Who is Nestor Molina?

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Who is Nestor Molina?

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Chuck GarfienKW says Molina needs "a little seasoning" but could force his way onto the roster soon.
Dec 06 via UberSocial for BlackBerryFavoriteRetweetReply
Kenny Williams had said all along he was trying to acquire MLB-ready talent in any trade this winter. So, in true Kenny Williams fashion, he did the exact opposite and acquired 22-year-old righty Nestor Molina from Toronto for Sergio Santos on Tuesday.

Molina is a fantastic strike-thrower who posted an eye-popping 148 strikeouts with just 18 walks over 130 13 innings between Single-A and Double-A last season with the Blue Jays.

Per this report, he features a fastball, breaking ball and changeup -- pretty standard fare. He'll be 23 next season and should begin 2012 with Double-A Birmingham. Best-case, he cracks the White Sox major-league roster as a September call-up in 2012 and then joins the rotation full-time in 2013.

The biggest concern with Molina is that, as a converted reliever, he doesn't have a ton of innings under his belt in the pros. He's only thrown 292 23 innings since joining the Blue Jays organization in 2007 and never threw more than 81 innings before 2011. He can expect to throw more than 130 13 innings in 2012 with the Sox, but whether he can handle the jump to 200 innings in the majors will be a major question.

Of course, pitching prospects are always extremely volatile, and there's no guarantee he'll even reach the majors. But the White Sox are incredibly thin on pitching prospects, and adding someone with the upside of Molina is encouraging.

More to come on the impact of dealing Santos away in a bit.

White Sox blast seven homers but lose to Blue Jays

White Sox blast seven homers but lose to Blue Jays

Even though they tied a team record on Saturday afternoon, the White Sox became only the third team in baseball history to hit seven home runs in a game and lose.

Brett Lawrie produced his first multi-homer game, but a poor outing by starter Miguel Gonzalez did in the short-handed White Sox, who lost 10-8 to the Toronto Blue Jays in front of 25,776 at U.S. Cellular Field.

The seven home runs -- all solo shots -- matched an April 23, 1955 performance at the Kansas City Athletics. But it wasn’t enough to prevent them from falling below .500 as Gonzalez allowed eight runs in 5 1/3 innings. Dioner Navarro, J.B. Shuck, Tim Anderson, Alex Avila and Adam Eaton all homered in the loss.

“I don’t think I’ve seen that before,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.

While it may not be as unprecedented, the workload has been hefty for the White Sox bullpen over the last week. The group had combined for 26 1/3 innings in the team’s previous seven games and needed a lengthy effort from Gonzalez. Ventura said afterward he ruled relievers David Robertson and Nate Jones, who each appeared in five of those games, and Matt Albers and Zach Duke, who had four each, out of action.

So it couldn’t have been easy for Ventura to stomach when Gonzalez allowed five consecutive first-inning hits and fell behind 3-0. Devon Travis made it a five-run game in the second inning with a two-run homer.

Starved for length from the starting pitcher, Ventura stuck with Gonzalez, who retired the side in order in the third. But the Blue Jays continued to add on against Gonzalez, pushing across three more runs in the fourth inning. Josh Donaldson drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs to make it a 6-3 game and Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run single again pushed the deficit to five.

While Gonzalez pitched a scoreless fifth inning, he was lifted after a one-out double in the sixth by Ezequiel Carrera.

“We've got to win that game,” Gonzalez said. “That can't happen. I have to be more consistent.

"It's frustrating not to be a little bit more consistent early in the ballgame.”

Gonzalez is now 1-3 with a 7.83 ERA in four home starts this season.

Encarnacion doubled in an insurance run and Troy Tulowitzki singled in another in the ninth off rookie Michael Ynoa to give Toronto a 10-7 lead.

Despite facing big deficits all game, the White Sox didn’t surrender.

Lawrie’s inside-the-park-home run with two outs in the second off R.A. Dickey lit a fuse. It was the first inside-the-park-homer by a White Sox player at U.S. Cellular Field since Chris Singleton on Sept. 29, 2000.

Navarro then lined one out to right to make it 5-2 and Shuck followed with his first homer since April 19, 2014 -- a span of 318 plate appearances. It’s the first time the White Sox hit three consecutive homers since they hit four in a row against the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 14, 2008.

Lawrie’s solo homer off Dickey in the fourth made it 8-3 as he became the first White Sox player since Ron Santo on June 9, 1974 to have both a traditional homer and an inside-the-park-homer in the same contest.

The White Sox added a run in the sixth on an RBI single by Lawrie to make it 8-5, but reliever Jesse Chavez stranded a pair of runners.

Anderson’s homer off Drew Storen in the seventh made it a two-run game and Avila’s oppo-shot off Jason Grilli in the eighth got the White Sox within a run.

Eaton homered in the ninth, too, but it wasn’t enough.

“They’ve got a well oiled machine over there,” Eaton said. “They’re tough to compete with. At the same time, you hit seven home runs, you think you should win the ballgame. But that's the way baseball goes. Baseball is a weird game.

“It's a tricky game. You can never really predict it.”

White Sox first-rounder Zack Collins to start pro career next week

White Sox first-rounder Zack Collins to start pro career next week

ESPN suggested Zack Collins could be the first hitter from this month’s amateur baseball draft to reach the big leagues.

But the first-round pick has been given a few days to decompress before he begins his professional career with the White Sox. Collins spent Saturday morning in the clubhouse, took batting practice with some of his future teammates and threw out the first pitch less than a day after he officially signed with the White Sox. The university of Miami catcher — who received a $3,380,600 signing bonus — will first report to the team’s Glendale, Ariz. facility on July 2 and eventually will start at Single-A Winston-Salem.

“We’re probably going to give him a week or two to catch his breath a little bit,” amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. “It’s been a long season for him. We’re probably going to send him to Arizona for a little bit and get his feet under him and then to Winston.”

Collins’ college career ended earlier this week when the Hurricanes were eliminated from the College World Series. He appeared in 62 games and hit .363/.544/.668 with 16 home runs and 59 RBIs. Collins finished the season with 78 walks and 53 strikeouts.

The catcher brought his family with him to Chicago for the weekend and this week he’ll head to Wichita, KS, where he’s one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award, which is awarded annually to the nation’s top collegiate catcher.  

“After that I’ll have a couple of days off and head out,” Collins said. “It’s definitely nice (to get a few days off). I pretty much caught every game this year for Miami so it’s nice to get my legs a little rest and get fresh and head out.”

Collins wants to stick at catcher and he thinks he can. But his approach, which ESPN said is the best of the draft, and bat could have Collins to the majors quickly. Of Collins, ESPN’s Keith Law said “he can really hit.”

Collins finished his collegiate career with 177 walks versus 164 strikeouts.

“Patience is key when you’re hitting, Collins said. “Swinging at the right pitches and put the barrel on it and the ball will fly, especially with these big-league balls. Take your walks and get on base and score runs to help the team.”

Zack Burdi, the team’s supplemental first-rounder, also is said to be a fast-mover and potentially could be the first pitcher drafted to reach the majors. Hostetler said the reason Collins and Burdi are ahead of others has as much to do with their mental approach as their skillset.

“They’re advanced from the standpoint not only physically, but mentally,” Hostetler said. “That’s probably the big thing if they can play here. These guys that play here on a nightly basis, they’re wired different between the ears. They have a different mentality about them and both of those kids as well as a couple of the other ones we drafted have that presently and don’t have to develop that. To think you can put it on a 21-year-old kid to pitch here in front of 40,000 a night, it’s a little tough to think about. But I do think they’d be capable of something like that.”

White Sox closer David Robertson will remember 100th save 'for sure'

White Sox closer David Robertson will remember 100th save 'for sure'

It’s very unlikely David Robertson will ever forget how he recorded his 100th save.

To earn it, the White Sox closer had to endure a wild Friday night. Kansas City aside, Friday’s was one of his more chaotic innings of the entire season. Not only did Robertson put himself in a difficult position, he then had to endure against the heart of the Toronto Blue Jays lineup in a one-run game. But somehow Robertson managed his way out of what seemed like an impossible jam to escape to convert his 19th save in 21 tries.

“It’s a high-stress position and I think guys that are able to do that and get numbers like that are very unique,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “At the end it’s whether he got it done or not. Last night he got it done. It’s not the situation he wants to get in, but you have to be able to have the stuff to get out of it. And he has that.”

Robertson needed every ounce of his escape-ability.

Working for the fifth time in six days, Robertson’s inning was disrupted twice by lengthy delays, one for a 3-minute, 20-second replay review and another for a disputed foul ball off Darwin Barney’s bat. Robertson eventually walked Barney and proceeded to load the bases with consecutive singles, including an infield hit by Josh Donaldson.

All of a sudden, Robertson found himself staring down Edwin Encarnacion with red-hot Michael Saunders on deck and only one out.

“You couldn't ask for better guys at the plate,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

But in an instant, Robertson found his way out of trouble. He struck out Encarnacion on 3-2 pitch and Saunders harmlessly popped out to shortstop on the first pitch. Instead of lamenting a missed opportunity, Robertson received a congratulatory text from his wife, Erin, who notified him the save was the 100th of his career.

In 21 save opportunities this season, Robertson has a 0.82 ERA as he has allowed two earned runs and 14 hits in 22 innings. He has walked eight, struck out 26 and converted 19 tries.

“I definitely made it exciting out there,” Robertson said. “I wasn’t helping myself out much. It was a tough one, it was a grind. I was giving them everything I had and I felt like I was very fortunate to escape that inning without giving up a run.

“It would have been a lot of nicer if it was 1-2-3. I’ll remember that one for sure.”