White Sox hoping for consistency out of Floyd

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White Sox hoping for consistency out of Floyd

If there's a telling stat from Gavin Floyd's 2012 season, it's this: The right-hander led the White Sox in starts of at least six scoreless innings (6), but tied for the team lead for starts with five or more earned runs allowed (7).

For the most part, that up-and-down nature has dogged Floyd for the last four seasons. The results have been remarkably consistent, though: His ERA has never been below 4.06 or above 4.37, and he's thrown between 168 and 193 23 innings from 2009-2012.

Another constant for Floyd, who turns 30 on Sunday, has been seeing his name thrown around in trade rumors. The whispers reached such a cacophony last winter that someone created a website IsGavinFloydABlueJay.com, offering nothing more than a "yes" or "no" prompt.

While Floyd didn't go so far as to visit that URL, he hasn't been able to completely block out the noise.

"It goes in waves. Sometimes I pay attention to it, and sometimes I don't," Floyd said. "Anytime you're not sure if you're going to be with the same team that you were last year, you think about it. Ultimately, if it's going to happen, it's going to happen. You really can't ponder too much about it."

Floyd, had his 9.5 million option for 2013 picked up last October, so the upcoming season represents a true contract year. But he said he's not setting any specific ambitions for what may be his final season with the White Sox.

"I've run through so many different goals and stuff like that, I've learned over time that you just gotta live in the present and only try to focus on today," Floyd said. "How am I going to better myself, whether it's working out, looking at video and getting ready for each start. If I could just simplify it, it'll put me in the best position to be successful or consistent."

While Floyd was encouraged by the results following some late-season tweaks, there still were blips. Before throwing seven shutout innings to end the season in Cleveland, Floyd issued five walks in five innings against Tampa Bay. He bookended 7 23 shutout innings against Toronto with starts in which he walked 11 and gave up six runs in 11 23 innings.

Still, Floyd's overall body of work hasn't dipped below league average, as general manager Rick Hahn -- citing Floyd's WAR -- pointed out. But given Floyd's ceiling, those pitfalls are often what's focused on when examining his numbers.

"You can see him throw seven, eight innings of no-hit caliber ball, and then there will be some shorter outings where he gets blown up a little bit," Hahn said. "When you have that kind of stuff, when you have the ability to throw that length of shutout and quality outings, we know that's in there."

That consistency is what's been missing during Floyd's tenure with the White Sox, but he's hoping that going into 2013 without putting any pressure on himself will lead to the results his team is looking for.

"You just try to have a clear mind and ignore whatever just happened, just keep grinding it out and push because you know things will turn around," Floyd said.

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."

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The leading candidate to be the team’s starting center fielder, Charlie Tilson has been temporarily shut down after suffering a stress reaction in his right foot.

The White Sox rookie said Sunday that he noticed the injury gradually building up before he decided to stop his workout on Friday and headed for the training room. An MRI performed Saturday on Tilson -- who is rehabbing from a torn left hamstring that ended his 2016 season early -- revealed the reaction, which isn’t severe as a stress fracture. Given Tilson previously had a stress fracture in his right foot, the White Sox said he'll be sidelined from impact work for 10 days, at which point he’d be re-evaluated.

“It started very minimal, and I tried to work through it a little bit, and by the time I addressed Herm, thankfully I caught it before it was anything that would keep me out for too long,” Tilson said. “It’s a minor thing, and it will give my other leg a chance to get stronger in the meantime, and hopefully we’ll turn this negative into a positive.”

Tilson wouldn’t be surprised if his injury is related to overcompensating for his left leg, which he has worked tirelessly to rehab since he suffered the injury on Aug. 2 and then had season-ending surgery. Manager Rick Renteria described it as an “irritation” in the area where Tilson suffered a stress fracture in 2013. In the interim, the White Sox will test some of their other options in camp, including veteran Peter Bourjos and minor leaguers Adam Engel and Jacob May, among others.

“But we don’t foresee it to be a long-term issue,” Renteria said. “By being able to shut him down now, it’ll be something he’ll be able to recover from. We’ll just readjust his timetable.”

Minor as Tilson and the White Sox say it is, the outfielder admitted he’s down about having to deal with it after the progress he’d made in his rehab.

The White Sox acquired the New Trier High School product from the St. Louis Cardinals last July in exchange for left-hander Zach Duke. Tilson was immediately called up as the White Sox intended to try him out in center field the rest of the season. But he suffered a season-ending injury in his major league debut while tracking down a fly ball and had surgery several days later.

Tilson made enough progress to be a full participant in a hitter’s camp at Camelback Ranch last month. Earlier this week, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Tilson was a top candidate to take over as the club’s starting center fielder if he was healthy.

“I guess you could say I’m disappointed,” Tilson said. “But it’s a very minor setback and it’s part of the process. I had a major repair, and these things come up and hopefully we can minimize them as much as we can and hopefully this is the last one. But I’m just going to deal with it and do whatever I can to move forward.”