White Sox won't give up on homers

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White Sox won't give up on homers

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Rick Hahn has no plans to ditch the long ball.

However the teams newly promoted general manager attempts to make his own mark on the White Sox roster, hes certain his team will always need home run hitters as long as they call U.S. Cellular Field home.

As he addressed the media on the first day of the GM meetings on Wednesday, Hahn said he hopes to diversify the teams offense -- to an extent -- so it no longer lives and dies with homers. But no matter how much he tinkers, he refuses to stray too far from what works on the South Side.

Last season, U.S. Cellular Field yielded 229 home runs in 81 games, second in the majors behind only Yankee Stadium.

Playing in our ballpark and playing in our league, were always going to have to hit home runs to stay in games and win games, Hahn said. So were not going to run away from the home run. Having a more diversified offense, one that involves a little more speed, a little more contact, would help complement the power element and perhaps allow us to ride through some slumps there because of the weather or whatever reason the ball is not leaving the ballpark on a consistent enough basis.

The teams starting pitching depth should afford Hahn the ability to explore ways in which he can improve an offense that struggled mightily down the stretch.

The White Sox hit 211 homers last season, the eighth highest total in franchise history. But a team that finished with five hitters with 25 or more home runs blasted only nine and scored 31 runs in a 2-10 stretch in September that undid a potential postseason run.

With six starting pitchers under team control, Hahn could trade from a strength to help a team that finished with a .318 on-base percentage, which ranked seventh in the American League.

Perhaps the White Sox biggest chip on the trade market is starting pitcher Gavin Floyd, who is under contract for 2013 for 9.25 million.

With few top of the line pitchers available in free agency, pitching help is expected to be available only at premium prices this offseason.

Not only is Floyd affordable, hes also durable having made at least 29 starts in five straight seasons.

On Wednesday, Hahn confirmed he has had plenty of discussions with other teams regarding potential trades, though he didnt address names. But Hahn last week said he believed the White Sox would be popular in trade talks because of their pitching depth.

Hahn said on Wednesday he isnt certain he wants to mess with his rotation.

But two National League executives said they think Floyd is one of the top available options in trade behind Tampa Bays James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson and one noted he believes the White Sox could yield an everyday starting position player out of a deal.

Even before we got here we had some conversations, Hahn said. A lot of this is about foundations for future deals. I wouldnt necessarily expect anything in the coming days. Well see where it goes.

Though Hahn might acquiesce to some of manager Robin Venturas wishes --- he might bring in more speed or a line drive hitter to shake up a lineup loaded with power --- he wont give up on the long ball.

He cant.

Were not going to skew the home run hitter, Hahn said. We need that. Thats still going to be mothers milk in our ballpark. But to be able to diversify the offensive attack would be a nice complement. To find complements certainly will make us a better offense overall.

After wild seventh, Carson Fulmer wants another big-time opportunity for White Sox

After wild seventh, Carson Fulmer wants another big-time opportunity for White Sox

The White Sox called up Carson Fulmer from Double-A Birmingham a week ago with the expectation he could add a strong, powerful arm to the back end of a bullpen that’s been taxed quite a bit this season. 

After he struggled in his first high-leverage appearance in the majors, though, the White Sox remain confident their 2015 first-round pick will be an important part of the team’s bullpen down the stretch this summer. 

Fulmer only threw 12 of 30 pitches for strikes and allowed three game-deciding runs in seventh inning of the White Sox 7-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers in front of 22,611 at U.S. Cellular Field Friday night. The leverage indexes of Fulmer’s first two appearances on the West Coast — which spanned 2 2/3 scoreless innings — were .01 and .05 (a leverage index of 1 is average), with those coming in a 8-1 loss and a 6-1 win. On Friday, Fulmer’s leverage index was 2.98. 

Fulmer said nerves weren’t behind his erratic outing, in which plenty of those 18 balls weren’t close to the strike zone. 

“I want to be in those situations,” the 22-year-old Fulmer said. “When you go out there and don’t do your job, it’s obviously frustrating. But you have to have a quick memory and throw it over your shoulder and prepare yourself for tomorrow.”

Fulmer’s electric mid-90’s fastball and wipeout curveball were rendered ineffective by his inability to command them in his two-thirds of an inning. He walked Justin Upton, gave up a single to Tyler Collins and walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia to load the bases with nobody out, and after a pair of groundouts brought a run in, he walked Cameron Maybin to re-load the bases.

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After that walk, Fulmer was pulled in favor of Nate Jones, who surrendered a go-ahead, ultimately game-winning two-run single to Tigers All-Star first baseman Miguel Cabrera. 

At some point, the White Sox were going to have to test Fulmer. With starter Jacob Turner only lasting 3 1/3 innings, and Fulmer looking comfortable in his first two appearances in the majors, manager Robin Ventura calculated that the seventh inning Friday was a prime opportunity. 

“He’s going to have to have it sooner or later,” Ventura said. “From the way the first (two) went, we felt comfortable he was going to come in there and be able to do that. But tonight, that doesn’t happen. But you have the confidence he can come back from this and be very effective in that spot.”

Morneau, who’s provided offense for bullpens over 14 major league seasons, agreed with his manager’s confidence in Fulmer. 

“We see a lot of good things in him,” Morneau said. “It’s obviously not up to me, but hopefully we get him back out there quick and let him settle back down and get comfortable, because he can really help this team.” 

White Sox relievers entered Friday with the fifth-highest leverage index in baseball, a product of the high volume of one-, two- and three-run games this team has found itself in this season. All those stressful innings — as well as Jake Petricka’s season-ending injury and Zach Putnam’s elbow issue from which he isn’t likely to return anytime soon — have put a considerable strain on Jones, Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and David Robertson.

Fulmer, by virtue of being in the White Sox bullpen, will get another opportunity at a high-leverage inning. And while his first foray into a pressure-packed relief appearance didn’t go well, he hopes to quickly get a chance to put Friday in the rearview mirror. 

“I can’t ever use the excuse of it being my first big-time experience, especially for me being put in that situation,” Fulmer said. “Hopefully I get the opportunity to do it again. I’ll continue to stay prepared, just like I was tonight, and hopefully the odds turn in my favor. That’s all I can control.” 

Preview: Sale, White Sox continue series with Tigers tonight on CSN

Preview: Sale, White Sox continue series with Tigers tonight on CSN

Chris Sale takes the mound as the White Sox continue their four-game series against the Detroit Tigers tonight, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 5:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Starting pitching matchup: Matt Boyd (1-2, 4.91 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (14-3, 3.18 ERA)

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Report: Rangers making ‘serious effort’ to trade for White Sox ace Chris Sale

Report: Rangers making ‘serious effort’ to trade for White Sox ace Chris Sale

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday he’s been fielding more calls about trades as he team has slid to six losses in seven games after the All-Star break. 

According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, one of those calls has been from a Texas Rangers front office that’s pushing hard to acquire All-Star left-hander Chris Sale. 

Sullivan reports the White Sox want power-hitting 22-year-old prospect Joey Gallo as well as former top prospect infielder Jurickson Profar. 

The 23-year-old Profar is hitting .304/.351/.435 in 42 games with the Rangers this season. Profar missed the entire 2014 season due to a muscle strain in his right shoulder, and underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in the same shoulder prior to the 2015 season, in which he only appeared in 32 games in the Rangers’ minor league system. 

Gallo, who homered in his first career at-bat off then-White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija in June of 2015, has 17 home runs with a .254/.394/.561 slash line and 85 strikeouts in 228 plate appearances for Triple-A Round Rock this season. 

While Hahn said Thursday it “might be extreme” for the White Sox to undergo a full rebuild with Sale and Jose Quintana under control on team-friendly deals through 2019 and 2020, respectively, he did say the organization is considering all of its options as it languishes in both the American League wild card and Central Division races.

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported Thursday that the White Sox were offered a "king's ransom" for Sale and turned that team down.