Rangers

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White Sox drop opener to Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)Colby Lewis struck out nine in his first opening day start, Ian Kinsler homered and the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers began the season with a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday.

Kinsler, unable to reach a deal on a new long-term contract before his self-imposed deadline of opening day to end negotiations, had a leadoff double in the first and scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Hamilton. Kinsler hit a solo homer in the third.

The loss spoiled the managerial debut of Robin Ventura, who before the game had his first meeting with Nolan Ryan since charging the mound 19 seasons earlier against the Hall of Fame pitcher. Ryan is now president, CEO and part-owner of the Rangers.

It was a picture-perfect day75 degrees under blue skiesfor the Rangers opener, which came just more than five months after they twice came within one strike of a World Series championship before losing in seven games to St. Louis.

Lewis (1-0) walked only one over six innings, throwing 70 of 100 pitches for strikes. The only other Rangers pitcher with nine strikeouts in a season opener was Ryan in 1991.

Alexi Ogando, an All-Star and 13-game winner as a starter last season, is back in the bullpen and struck out all three batters in faced in the seventh after Texas regained the lead and Lewis left.

New Rangers closer Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth for the save.

Hamilton, the slugger and former AL MVP who can become a free agent after this season, had a leadoff single in the sixth off White Sox starter John Danks (0-1). Hamilton scored to break a 2-all tie on a single by Michael Young, the longest-tenured Ranger starting his 12th season.

Adam Dunn homered leading off the sixth for the White Sox, tying a major league record with his eighth opening day home run when he pulled a ball into the second deck of seats in right field. Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey Jr. are the only other major leaguers who have eight homers in openers.

Dunn batted third in the White Sox lineup. Last year, the highly paid slugger hit .159 with only 11 homers while striking out 177 times in 415 at-bats.

Alex Rios was hit by a pitch with two outs in the White Sox sixth, and the speedster was on the run when Alexi Ramirez singled to left. Rios scored to tie it at 2.

Danks first opening day start came in the stadium he visited often growing up in Austin about three hours away and where he always expected to pitch an opener after being drafted ninth overall by Texas in 2003. But he was traded to Chicago in December 2006, and got a new 65 million, five-year contract from the White Sox this winter.

Ventura, a surprise hire by the White Sox after Ozzie Guillen went to be Miamis manager, hadnt spoken to Ryan since charging the mound against him on a hot August night at old Arlington Stadium in 1993. Ryan, 20 years older and in the last year of his playing career, got Ventura in a headlock and landed several blows. Ventura was then a 26-year-old third baseman for the White Sox.

Before Fridays opener, Ryan went to the White Sox clubhouse and visited with Ventura.

Notes

It is the sixth time Dunn has homered in the first game of the season. He twice had two homers on opening day, in 2005 and 2007 while with Cincinnati. The 13 strikeouts by Texas pitchers were a record for opening day. The previous record was 11, in that 1991 opener when Ryan had nine.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

Crain's Chicago Business released its latest 40 under 40 project and White Sox announcer Jason Benetti made this year's list.

The 33-year-old just finished his first season with the White Sox as play-by-play announcer, working the home games at U.S. Cellular Field (before it was renamed Guaranteed Rate Field last month) alongside Steve Stone as longtime broadcaster Hawk Harrelson saw his workload reduced to mostly road games.

Benetti quickly became a fan favorite among Chicagoans on CSN and other networks in 2016 and his cerebral palsy became more of a backstory, with his work alongside Stone and his affable sense of humor taking center stage instead.

Among other topics, Benetti discussed how he approaches his job of broadcasting for the team he grew up rooting for:

Law school taught me that there are always two sides of the argument. I see it from the Sox prism, but I can’t believe in my heart of hearts that, if the Sox lose, the world’s over anymore. That first game, I was like, “All right, it’s just a game.” And then Avi Garcia hits a homer late in the game against the Indians and I call it like I would call it with a little more. And as the ball cleared the fence, when it was rolling around, I got a slight tear in my eye. And I was like, “What’s that?”

Check out the entire interview with Benetti and the full list at ChicagoBusiness.com.