Sox believe long-term payoff worth starting Stewart

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Sox believe long-term payoff worth starting Stewart

In the big picture, the White Sox may be better off because Zach Stewart started on Monday against the Cubs. The 25-year-old righty acquired from Toronto in last year's Edwin Jackson trade was given the start in the first game of the BP Crosstown Cup's second leg in an effort to give Chris Sale and Jake Peavy extra rest.

"We've basically had Peavy and Sale on a college schedule, pitching once every six days, once every seven days on occasion," general manager Kenny Williams explained prior to the game. "The reason why Stewart's pitching tonight, for instance, is so we can continue that and we're not taxing them."

Peavy and Sale have kept the White Sox rotation afloat for most of the season, with Jose Quintana and Gavin Floyd contributing spurts of success. Keeping the former pair fresh is a top priority, hence the decision to push both starters back.

But the short-term outcome of the decision came back to bite the Sox. Stewart gave up four homers in 5 23 innings as the White Sox lost 12-3 to the Cubs, although the Sox bullpen was responsible for half of those runs crossing the plate. The loss was the ninth the Sox have suffered in their last 13 games.

With winds gusting to 41 miles per hour during the game, Stewart had trouble keeping the ball in the park. That's been a problem for him all season, as he's allowed 10 home runs in 30 innings.

Stewart has made spot starts in the past, so he refused to use the short preparation time as a reason for his struggles.

"I've done it before. It's nothing that should have phased me too much or anything," Stewart said. "A few opportunities came about and I didn't make the pitch. They did what they were supposed to do with it."

Stewart was booed off the field, and plenty of fans took to twitter to not-so-subtly state their belief the righty should be shipped off to Triple-A. Ventura said after the game the Sox would take a look at their available pitchers tomorrow and discuss any potential roster moves then. But it may be worth noting Dylan Axelrod, who's posted a 3.18 ERA with Charlotte, made his last start June 14 and is fully rested.

One game of 162 is just a small blip on the White Sox 2012 radar. And while getting throttled by the team with the worst record in baseball certainly won't leave a good taste in anyone's mouth, it was much easier for Ventura and the Sox to stomach when looking long-term.

"That was the plan, anyway," Ventura said of getting Peavy and Sale more rest. "We weren't planning on John Danks not being able to make this start. But things happen as far as some guys being available, some guys aren't, you just gotta make it through.

"The goal is all the way through the year, keeping them as strong as they can be all the way through the year."

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

GLENDALE, Ariz. — He's a little nervous now that he has a speech to make, but Mark Buehrle is enjoying life and has no regrets about retiring from baseball.

Addressing the media for the first time since his final game on Oct. 4, 2015, Buehrle said Friday he's right where he wants to be — at home with his family. Buehrle determined 3-4 years ago he would retire after his contract expired to spend more time with his wife and kids. The pitcher, who will have his number 56 retired by the White Sox on June 24, said he didn't announce his decision to step away because he hoped to do so with much fanfare.

"I knew I was done, that I didn't have the drive any more," Buehrle said on a conference call. "I think a big part of it was missing the family, they weren't up in Toronto the whole season and I think that just kind of drained on me. The reason I didn't say anything — I didn't want all the attention. I've always told people I was a young guy that came into the big leagues unknown. Kind of snuck into the big leagues and I wanted to kind of sneak my way out. That's why I haven't said anything, I haven't talked to anybody, I just kind of let it go. Hopefully one day it was just kind of got forgotten and five years down the road, ‘Where's that Buehrle guy? Is he still around?'"

Buehrle, who won 161 games and completed 200 innings in 11 straight seasons with the White Sox, has spent the past year-plus on his Missouri farm with his wife, Jamie, and two children, "doing what I've been wanting to do for 20 years," he said. 

While he misses teammates and life in the clubhouse, Buehrle is at peace with his decision to retire after 16 seasons. He discovered when watching games last season that he didn't miss playing as much as he expected.

Buehrle joked that he doesn't want many former teammates to attend the ceremony because it means he'd have to speak in front of a larger audience. He promises to keep his speech brief, similar to the way he pitched. The left-hander even joked that he offered to allow his son to make the speech in his stead.

[RELATED: Ranking the five best games Mark Buehrle pitched with the White Sox]

Even though he's one of the most popular players in club history, Buehrle was surprised last month when the White Sox informed him of their plans. He'll be the 12th player to have his number retired by the White Sox.

"I was blown away and floored by it," Buehrle said. "It's obviously a great honor. It's something you don't really intend to happen or you don't play for that reason. You just go out there and play. I had a long, successful career there in Chicago. I just tried to do everything right and that's how I was kind of raised and how I went about it. Jerry (Reinsdorf) is kind enough to come with this offer about retiring my jersey. I really don't know.

"I've been joking around with friends saying my jersey is going to be up there next to Frank Thomas. I grew up watching this guy. It doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem like it belongs up there next to his.

"I'm going to be up there with all those numbers and it doesn't seem right, like that's where I belong. I just did what I was supposed to do, had fun with it and lived every day like it was my last. Now my number is going to be up there. I haven't really soaked everything in. It just doesn't make sense right now."

Carson Fulmer to start for White Sox in exhibition opener

Carson Fulmer to start for White Sox in exhibition opener

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox have lined up their first three starting pitchers of the spring starting with Carson Fulmer on Saturday afternoon.

The team's 2015 first-round draft pick received the nod as the White Sox open their exhibition schedule against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. CST. 

Jose Quintana pitches Sunday at home against the Colorado Rockies while Lucas Giolito is set to start at the Cubs on Monday. Fulmer — who went 0-2 with an 8.49 ERA in 11 2/3 innings in 2016 — likened the start to pitching against the Dodgers in a night game last spring in front of a sellout crowd at Camelback Ranch.

"I'm definitely honored," Fulmer said. "It's great. I feel like the coaching staff here stresses that in order to be a good player, you have to put yourself in situations that you are uncomfortable with. I'm not saying I'm uncomfortable with it but it was definitely a unique situation where I can go out there and help us win. So, spring training and the season, our goal is to win and I feel like with the coaching staff putting us young guys in that situation, I think it's going to benefit us."

[RELATED: White Sox not overly concerned about Todd Frazier's injury]

Fulmer is also excited to face his counterpart Saturday, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. 

"That's awesome," Fulmer said. "I've been watching him pitch since I was a little kid. I'm definitely pumped to see him out there. It's going to be awesome. 

"He's one of the best pitchers in baseball. I mean, he's a pitcher that you look up to and for me, it's going to be awesome. I hopefully can keep the scorecard or something."

The White Sox also announced Friday they have signed 25 players to one-year contracts, including Fulmer. Carlos Rodon's one-year deal for $600,000 is the highest of the bunch.