Peavy, Sox topped by Tigers


Peavy, Sox topped by Tigers

DETROIT -- Jake Peavy was given an early lead on Friday night but couldnt manage it.Handed the same later, Justin Verlander didnt relinquish his.The Detroit Tigers rallied from an early deficit and their ace took advantage of two Peavy mistakes in a 4-2 victory in front of 44,572 at Comerica Park.The White Sox lost their third straight contest and now lead the Tigers by a half-game in the American League Central. Chris Sale faces Rick Porcello at 3:10 p.m. on Saturday.Peavy (7-7) nearly pitched his way out of trouble in the bottom of the third inning.Leading 2-0, the All-Star yielded a double and a single to start the inning before Austin Jackson grounded into a double play. But a 1-0 pitch to Quintin Berry got away and struck him to put runners on the corners for the heart of Detroits lineup.Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young made Peavy pay a heavy price with a pair of RBI singles and an RBI double to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.Peavy only made one more critical mistake in a 122-pitch effort as his seventh-inning balk allowed Jhonny Peralta to move into scoring position. Jackson later singled him in as Detroit went ahead 4-2.The support was plenty for Verlander, who improved as he worked his way into the game. The White Sox struck the All-Star Game starter early as Alejandro De Aza -- who also walked and singled -- crushed a 3-2 offering from Verlander (11-5) for a two-run homer in the third inning for a 2-0 lead.From there, however, Verlander set down 16 of the last 18 batters he faced. Verlander started the eighth inning as he blew a 98-mph fastball past Alexei Ramirez for a called third strike. He also struck out Kevin Youkilis, who returned to the lineup after he sat out Thursdays game with a tight left hamstring, three times.Jose Valverde pitched a perfect ninth inning to close out the victory for Verlander, who made 122 pitches.Peavy was outstanding to start.He struck out the side in the first inning and whiffed the first five batters he faced. Following his 31-pitch third inning, Peavy got back on track. He set down 11 in a row until Peraltas one-out single in the seventh inning.Donnie Veal struck out the only two batters he faced in his White Sox debut.

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Giovanni Soto pitched to Geovany Soto at White Sox camp on Monday morning, and the Internet loved it.

The veteran catcher and rookie pitcher, who share similar names and have been friends for two years, worked together during live batting practice. The unrelated pair, who both hail from Puerto Rico, said they’ve been confused for each other several times since reporting to camp last week. Each has also heard the other’s name being called out and thought it was for them, which has led to more confusion. But those mix-ups haven’t limited their enjoyment of the situation, either.

“It’s kind of surreal that he has the same name, last name,” Geovany Soto said. “It’s kind of weird calling him Gio and he’s calling me Geo. It’s kind of weird.

“With the physicals, doctors, the people for the drug testing, we’ve been confused in all three of those. I’m expecting that to happen. Hopefully I can get a big check on his name and cash it.”

The social media world isn’t alone in its enjoyment of the topic as both players smiled while discussing it on Monday.

Giovanni Soto said the players met two seasons ago when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians and the catcher was in his first stint with the White Sox. They grew up about 20 minutes apart from each other in Puerto Rico and now spend time together in the offseason. But what has made the scenario even more confusing is that White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito is seated only a few stalls away from Giovanni Soto in the clubhouse.

“It’s kind of weird, especially in the clubhouse and on the field because when someone says Geo, we turn around to see if it’s for him or for me,” Giovanni Soto said. “And we also have Giolito, and people call him Gio. It’s weird, but it’s funny too.”

Both Sotos could make the team’s Opening Day roster.

Geovany Soto, who signed a minor league contract in January, is the most experienced catcher in camp and is favored to win a job. Giovanni Soto, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs in November, is one of several relievers competing for a spot and could make the club if the White Sox decide to carry two left-handers in the bullpen. And while Giolito is expected to start the season at Triple-A, he could reach the majors at some point causing more pandemonium.

“There’s a lot of Geo going on with Giolito, Giovanni and then me,” Geovany Soto said. “And can get pretty hectic. But yeah, it’s fun for us.”

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."