White Sox bullpen locks down Dodgers to claim victory

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White Sox bullpen locks down Dodgers to claim victory

LOS ANGELES -- Alexei Ramirez opened the scoring with a two-run single and scored the go-ahead run for the Chicago White Sox, who blew a lead to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second straight game before coming back to beat them 5-4 on Saturday night.Philip Humber (3-4) threw 99 pitches over five laborious innings, but got the victory after allowing four runs and nine hits. The right-hander, one of 22 pitchers to throw a perfect game in the majors and the only one to do it after undergoing Tommy John surgery, is 2-4 with a 7.47 ERA in 10 starts since his gem on April 21 at Seattle.Addison Reed, the sixth Chicago pitcher, posted his eighth save in as many chances with a perfect ninth to help end a three-game skid by the AL Central leaders.Chad Billingsley (4-5) was charged with five runs and eight hits in six innings before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter. The right-hander was coming off consecutive road victories against Philadelphia and Seattle in which he allowed a run over seven innings each time. Before that, he went a career-worst nine straight starts without a win, including five no-decisions.After blowing a four-run lead, the White Sox went back in front 5-4 in the fourth with an unearned run. Ramirez was plunked on the left elbow after he squared around to bunt, then stole second and advanced when second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. misplayed Orlando Hudson's grounder for an error. Ramirez scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Alejandro De Aza.The Dodgers, whose 41-25 record is still the best in baseball, threatened in the bottom of the fourth after Billingsley led off with his second single of the game - and Los Angeles' final hit. Humber walked NL RBI leader Andre Ethier with two outs, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch that sailed over Hairston's head as catcher A.J. Pierzynski set up his target on the outside corner. But shortstop Ramirez came to Humber's rescue with a diving catch in front of second base on a popup that Hairston hit off the fists.The White Sox made the most of their opportunity in the second, taking a 3-0 lead on a two-run single by Ramirez and a run-scoring single down the right field line by Humber - his first major league hit.Alex Rios made it 4-0 in the third with a two-out RBI triple that was misjudged at the warning track by Elian Herrera, who was starting in center field for only the fifth time since making his major league debut on May 15.But the Dodgers tied it with four runs in the bottom half, getting a bases-loaded sacrifice fly from Hairston and two-out RBI singles by Bobby Abreu, A.J. Ellis and James Loney. In Friday night's series-opening 7-6 victory, the Dodgers overcame a 5-1 deficit with a five-run sixth.Box score
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Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — If Carlos Rodon starts on the disabled list as expected, the White Sox won't turn to any of their vaunted top prospects in the interim.

The news on Rodon has been encouraging so far as no structural damage has been discovered. Still, the White Sox won't clear Rodon until after he receives a second opinion on Monday. While the length of Rodon's absence won't be determined for several days, the White Sox are certain of one route they won't take — they don't want to disrupt the development of their young starting pitchers. Were a DL trip for Rodon necessary, the White Sox would likely select either Saturday's starter, Dylan Covey, or minor leaguer David Holmberg over their top prospects. Covey made a strong impression on Saturday afternoon with 3 2/3 scoreless innings pitched and the White Sox rallied for a 10-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark.

"When you have an opportunity to stabilize action or movement for players it serves them better," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "They get a little more comfortable where they're at. They get comfortable with the staffs they're working with and the information they're gathering, being in a routine. It is a little disruptive going from team to team to team. It happens, but it's not the most conducive (to learning)."

The White Sox are all about development this season. Therefore, they have no plans to call upon Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer or Michael Kopech unless they're A) ready and B) throwing every fifth day in Chicago. Renteria's comments Saturday reiterated Rick Hahn's earlier message, saying the club doesn't want to disrupt the development path.

That puts Covey, a Rule 5 draft pick in December, with a decent opportunity to make the club out of camp. Covey commanded the strike zone on Saturday only hours after Renteria said he hoped to see the young right-hander replicate an Arizona Fall League performance that initially warmed the White Sox up to him.

Aside from a two-out walk in his final inning, Covey was sharp the whole way. He allowed three hits and struck out three.

"My last couple of outings I was definitely feeling the stress," Covey said. "I was kind of pitching a little passive, pitching to not make a mistake instead of just going right after guys. So today and yesterday I just thought I'm just going to throw every pitch with conviction and see what happens. I got a lot of weak contact today and some swings and misses, so I felt good."

Covey threw 44 pitches, 27 for strikes. He potentially could stay in Arizona on Thursday and make an additional minor league start to build arm strength, which would get him to roughly 60 pitches before the regular seasons started.

The White Sox don't officially need a fifth starter until April 9 and they're off the following day. That break could allow the White Sox to start Covey as part of a bullpen day. Covey said he recently changed his mindset after lackluster results in relief this spring. The right-hander has a 6.94 ERA this spring in 11 2/3 innings.

"Obviously my last two outings out of the pen I wasn't getting crushed, but I just wasn't commanding the ball or commanding the count as much as I would like to be," Covey said. "The mistakes get hit a little harder when you're falling behind in the count. Today I wanted to have the mindset of attacking hitters, throwing everything down in the zone and going right after them, and it worked out."

The White Sox blasted six home runs in the contest, including a majestic, go-ahead grand slam by first baseman Danny Hayes in the top of the ninth inning. Hayes is hitting .351/.400/.595 with two homers and is tied for the team lead with 13 RBIs this spring. Jose Abreu, Nick Delmonico, Cody Asche, Everth Cabrera and Jacob May also homered for the White Sox. 

White Sox: Carlos Rodon feels reassured after clean MRI

White Sox: Carlos Rodon feels reassured after clean MRI

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While he still has a second opinion ahead and is likely to start 2017 on the disabled list, a clean MRI has Carlos Rodon feeling relieved after a bizarre Thursday.

The White Sox pitcher described Saturday the strange experience he’s had the past few days dealing with soreness in his left bicep.

In the span of 48 hours, Rodon -- who will receive a second opinion on Monday -- went from feeling good enough after a midweek bullpen session to request that his first start be moved up to likely landing on the DL. As he prepares to navigate the rehab process, Rodon is more at ease after an MRI on Friday showed no structural damage.

“(Thursday) was a weird day for me,” Rodon said. “I wasn’t very happy with it. I got that checked out, trying to figure it out.

“I feel better. It’s reassuring.”

“(Your arm is) your tool. It’s concerning. But that’s why you go get those things checked out and make sure everything is ok. That’s what we did.”

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Rodon, who went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 165 innings in 2016, has one more checkup before he’s all clear. He travels to Los Angeles on Monday for an appointment with Dr. Neal ElAttrache. General manager Rick Hahn said Friday that a second opinion is “protocol.”

Though he has already been reassured -- the club’s diagnosis was he had no structural issues after a physical exam and then the clean MRI -- Rodon wouldn’t mind more confirmation. The left-hander said he hadn’t experienced the kind of tightness he suddenly felt in his biceps tendon before Thursday. He could lift his arm above his head, but Rodon said his stuff wasn’t the same. After he informed them, the White Sox determined to be cautious.

“It’s pretty tight up there,” Rodon said. “I’ve never really been that tight. I couldn’t really step on some balls I wanted to throw to get that arm going. So, I had to get it checked out. It didn’t feel too good.”

The White Sox already had Rodon on a delayed schedule where he needed to hit every mark to be ready for the regular season. They did so in hopes of helping him avoid the fatigue he experienced last summer and also reaching the 200-inning mark this season. Now it appears Rodon will begin the season on the DL, according to Hahn.

Though he’d like to start the season on schedule, Rodon wants to make sure he’s physically good to go.

“Just trying to be healthy man,” Rodon said. “You don’t want to go the start of the season and be behind the best guys. You are a tick down from the best guys in the world. It’s not fun pitching when you are not feeling too good. I want to be 100 percent when I’m out there. That gives our team the best chance of winning.”