LIVE: White Sox leading Rays 3-0

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LIVE: White Sox leading Rays 3-0

Thursday, April 7, 2011Posted: 9:20 AM

Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Rays keep adding to the worst start in franchise history, but insist they're not overly concerned.

Given their recent matchups when facing Edwin Jackson, the Rays might have a difficult time earning their first win of the season and spoiling the Chicago White Sox's home opener Thursday.

Tampa Bay has batted a miserable .136 and been outscored 22-7 during its 0-5 start. The Rays haven't managed more than five hits in any game and have been held to one run in four contests.

One of those lowly performances was Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Angels. B.J. Upton hit his second homer in as many games, and manager Joe Maddon held Manny Ramirez out of the lineup after he started the season 1 for 16.

"How many games have we've played? We've got plenty of time," said Ramirez, who will miss Thursday's contest against his former team for personal reasons.

Without Ramirez, the Rays are hoping to bounce back at U.S. Cellular Field, where they had a combined 22 runs and 24 hits while winning the final two of a three-game series last April.

Tampa Bay, though, is scheduled to face Jackson (1-0, 3.00 ERA), who became the third pitcher to no-hit the Rays in less than a year on June 25 while with Arizona. The right-hander, who played for Tampa Bay from 2006-08, held on for a 1-0 victory despite walking eight batters and throwing 149 pitches - the most in a nine-inning game in five seasons.

In his only other previous matchup against Tampa Bay in 2009, Jackson allowed three runs and six hits over eight innings in a 5-3 win for Detroit.

Jackson enters this game after yielding three runs and striking out seven in an 8-3 win at Cleveland on Saturday. The White Sox (3-2) seemed to give him plenty of support after batting .314 and scoring 40 runs in their first five games.

They had 18 hits during Wednesday's 10-7 win in 12 innings in Kansas City after slugger Adam Dunn underwent an emergency appendectomy Tuesday night. The designated hitter, who homered in his White Sox debut, is expected to miss at least five games.

Carlos Quentin had a go-ahead two-out double in the ninth inning before the Royals tied it, then hit another double to open the 12th. Quentin also had his second home run of the season during a four-hit afternoon.

The White Sox might not need Quentin's or Dunn's help against David Price (0-1, 5.14), who is 0-3 with a 5.00 ERA in three career matchups with Chicago. The left-hander struck out seven in Friday's season opener against Baltimore, but allowed four runs over seven innings in a 4-1 defeat.

"I felt good. But when you're going against another team's No. 1 and give up four runs, you're going to lose," said Price, who was 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA and finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2010. "I've got to get better."

After losing six of eight matchups with the White Sox in 2009, the Rays claimed last season's series by a 4-3 margin.

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White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and Miguel Gonzalez looked like a pair of pitchers who began their offseasons earlier to prep for the World Baseball Classic.

Both White Sox starting pitchers looked sharp as they made their spring debuts in a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon. Team USA relievers David Robertson and Nate Jones also pitched a scoreless inning each in the win. Prospect Zack Burdi also pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Gonzalez, who is on the Team Mexico roster, only allowed a single on a dropped pop up on the infield in two scoreless innings.

“I’m a little ahead of the game right now,” Gonzalez said. “I started a little earlier this year in the offseason to work out, thinking I wanted to go to the WBC and get ready for that. But I think the most important thing right now is getting ready for April 1 with the White Sox. That’s my goal, and you don’t get these opportunities every year. To represent Mexico, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”

Quintana, who will start for Colombia in their March 10 opener against the United States, allowed a run and a hit in two innings. He struck out one and hit a batter.

“I feel good,” Quintana said. “I think for the first day I feel comfortable. I hit the glove. I feel good. A couple of pitches spinning were good and I feel really good.”

[RELATED: Jim Thome on being a finalist for National Baseball Hall of Fame]

Robertson is throwing much earlier than normal in anticipation of his March 6 departure for Miami, where Team USA begins its tournament. The club’s closer normally wouldn’t appear in a game until the calendar turns to March. Robertson said he usually only needs 5-6 spring outings to get in shape for the regular season. Though he felt a little rusty, the right-hander was pleased with several changeups and fastballs he threw.

“I wouldn’t say it was smooth but I got through it,” Robertson said. “I had a few bad pitches that were just not competitive. … All in all I got through what seemed like a tough inning for a first outing.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to go down there and put the ‘USA’ across my chest and have a chance to win something for our country. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to play with a group of guys I’ve been playing against my whole life.”

Eddie Alvarez had a three-run double for the White Sox while Tyler Saladino collected two hits in three trips. Catcher Roberto Pena went 2-for-2 with an RBI. 

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Normally upbeat and positive, Jim Thome can’t help but beam with pride when asked about his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Thome, who blasted 612 career home runs, including 134 with the White Sox, is eligible for induction for the first time in 2018. Even though he’s expected by many to one day be voted into Cooperstown, perhaps even in his first year, Thome said he’s merely honored to be on the ballot. Thome is joined on the ballot by Chipper Jones and former teammate Omar Vizquel, among others. Voting begins in December and the results will be announced next January.

“To even be on the ballot and thought of, it would be the greatest honor I think you could get,” Thome said. “Or if you get an opportunity to go into the greatest fraternity baseball has or created, it would be indescribable. How do you ever think as a kid or a high school player or even going through the minor leagues, that you’d play at the big leagues that long? And then to get an opportunity at the end of your career to be put on the ballot is so great.

“That would be the coolest moment ever.”

Thome – who is in White Sox camp as a special assistant to the general manager – provided plenty of big moments in a career that spanned 22 seasons. He hit 30 home runs in 12 of 13 seasons between 1996-2008, leading the league with 47 in 2003. The slugger was a five-time All-Star and produced 72.9 b-Wins Above Replacement.

[RELATED: Brett Lawrie trying to clear final hurdles]

Thome isn’t as superstitious about his candidacy as others previously have been. He won’t be the guy to bring up the topic, but the Peoria, Ill.-native doesn’t shy away from discussing it, either.

“It’s not something you talk a lot about,” Thome said. “We’re not going to bring it up. But when people do bring it up, there’s a sense of pride, a sense of ‘Wow, baseball has thought that highly to put you on the ballot.’ And the fact that there’s just this wonderful fraternity of incredible players that you could be a part of, if you’re chosen.”