Floyd, White Sox wrap up series vs. Rays on CSN

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Floyd, White Sox wrap up series vs. Rays on CSN

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Posted: 10:32 a.m.

Associated Press

After another feeble offensive performance, frustration might be building for the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays look to bounce back from their latest defeat and salvage a split of their four-game set with the Chicago White Sox on Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.

Tampa Bay (1-7) rallied to beat Chicago 9-7 on Friday, hours after slugger Manny Ramirez retired rather than serve a second drug suspension, but had just six hits in a 4-2 loss Saturday.

The reigning AL East champions are batting .167 on the season, and have totaled 10 runs in their losses. At least one Tampa Bay player might have taken a bit of his frustration out late in Saturday's contest.

Third baseman Felipe Lopez took exception to an inside pitch from White Sox rookie Chris Sale in the ninth, then flipped his bat in the left-hander's direction after hitting a solo home run. When Lopez crossed home plate, he and Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski jawed at each other.

"That's something you don't want to see," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Lopez throwing the bat.

Ben Zobrist drove in a run Saturday for the Rays, who mustered four hits and one run in six innings off Chicago fifth starter Philip Humber.

"It's all about playing good baseball," Maddon said. "We're just not hitting. That's why we're in such a dilemma right now."

Veteran Johnny Damon had a hit for the second straight game but is batting .107 with eight strikeouts for his new team. Damon, however, is 10 for 15 with a double and home run against scheduled White Sox starter Gavin Floyd (0-0, 5.14 ERA).

Though Damon has hit the right-hander well, Floyd is 2-1 with a 3.43 lifetime ERA versus Tampa Bay, going seven innings each time.

The White Sox (5-3) hope Floyd pitches the way he finished his first outing of the season. After giving up four runs the first two innings Tuesday, the right-hander threw five scoreless in a 7-6, 12-inning loss at Kansas City.

"I was able to bounce back, make it a somewhat respectable outing," Floyd told the White Sox's official website.

The Rays counter with Jeff Niemann (0-1, 7.50), who also looks for a complete effort after an inconsistent 2011 debut. He gave up five runs and nine hits in six innings of a 5-3 home loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.

"A positive thing is I went out there and made it out to the seventh," Niemman told the Rays' official website. "I feel like I made some good adjustments and it's some good stuff to build off."

The right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.55 ERA versus Chicago, but has allowed just three runs and struck out 12 in 16 innings to win his last two starts against the White Sox.

Pierzynski, 5 for 11 against Niemann, went 2 for 3 with two RBIs on Saturday.

Teammate Paul Konerko is 2 for 12 versus Niemann, but is batting .375 and has hit safely in all eight games this season. Konerko had driven in a run in each game this season before failing to do so Saturday.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Winter meetings trades for Cubs and White Sox

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Winter meetings trades for Cubs and White Sox

Hub Arkush (Pro Football Weekly/670 The Score) and David Schuster (670 The Score) joined David Kaplan on the SportsTalk Live panel for Thursday's show.

Baseball’s winter meetings are over. Could Rick Hahn have done more this week? Plus which closer will have a better season- current Cubs closer Wade Davis or former Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman?

How much upheaval will there be on the Bears’ coaching staff this offseason? Plus are the Bulls in slump or are we finally seeing the real team show up?

Listen to this episode of the SportsTalk Live podcast here:

Rick Hahn: White Sox 'still thoroughly, deeply engaged' in trade talks as meetings close

Rick Hahn: White Sox 'still thoroughly, deeply engaged' in trade talks as meetings close

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The White Sox have a pair of relievers to dangle and have become increasingly busier with two of three free-agent closers off the board.

Prior to leaving the Winter Meetings on Thursday, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn was asked if a pool of relievers including closer David Robertson and setup man Nate Jones had drawn much interest.

Having already traded Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, it’s believed the White Sox are willing to part with most anyone if the price is right. It sounds as if that possibility has improved after the Yankees’ late night signing of Aroldis Chapman on Wednesday, two days after the San Francisco Giants signed Mark Melancon. With only Kenley Jansen still left in free agency and due a big salary, Robertson, who has two years and $25 million left on his deal, could solve several teams’ relief needs. Jones is also a draw with potentially five years left on his current team-friendly deal, which includes two club options and one mutual option for 2021.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“We’ve had a lot of interesting conversations on a number of different fronts involving are players,” Hahn said. “And yes, we still have reliever pieces and starting pieces that are appealing to various teams throughout the league. I don’t think anything is going to happen between now and the time I go pick up my bags and head to the airport. But still thoroughly engaged, deeply engaged on a number of different fronts.”

Despite adding five pitchers and two position players through their first two moves, the White Sox still have a long list of desires. That list potentially includes a long-term starting catcher and another big bat among others.