Santiago, White Sox fall to A's in 14th

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Santiago, White Sox fall to A's in 14th

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Yoenis Cespedes' timely hitting decided countless games at every level of baseball back home in Cuba.Doing it at as a first-year major leaguer means so much to the young Oakland Athletics.With two of the American League's top pitching teams dueling it out for a third straight day, Kila Ka'aihue blooped a winning single in the 14th inning soon after Cespedes' tying two-run homer, and the A's rallied past the Chicago White Sox 5-4 on Wednesday."Yoenis is coming up in that situation and he's grinding hard every pitch, every out," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "(It was) more perseverance than anything else, because it seemed like in the middle of the game nobody was going to score for a while."He was right. Both clubs missed chances and the game kept going.Josh Reddick hit a one-out single in the 14th, then Cespedes delivered his fifth homer of the season against Hector Santiago (0-1) after Chicago took the lead in the top half of the 14th. Ka'aihue came through with the big hit in a game that lasted 3 hours, 56 minutes."You relish that, you look forward to it when you're taking your BP and your work," Ka'aihue said. "You prepare to get that big hit. You don't work on grounding out and flying out. It wasn't the hardest ball I've hit in my life. It won the game for the team, that's all that counts."
Jim Miller (1-0) struck out Brent Lillibridge for his first major league win after being called up earlier in the day.Alexei Ramirez hit a go-ahead two-run double with two outs in the top of the 14th.Paul Konerko hit his 400th career home run to tie the game at 2 in the Chicago ninth.The round numbers, everybody likes the round numbers. When it comes to that kind of stuff, I think when I'm done playing and look back, that's when it might hit home more.The game featured "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" twice, along with a 14th-inning stretch.After a pair of gems from Chicago starters this trip - Phil Humber's perfect game Saturday at Seattle, then Jake Peavy's three-hit shutout Monday - this day became about the terrific White Sox bullpen until Oakland finally got to the relievers.Konerko sent the first pitch from A's closer Grant Balfour onto the left-field steps to start the ninth. Konerko became the fourth player in franchise history to reach the milestone 400 or 500 mark while wearing a White Sox uniform, joining Frank Thomas, Jim Thome and Andruw Jones."Everybody likes the round numbers," Konerko said. "When it comes to that kind of stuff, I think when I'm done playing and look back, that's when it might hit home more. But when you're in the middle of the grind and you're grinding every day and working, you tend not to think about that stuff, and you probably shouldn't."It looked as if the White Sox would take this one after scoring two unearned runs in the top of the 14th.But Cespedes showed why the A's gave him a 36 million, four-year contract."I was lucky enough to hit home runs to decide games. This was not the first time," Cespedes said. "The team is a very young team, but the way we play together we're going to get very far this season."Dayan Viciedo reached on third baseman Eric Sogard's fielding error and Brent Morel sacrificed him to second. Eduardo Escobar flied out and Alejandro De Aza walked before Miller relieved Jerry Blevins to face Ramirez.The A's saved themselves in the 13th with a two pretty defensive plays. Catcher Kurt Suzuki caught pinch-runner Lillibridge well off second base, then shortstop Cliff Pennington chased down Alex Rios' double that skipped into the Oakland bullpen and made a quick throw to Sogard, who then relayed to Suzuki just in time to get a sliding Gordon Beckham.Konerko's fourth homer of the year spoiled an impressive A's debut by Jarrod Parker, who struck out five in 6 1-3 innings following his call-up from Triple-A Sacramento.Home plate umpire Jerry Layne took a foul from Escobar off the left shoulder in the fifth and was briefly examined by the A's training staff before staying in the game. Layne returned to the box and playfully grabbed Escobar's bat and jokingly pretending to swing it.NOTES: Already without LF Coco Crisp because of a lingering illness, the A's had Luke Hughes set to start at 3B before he arrived at the ballpark with a 102-degree temperature and couldn't play. ... Teri McKeever, head swim coach at Cal and coach of this summer's Olympic women's team in London, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

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Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."

Carlos Rodon slated for MRI, could start season on disabled list with bicep tightness

Carlos Rodon slated for MRI, could start season on disabled list with bicep tightness

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carlos Rodon was scratched from a Friday start with tightness in his upper left bicep, and it could land him on the disabled list to start the 2017 season.

General manager Rick Hahn said on Friday that the team's initial exam of their third-year starter was "positive." But the White Sox intend to be extremely cautious with Rodon, who is headed to have an MRI instead of starting against the Oakland A's in Mesa. Hahn said Rodon also is likely to have a second opinion early next week.

"We're going to err on the side of caution here, even if it winds up costing him his first couple starts because we're slowing down the schedule now by scratching him," Hahn said. "It's too early to speculate how long we're going to be without Carlos. I hate to speculate, but since we are slowing down his schedule by having him miss the start today, the odds are probably that he starts the season on the DL. But again we'll know more after he takes his further exams."

Rodon informed the White Sox he felt some tightness in his bicep on Thursday, at which point they examined him. The team's exam suggested Rodon has no structural damage, Hahn said.

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Free of worry, Rodon requested to make his start against Oakland, but the team declined and opted for a second opinion. Zach Putnam will start and pitch one inning instead.

With the intent of helping him reach the 200-inning mark this season, the White Sox took a slower route with Rodon this spring, similar to the way they handled Chris Sale last year.

Rodon went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA in 28 starts last season, striking out 168 batters in 165 innings.

Rodon has done most of his work this February and March on back fields and in simulated games. He made his first Cactus League appearance against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday and struck out five in four scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and walked one.

Hahn said the injury could land Rodon on the DL to start the season as the White Sox intend to make sure the left-hander is healthy and prepared to return.