Dunn homers as Sox beat Angels

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Dunn homers as Sox beat Angels

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Albert Pujols wasn't concerned that it took seven spring training games to hit his first homer for the Los Angeles Angels. He knows they will come.Pujols hit two Wednesday in the Angels' 9-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox, a game in which Los Angeles starter Ervin Santana was struck on the right shoulder by a line drive.Santana exited after being hit in the second inning and is day to day with a bruise. Manager Mike Scioscia said Santana, who is in line to be the No. 3 or 4 starter, could miss a start without being set back for the season.Santana said he felt a little pain, but he wasn't worried. While icing the shoulder, he said no X-ray was planned. Santana pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians on July 27 and he finished last season 11-12 with a 3.38 ERA."Everything will be OK," he said.The White Sox's Tyler Flowers and Adam Dunn homered, and the Angels' Howie Kendrick also homered.
Pujols hit a three-run home to left field and a solo shot to center. The three-time NL MVP signed a 10-year, 254 million deal with the Angels in December after he played 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals."I try to just put a good swing on it all the time," Pujols said. "I'm not sitting out there trying to hit the ball out of the park. I'm just trying to hit the ball back to the middle and let the ball get deep and try to make good swings every day, whatever I have to do to help this ballclub and this organization win."I know it's spring training. The games probably don't count, but you still need to take the game serious," he added."We hope we're going to see that often this year," Scioscia said. "It's great to see him getting comfortable in the box."After the line drive struck Santana, he was able to field the ball and throw to first to retire Alexei Ramirez. The Angels' staff checked on Santana and then he was replaced by Eddie McKiernan."We'll see tomorrow," Santana said.Santana allowed a run and a hit, struck out two and walked one in 1 1-3 innings in his second start of spring training."I felt very good," Santana said. "The ball was coming out good."Chris Sale allowed five runs in 4 1-3 innings for the White Sox. He gave up seven hits and struck out two. Sale, who is transitioning from a reliever to a starter, has allowed eight runs in 7 1-3 innings."That's unacceptable on every level, I don't care who you are," Sale said. "By no means am I going to go home and kick myself in the rear, but I'm disappointed with what happened today. At the same time, there are positives with this. I had some good innings."Sale hit Pujols with a pitch in the first inning. Pujols hit a three-run home run off Sale the next time he faced him."A hitter like him, he's arguably the best in the game," Sale said. "He proved a couple innings later if you're going in, you better get it in."Manager Robin Ventura reaffirmed his confidence in Sale."He's still got great stuff," Ventura said. "He's going to be in there."Flowers hit a solo homer, his second of the spring, off McKiernan. Kendrick hit his second home run, a two-run shot off Anthony Carter. Dunn also hit his second of the spring, a two-run drive.NOTES: As a precaution, White Sox closer candidate Jesse Crain didn't pitch because of a slight strain of his right oblique. .Dunn was back in the lineup as the designated hitter after sitting out Tuesday with a stiff neck. .The White Sox optioned right-handed pitcher Gregory Infante to Triple-A Charlotte, reassigned catcher Damaso Espino, right-handed pitchers Brian Omogrosso and Jacob Petricka and outfielders Brandon Short and Delwyn Young to the minor league camp and added infielder Tyler Saladino to major league camp. Ventura said he wanted to see Saladino, who started at second base and hit second.

Jose Abreu ready for 2017 after season full of 'different challenges'

Jose Abreu ready for 2017 after season full of 'different challenges'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — A torrid two months at the plate helped Jose Abreu end what he found to be an extremely trying 2016 season with numbers close to his career norms.

But even though he finished with an .820 OPS and 100 RBIs for a third straight season, Abreu admits that 2016 was a season unlike any other he'd faced.

While he didn't disclose any theories for the cause of his lengthy struggles, the White Sox first baseman said Sunday he's pleased to have finished on a positive note and thinks that rebounding from those difficulties will only make him stronger. Abreu — who hit .293/.353/.468 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs in 695 plate appearances — is also a fan of new White Sox manager Rick Renteria and is equally impressed with the prospects the club acquired this winter.

"Yes, those were different challenges, especially in my mind," Abreu said through an interpreter. "I never in my life experienced some of the kind of struggles like I did last year. But that put me in a better position as a player, as a person too. I'm in a better position now for this season because I learned from the experience."

In spite of his struggles, Abreu was still a league average player through the first four months of the season. But the 2014 All-Star hardly resembled the player who produced a 153 OPS-plus over his first two seasons. His timing was off and Abreu — hitting .269/.325/.413 with 11 homers and 56 RBIs through July 30 — wasn't driving the ball as he typically had in his first two seasons, when he smacked 66 homers.

Abreu was lost at the plate and nobody could figure out why.

But after the arrival of his son, Dariel, who visited him for the first time since he moved to the United States, Abreu took off. He hit .338/.402/.568 the rest of the season with 14 homers and 44 RBIs in 249 trips to the plate.

"Right after last season ended, I had my meeting at my house with my family, just to explain to them how the season was because they know about baseball," Abreu said. "But sometimes they can't register how the process is in a season as long as the major league season is. We talked about it. I explained to them all of the challenges, the problems I had during that season. Once we ended with that meeting, last season was in the past. We moved on and we were trying just to figure out things and how can I do better for this season."

Now in his fourth season in the majors, Abreu has a firm grasp on how the White Sox operate and likes some of the team's modifications. He likes how Renteria thoroughly communicates what he has in mind for the club. Abreu also enjoys being seen as one of the team's leaders and wouldn't mind being a mentor to prized prospect Yoan Moncada.

Now he hopes to carry over his strong finish to the start of the 2017 campaign.

"I'm working on it," Abreu said. "That's one of my goals. Everybody knows that at the beginning of last season, I wasn't performing good. It was kind of a surprise for me, too. But I'm in good shape right now and I believe I will be able to succeed."

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The leading candidate to be the team’s starting center fielder, Charlie Tilson has been temporarily shut down after suffering a stress reaction in his right foot.

The White Sox rookie said Sunday that he noticed the injury gradually building up before he decided to stop his workout on Friday and headed for the training room. An MRI performed Saturday on Tilson -- who is rehabbing from a torn left hamstring that ended his 2016 season early -- revealed the reaction, which isn’t severe as a stress fracture. Given Tilson previously had a stress fracture in his right foot, the White Sox said he'll be sidelined from impact work for 10 days, at which point he’d be re-evaluated.

“It started very minimal, and I tried to work through it a little bit, and by the time I addressed Herm, thankfully I caught it before it was anything that would keep me out for too long,” Tilson said. “It’s a minor thing, and it will give my other leg a chance to get stronger in the meantime, and hopefully we’ll turn this negative into a positive.”

Tilson wouldn’t be surprised if his injury is related to overcompensating for his left leg, which he has worked tirelessly to rehab since he suffered the injury on Aug. 2 and then had season-ending surgery. Manager Rick Renteria described it as an “irritation” in the area where Tilson suffered a stress fracture in 2013. In the interim, the White Sox will test some of their other options in camp, including veteran Peter Bourjos and minor leaguers Adam Engel and Jacob May, among others.

“But we don’t foresee it to be a long-term issue,” Renteria said. “By being able to shut him down now, it’ll be something he’ll be able to recover from. We’ll just readjust his timetable.”

Minor as Tilson and the White Sox say it is, the outfielder admitted he’s down about having to deal with it after the progress he’d made in his rehab.

The White Sox acquired the New Trier High School product from the St. Louis Cardinals last July in exchange for left-hander Zach Duke. Tilson was immediately called up as the White Sox intended to try him out in center field the rest of the season. But he suffered a season-ending injury in his major league debut while tracking down a fly ball and had surgery several days later.

Tilson made enough progress to be a full participant in a hitter’s camp at Camelback Ranch last month. Earlier this week, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Tilson was a top candidate to take over as the club’s starting center fielder if he was healthy.

“I guess you could say I’m disappointed,” Tilson said. “But it’s a very minor setback and it’s part of the process. I had a major repair, and these things come up and hopefully we can minimize them as much as we can and hopefully this is the last one. But I’m just going to deal with it and do whatever I can to move forward.”