Previewing 2012 SoxFest

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Previewing 2012 SoxFest

When SoxFest will kick off Friday at 4 p.m. with the opening ceremonies (streamed LIVE on Comcast SportsNet and CSNChicago.com) under much different circumstances than a year ago. Gone are longtime figures Ozzie Guillen and Mark Buehrle. Gone are key pieces in Sergio Santos and Carlos Quentin. And, judging by the general mood of supporters, gone is the optimism of the fanbase.

But, with all of those people and feelings gone, an opportunity to win back some goodwill presents itself. Robin Ventura has his first real chance to interact with fans. Adam Dunn and the Sox made a smart move to make him available at SoxFest, where he's sure to face some tough questions.

Kenny Williams will be hit with questions regarding the team's direction -- rebuilding, retooling, or contenting? Jake Peavy will entertain comments about his health, while Gordon Beckham will be asked about his progress in putting the last two years behind him.

Everybody will be asked about Guillen, which hopefully will stand as the last time any of the players has to answer a question regarding their former manager. And everybody will be asked about Prince Fielder, perhaps to the extent of whether the Sox should even bother to play baseball this year.

Some questions will be fair, and plenty will be unfair. That's the nature of these things.

It'll be great to see some members of the 2005 World Series team making an appearance, from Joe Crede and Frank Thomas to Neal Cotts, Pablo Ozuna, Cliff Politte and Chris Widger. While plenty of panels should leave fans feeling pleased, none will accomplish that more than the '05 World Series memories ones.

There probably won't be any major announcements, like a free agent signing or a trade. There really aren't any free agents the Sox could easily announce -- maybe Yoenis Cespedes, although that's a longshot -- and a fan convention is no time to announce a trade of your presumptive closer or mid-rotation starter for prospects.

The Sox generally put on a good event, and I know I'll enjoy milling around, thinking about baseball during the end of January.

Stay with White Sox Talk on CSNChicago.com and Comcast SportsNet for complete coverage of all of this weekend's activities from the Palmer House Hilton.

Is it time for the White Sox to call up Reynaldo Lopez?

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USA TODAY

Is it time for the White Sox to call up Reynaldo Lopez?

With Yoan Moncada now with the White Sox and making an early impact, White Sox fans may be wondering which highly-touted prospect is next to join the big league roster.

Reynaldo Lopez is certainly making a strong case for himself in Triple-A Charlotte. Lopez, one of the pitchers the Sox received from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade, gave up one run in six innings for the Knights on Friday night. That was the latest in a string of five strong starts for the 23-year-old.

In Friday's 2-1 loss against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, Lopez struck out six and allowed just two hits and one walk. That's five straight starts for Lopez in which he has allowed two or fewer runs while pitching six or more innings.

Here's his last five starts:

June 29 vs. Columbus: 6 2/3 innings, 1 run, 11 strikeouts, 1 walk, 6 hits

July 4 at Durham: 6 innings, 1 run, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 5 hits

July 9 at Louisville: 6 innings, 2 runs, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk, 7 hits

July 16 vs. Gwinnett: 7 innings, 1 run, 12 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 hist

Tonight at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: 6 innings, 1 run, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 hits

Loepz has a 3.65 ERA on the season with 107 strikeouts in 106 innings against 40 walks and 90 hits. In a short stint in the majors last season, Lopez had a 4.91 ERA in 44 innings in six starts and five relief appearances for the Nationals.

Does Guaranteed Rate Field await the Dominican right-hander?

White Sox minor league trade could signal more big league moves to come

White Sox minor league trade could signal more big league moves to come

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- What may appear at face value to be a deal for pitching depth could be a precursor of more White Sox trades to come.

The White Sox acquired Triple-A relief pitchers Mark Lowe and Jean Machi from the Tacoma Rainiers (Seattle Mariners) on Friday night. While the move merely could be to add bullpen arms to a system short on them after trades and injuries have depleted their depth, the White Sox could also be preparing themselves for the next wave of moves. David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle may be gone.

But the White Sox still possess a strong rental reliever in veteran Anthony Swarzak and left-hander Dan Jennings could also draw interest even though his 4.05 ERA is the highest he’d had since coming to the White Sox.

“We are still open for business,” general manager Rick Hahn said on Tuesday night. “We’re starting to get a little younger in that clubhouse. A few guys are starting to get opportunities over the next few weeks and months. It will be interesting to see. If we don’t do anything over the next couple weeks we’ll have a better assessment of where we are heading into the off-season, perhaps set some things up for them.”

A free agent in the offseason, Swarzak has a 2.45 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 44 innings this season. Jennings has a career 2.94 ERA in 278 games.

Lowe has spent the entire season at Tacoma. He has a 4.22 ERA in 382 career games in the majors. Machi has a 3.38 ERA in 194 games in the bigs and has pitched for San Francisco, Boston and Seattle. He had a 3.44 ERA in 29 games at Tacoma.

The White Sox intend to have Tyler Clippard work as their closer after the departures of Robertson and Kahnle, manager Rick Renteria said.

Hahn has already been extremely busy this month, making a pair of deals that netted seven prospects and Clippard. He dealt Jose Quintana to the Cubs on July 13 for four prospects and traded Robertson, Kahnle and Todd Frazier to the Yankees on Tuesday.