Chicago White Sox

De Aza, Morel power Sox past Indians

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De Aza, Morel power Sox past Indians

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) As poorly as Ubaldo Jimenez has pitched this spring, even a performance in which he gave up a bunch of hits looked pretty good.Jimenez threw plenty of strikes in five innings for the Cleveland Indians in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.Jimenez allowed two earned runs and seven hits, walking none and striking out three. He said he stayed consistent with his mechanics in his second-to-last start of the spring, lowering his ERA from 7.24 to 6.27."I was able to throw a lot of strikes to get ahead and stay ahead," Jimenez said. "I think it was the first game that I've been able to do that in spring training."Jimenez is trying to bounce back after finishing 4-4 with a 5.10 ERA for the Indians last season following a late trade with the Colorado Rockies. He is expected to be Cleveland's No. 2 starter.Indians manager Manny Acta said Jimenez's secondary pitches were possibly the best he's thrown this spring."It's a big relief for me," Acta said. "I wanted to see some improvement. He looks very relaxed, at times too relaxed. He says he doesn't always pitch well in spring training. He has assured us the velocity will be there. We have to trust him."
Brent Morel and Alejandro De Aza hit their first home runs of the spring for the White Sox, both two-run shots. Paul Konerko added two doubles.Zach Stewart, a candidate for the Chicago bullpen, allowed a run and three hits in 5 1-3 innings."Whatever role or job they decide for me and want me to pursue, that's fine," Stewart said. "My main goal is just getting there (in the majors)."Before the game, the White Sox sent six players to their minor league camp, boosting the chances of infielders Eduardo Escobar or Ray Olmedo winning the final bench spot.Escobar, a switch-hitter, started at shortstop and went 0 for 4. He is batting .421 this spring. Olmedo started at second base, went 2 for 4 and is hitting .450.Escobar is on the 40-man roster while Olmedo is a non-roster invite."I've been working very hard and will continue to do that. I think that being here as long as I have, making the cut, shows the hard work that I've been doing."Escobar made his major league debut Sept. 3 and hit .286 in nine games."You could say that I'm a natural shortstop, but by the same token, the more reps and practices I get at the different positions, the more comfortable I feel," he said. "Also, it gives me the opportunity to highlight what I can do."Olmedo has hit .228 in 198 major league games.NOTES: White Sox closer candidate Jesse Crain (oblique) allowed an unearned run two innings in a minor league game, his first action since March 12. Crain said he's on target to be ready for the regular season. "I believe I'll have at least three more actual games," he said. "By then, I'll get locked in." ... White Sox starter Jake Peavy allowed five runs and 12 hits in seven innings in the minor league game. He struck out seven and walked one. ... The Indians' Michael Brantley went 1 for 2 in his first game after missing a week with a tight right hamstring.

Chris Volstad earns first MLB victory in five seasons as White Sox top Astros

Chris Volstad earns first MLB victory in five seasons as White Sox top Astros

HOUSTON -- Two weeks ago Chris Volstad was focused on Hurricane Irma prep when the White Sox called to invite him to the majors. On Thursday night, he earned his first major league victory in more than five years as the White Sox defeated the Houston Astros 3-1 at Minute Maid Park.

Volstad, who had only made 10 big league appearances the previous four-plus seasons and spent all of 2017 at Triple-A Charlotte, allowed a run in 4 1/3 innings to pick up his first win since Sept. 10, 2012.

He hadn’t just shut it down after the Triple-A season ended, Volstad was actually shuttering his Jupiter, Fla. home and business the day the short-handed White Sox called.

“I was probably a little mentally shut down,” Volstad said. “But yeah, it’s kind of crazy how things can change. I guess it’s been about two weeks now. At home getting ready for a hurricane and then getting called back up to the big leagues.”

Volstad received word he might pitch early in Thursday’s game when a blister on Carson Fulmer’s right index finger worsened. Fulmer felt some discomfort after his Friday start at Detroit.

The White Sox let Fulmer try to go but yanked him after 20 pitches, including two walks. That brought out Volstad, who along with Al Alburquerque was promoted Sept. 10 after the White Sox lost several pitchers to injury.

The White Sox actually had to track Volstad down two weeks ago as he’d already been home for a week. He spent part of the time prepping for Irma, including boarding up his brewery.

He escaped a first-inning jam with a double play ball of the bat of Carlos Correa and ended a threat in the second with a pickoff at second base of Alex Bregman. After he surrendered a solo homer to Brian McCann in the third, Volstad retired the final eight men he faced.

[MORE: Why the White Sox are optimistic about their middle infielders' potential

He was awarded his first victory since he defeated Thursday’s Astros starter Dallas Keuchel 1,836 days ago here. Volstad remembered the win because Houston was still in the National League and he had a base hit in the five-inning start for the Cubs. He went 3-12 for the Cubs that season.

“You’re able to lock it in pretty quickly and get focused at the big-league level, you have to,” Volstad said. “But being home in Triple-A for the last few years, just getting called up about 10 days ago, I’ve got people following it, but it’s kind of unknown I guess. It’s a little surprising, but I’m glad to be a part of a team for sure.”

Fulmer, Volstad, Jace Fry, Mike Pelfrey, Gregory Infante, Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar and Juan Minaya combined on a three-hitter for the White Sox. Tim Anderson extended his hit streak to 12 games with a ninth-inning solo homer, his 17th.

White Sox add two cross checkers to amateur scouting department

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White Sox add two cross checkers to amateur scouting department

The White Sox hired two new national amateur scouting cross checkers, Tim Bittner and Juan Alvarez.

Bittner was a one-time White Sox farmhand who was included in a package for Scott Schoeneweis in 2003 while Alvarez was an undrafted pitcher who pitched in 80 major league games for the Angels, Rangers and Marlins from 1999-2003.

Bittner previously worked as a Houston Astros area scout while Alvarez held the same role for the Cleveland Indians. They replace Joe Siers, who moved over to the team’s pro scouting staff, and Mike Ledna, who took a job with the New York Mets.

“Both are very smart guys with playing experience,” amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. “And they’re also coming from two clubs with a lot of recent success.

“I want to add as many smart, passionate, high-energy scouts to what I feel is a department already filled with scouts that check those boxes.”

The White Sox expect to have at least a top-four selection in the 2018 amateur draft. They headed into Thursday’s game with the second-worst record in the majors. Hostetler praised the 2018 draft class for its depth earlier this week.