Chicago White Sox

Fukudome hitting the reset button with Sox

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Fukudome hitting the reset button with Sox

The White Sox wanted Kosuke Fukudome when the Japanese outfielder was supposed to be the next big thing.

Fukudome never lived up to the hype that came with the four-year, 48 million contract he signed before the 2008 season. He made the All-Star Game and the cover of Sports Illustrated, but didnt develop into the player the Cubs envisioned.

That miscalculation was readjusted on Tuesday, when the White Sox announced they had signed Fukudome to a one-year, 1 million deal. He will earn 500,000 this season, while the 3.5 million club option for 2013 includes a 500,000 buyout.

This time the White Sox arent looking for a game-changer, and at this price wont come to regret the decision.

Theyre getting low-cost insurance against Dayan Viciedo and Alex Rios underperforming. Manager Robin Ventura will be getting a left-handed bat to play matchups, a plus defender in center and right field and a professional who wont make waves in the clubhouse.

Its a little different scenario four years ago than it is today, obviously, assistant general manager Rick Hahn said. We felt we were a little unbalanced heading into the season and Kosuke has a track record of performing well against right-handed pitchers and giving you a quality at-bat.

We have another alternative to mix into the lineup on certain days (who) can potentially spell Viciedo or Rios if either of them struggle or need a breather. (Hes) a guy who can get on base and play some quality defense for us.

Fukudome, who will turn 35 in April, seemed to understand much more than he let on, and he was still able to show a sly sense of humor, even through an interpreter. When the Cubs traded Fukudome to the Indians last summer, he was asked what he knew about Cleveland: I know there is a lake.

The Cubs still had to kick in almost 4 million and received two marginal prospects, saving just under 1 million in the deal. By then, the huge press corps that had been following Fukudome dwindled to one traveling beat writer.

But its not a surprise that Fukudome wants to stay in this city, even in a diminished role. His family was said to enjoy living in Chicago and having access to its strong Japanese community. He had also purchased a condo overlooking Lake Shore Drive.

The streaky Fukudome never hit more than 13 homers or drove in more than 58 runs in a single season with the Cubs. After last years trade, he hit .249 in 59 games with the Indians. He has a career .361 on-base percentage.

Fukudome represented his country at the Olympics (1996, 2004) and the World Baseball Classic (2006, 2009), and the Cubs certainly werent alone in going hard after the Japanese star.

It cannot be a direct comparison, because they have been described as different types of outfielders, but it was a coincidence that this deal came together roughly 24 hours after Yoenis Cespedes reportedly agreed to a four-year, 36 million deal with the Oakland As.

Its probably worth remembering that the Cuban defector will face some of the same challenges and adjustments that Fukudome experienced at the major-league level. That could have happened in a White Sox uniform, if those negotiations had gone another way.

We were in the mix until the end, Hahn recalled. We were in fairly consistent contact with him right up until the time he made the decision, which obviously didnt go our way. We were aggressive, (but) he decided to go with the opportunity on the North Side. It happens from time to time.

Tim Anderson wanted chance to lift White Sox to victory

Tim Anderson wanted chance to lift White Sox to victory

Tim Anderson has dealt with so many teachable moments this season that an enjoyable one was long overdue.

It arrived in the form of several freezing cold Gatorade showers late Wednesday night following the first walkoff hit of the White Sox shortstop’s career. Grinding through the final six weeks of a sophomore slump, Anderson shook off three hitless at-bats to single in the game-winning run and set off a raucous celebration as the White Sox topped the Minnesota Twins 4-3 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Anderson’s game-winner off Twins reliever Trevor Hildenberger was set up an inning earlier when rookie Yoan Moncada doubled in the tying run while batting right-handed against Taylor Rogers.

“I think it’s a big lift,” Renteria said. “We were talking about how they were trying to be able to do something with the secondary pitches. Obviously, they did both. Obviously, it’s a confidence builder, both of them getting big hits, one to tie and one to go ahead. We were sitting in there today in the last at-bat going, ‘Man, we really want this for Timmy right here.’ Big situation, see how he does and fortunately he was able to get it through the infield.”

Renteria and the coaching staff weren’t the only ones who wanted to see how Anderson would fare in the moment. The second-year player had a sense from the dugout how it all would play out after Avisail Garcia led off the inning with a single to right field. Renteria had Kevan Smith bunt Garcia into scoring position, which led to an intentional walk of Yolmer Sanchez. Sanchez’s free pass brought up Anderson, who had one hit in his last 20 at-bats, including a bases-loaded strikeout in Tuesday’s loss.

“I wanted that moment,” Anderson said.

Before the game, Anderson had a lengthy conversation in the tunnel between the clubhouse and the dugout with hitting coach Todd Steverson. Anderson said much of the discussion surrounded his season and the ways he could benefit from everything he has endured.

Anderson struggled early this season and then battled some more as he dealt with the sudden death of close friend Branden Moss, who was killed in May while trying to help an assault victim. With the help of a counselor, Anderson began to rebound in August, posting a .976 OPS in the first 16 games of the month.

He followed that with another downturn that carried into Wednesday’s game.

“We really were just figuring out who I am and kind of learning from this year,” Anderson said of his discussion with Steverson. “Talking overall about everything that has been going on this year and kind of how I’m maturing as a hitter, just to really get better.”

Anderson shook off three hitless at-bats when he stepped up in the ninth. He had struck out on three pitches in the third inning before, grounded out in the fifth and popped out on the first pitch he saw with the tying run aboard in the seventh.

But Anderson made sure none of that mattered in the ninth.

After he took a first-pitch changeup for a ball, Anderson ripped Hildenberger’s next offering, which caught too much of the plate, into the hole. Running all the way, Garcia raced home and scored when Eddie Rosario’s throw went offline. White Sox players then chased down Anderson and Jose Abreu dropped a full bucket of Gatorade on Anderson’s head with the help of Sanchez, who held him in place.

“I put the first three at-bats behind me and came up big,” Anderson said. “It was an exciting moment. I’m going to enjoy it and wear it until tomorrow.”

Ditto for Moncada, who produced only his second extra-base hit from the right side all season long. While Moncada entered the contest with an .886 OPS against right-handed pitching, he had just a .327 OPS against southpaws. But Moncada took advantage of Leury Garcia’s one-out double even after he fell behind in the count 0-2. Moncada worked the count even, fouled off a fastball and then ripped a curve from Rogers inside the third-base line to tie the game.

“I like the pressure,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “I like being in some at-bats with the game on the line, because that’s something that you can change the course of the game. I like to be that guy, and I like to be the guy to help to win games. I like to get those chances.”

WATCH: Tim Anderson records first career walk-off hit in White Sox win over Twins

WATCH: Tim Anderson records first career walk-off hit in White Sox win over Twins

Wednesday night featured another edition of #RICKYSBOYSDONTQUIT, and a rally unicorn!

Tim Anderson completed the White Sox comeback by recording his first career walk-off hit — a single — in a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.

With the White Sox trailing 3-2 in the eighth inning, Yoan Moncada tied the game with an RBI double.

In the ninth, Avisail Garcia opened the inning with a single. Kevan Smith's sac bunt moved Garcia to second and Yolmer Sanchez was intentionally walked. 

With two on and one out, Anderson hit a grounder past the shortstop and the 26-year-old All-Star got on his high horse to come around and score, securing the White Sox 49th win of the season.

The comeback actually started with the presence of a rally unicorn, when the South Siders were down 3-2 in the eighth.

Hands down, the rally unicorn beats any rally animal.

And get that girl some season tickets, White Sox.