White Sox invite 18 to spring training

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White Sox invite 18 to spring training

The White Sox invited 18 players to spring training -- which begins in a month -- including prospects Trayce Thompson and Jake Petricka.

Thompson, who was ranked between Nos. 3-7 on a few White Sox prospect lists, hit 24 home runs with 60 walks and 172 strikeouts at Single-A Kannapolis in 2011. Petricka made 21 starts between Kannapolis and Winston-Salem last year, striking out 94 with 39 walks while allowing just three home runs in 109 13 innings.

Jared Mitchell, the Sox first-round pick in 2009, was also invited to camp as he looks to resurrect his prospect status. Mitchell suffered a devastating ankle injury during spring training in 2010 and struggled in his 2011 return, posting just a .304 OBP with 52 walks and 183 strikeouts with Winston-Salem.

Others in the Sox system who garnered invites include Brandon Short, Michael Blanke, Josh Phegley, Tyler Kuhn, Jim Gallagher and Jordan Danks. Of the players invited, Danks has the best shot at making the 25-man roster as a fourth outfielder, although that the Sox left him unprotected in December's Rule 5 Draft may be an indication as to how they feel about John's little brother.

The Sox also signed eight players to minor league deals and invited them to camp, a few of whom have a decent chance to win a bullpen spot with the major-league club. Brian Bruney, who appeared in 23 games with the Sox last season, should be a leading candidate to win a job, while Brian Omogrosso, Leyson Septimo and Eric Stults will all be considered as well.

Preview: Quintana takes the hill as White Sox face Twins on CSN

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Preview: Quintana takes the hill as White Sox face Twins on CSN

The White Sox take on the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Thursday’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana vs. Ervin Santana

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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White Sox Top Prospects: Alex Call thriving at the plate

White Sox Top Prospects: Alex Call thriving at the plate

Alex Call is picking up right where he left off from college.

The White Sox 2016 third round pick has continued to swing the bat extremely well in the first couple months of his professional career.

In three seasons at Ball State, Call had 19 homers and 119 RBI, while batting .351/.425./.530. 

In two levels with the White Sox, Call is hitting .315/.407/.452 with six homers and 31 RBI.

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The 21-year-old played 27 games with Rookie Affiliate Great Falls before getting promoted to Class-A Kannapolis.

In 41 games with Kannapolis, Call's .319 batting average ranks second on the team and his .460 slugging percentage leads the Intimidators.

Alex Avila gets best of former teammate Justin Verlander, homers in White Sox loss

Alex Avila gets best of former teammate Justin Verlander, homers in White Sox loss

DETROIT -- Things might be a little awkward between Alex Avila and Justin Verlander.

The two former teammates faced off on Wednesday afternoon for only the second time ever and Avila didn’t treat the Tigers’ ace too kindly.

Avila, who caught Verlander for six seasons, ripped a 435-foot solo homer to dead center in the fourth inning, but the White Sox still lost to the Detroit Tigers 3-2.

Avila is now 2-for-5 with a walk in two games against Verlander. They also faced each other on June 5.

“I know I’m going to be hearing about it,” Verlander told Detroit reporters. “I think I’m going to ask him back for one of the watches I’ve gifted him. It’s only fair, I think.”

Avila and Verlander have shared a ton of memories over the years.

Avila was Verlander’s primary catcher from 2010-2015. He caught him 116 times, including in 33 of 34 starts when Verlander won his only Cy Young Award and was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player. Verlander had a 3.10 ERA with Avila behind the plate, including a 2.35 in 2011.

Avila hit against Verlander three times on Wednesday, striking out twice. He thought his old teammate looked extremely sharp as Verlander held the White Sox to two runs and three hits in seven innings. Verlander struck out nine.

“He has pitched great all year, really exposing hitters’ weaknesses with that mid-90s fastball, staying at the top of the zone with that,” Avila said. “His slider-cutter worked well for him. He’s pitching great. It’s tough to get runs off him.”

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Avila was excited to not only face Verlander, but also to catch Chris Sale. He said White Sox manager Robin Ventura told him he’d catch Wednesday’s game a few days earlier and he anticipated the game.

Verlander said he thinks the catcher has the advantage in these types of meetings.

“Alex having caught me a lot, cheated a little bit to that first pitch heater in, and that’s fine,” Verlander said. “A lot of guys do that and I just need to execute it a little better.

“It’s like he’s faced 1,000 times, so you can’t get upset because it’s an ex-teammate.”

Avila said it “felt great” to homer off Verlander, but he hadn’t yet talked to him or texted.

“I’m sure we’ll talk about it at some point,” Avila said.

Verlander figures this won’t be the only time the two square off. If Avila wants to keep hitting homers, he might think about leaving personal items at home.

“I think I’ve gave him two or three (watches),” Verlander said. “I’ll start with the least expensive one and work my way up because we face each other a lot.”