ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Alexei Ramirez drove in two runs and the Chicago White Sox extended their winning streak to a season-high eight games with a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.Dayan Viciedo had a run-scoring single and Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly to help Chicago take a 3-1 lead in the third. Ramirez made it 4-1 with an RBI double in the fifth.Luke Scott and Carlos Pena homered for the Rays, who have lost nine of their last 13 games at home.White Sox starter Jose Quintana was ejected by plate umpire Mark Wegner with two outs in the fourth when he threw a pitch behind Ben Zobrist at knee level. Chicago manager Robin Ventura was also tossed by Wegner for arguing.Tampa Bay right-hander Alex Cobb (2-1) hit a pair of White Sox batters - Gordon Beckham during the first and A.J. Pierzynski in the third - during the game. Pierzynski was hit with a man on second and one out.Addison Reed worked out of trouble in the ninth for his sixth save. Pena drew a leadoff walk, with pinch runner Rich Thompson advancing to second on Matt Joyce's one-out single. Zobrist and Scott then both popped out to shallow left.Pena hit a two-run homer off Nate Jones (3-0) in the sixth.Alex Rios hit a first-inning RBI single. Tampa Bay tied it at 1 on Scott's opposite-field homer to left in the second.Cobb worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second. After Alejandro De Aza hit a grounder and Beckham struck out, Adam Dunn hit a fly to center that B.J. Upton caught on the warning track.Quintana allowed one run and one hit in 3 2-3 innings. Cobb gave up four runs and nine hits over five innings.De Aza left in the sixth when he was hit near the right knee by the ball while diving back to second on J.P. Howell's pick off attempt.NOTES: Tampa Bay DH-LF Hideki Matsui was out of the lineup one day after homering in his Rays' debut. He entered in the sixth and went 0 for 2. ... Matsui will earn 615,519 from his contract with the Rays if he stays on the 40-man roster for the rest of the season. Matsui was put on the 40-man roster Tuesday, meaning he will earn 128 days of major league pay from the 183-day season. His contract lists an 880,000 salary while in the majors and a 250,000 salary while in the minors. ... White Sox LHP John Danks (strained left shoulder) threw at 60 feet on level ground and could rejoin the rotation early next week. ... Chicago 3B Brent Morel (lower back strain) is set to start a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte. ... Rays OF Desmond Jennings (sprained left knee) is scheduled to start playing in minor league rehab games Thursday.
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."
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Carlos Rodon has been scratched from Friday’s start with tightness in his upper left bicep and it could land him on the disabled list to start the 2017 season.
Though the development came as a surprise, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said that the team’s initial exam of their third-year starter was “positive” because they don’t believe he has any structural damage. But the White Sox intend to be extremely cautious with Rodon, who was headed for an MRI on Friday instead of the mound and is also likely to receive a second opinion early next week.
Rodon had been scheduled to face the Oakland A’s at Mesa, Ariz.
“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.”
Both Hahn and White Sox manager Rick Renteria admit they’ve been caught off-guard by the sequence of events. Rodon informed the White Sox he felt some tightness in his bicep on Thursday, which led to an internal examination. But it was only Wednesday when Rodon said he felt great following a Tuesday bullpen session and asked about the possibility of his first regular season start being moved up. Rodon, who had been online to make his first start on April 8, had also responded well in the aftermath of striking out five batters over four scoreless innings in his Cactus League debut at Tempe, Ariz. on Sunday.
“As far as we know right now he’s OK,” Renteria said. “From the physical, clinical tests it seems like he’s fine, but obviously he’s going to get checked up. He still wanted to pitch. I think that even talking to him yesterday or two days ago, he was feeling great. For all of us it’s a little bit of a surprise.”
Rodon requested to make his start against Oakland after the initial exam, but the team declined and opted for an MRI.
With the intent of helping him avoid the fatigue he experienced last summer and also reaching the 200-inning mark this season, the White Sox took a slow approach with Rodon this spring. Similar to how they handled Chris Sale last spring, much of Rodon’s work this February and March on back fields and in simulated games.
Rodon -- who went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA in 28 starts last season, striking out 168 batters in 165 innings -- finally debuted in the Cactus League on Sunday and flourished. Though his slow start drew some suspicion along the way as to whether or not Rodon was healthy, Hahn said his bicep issue is a total coincidence.
“I don't know if ironic is the right word, but we obviously tried to come up with a plan to keep him healthy for the long term and toward the end of this plan he expressed this discomfort yesterday,” Hahn said. “Again, he was feeling great, he was saying, with how he was coming along, with the program we had set up. Sometimes you make plans and the baseball gods laugh.”
While it’s too early to know how the length of Rodon’s absence, the White Sox have begun to develop contingency plans. The team has a few days off in April that could help them navigate through the issue, primarily on April 4 and April 10. Rodon originally was scheduled to pitch in the team’s fifth game, an April 8 home contest against Minnesota.
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Hahn suggested that despite the uncertainty he knows one tactic he won’t use is call upon one of the team’s top prospects. Reynaldo Lopez is close to major league ready and Lucas Giolito and Carson Fulmer have also already each accrued service time. But Hahn wants to avoid a taxi situation with frequent trips back and forth to the minor leagues.
He listed Saturday’s starter Dylan Covey and minor leaguers David Holmberg and Tyler Danish as among the possible replacements for Rodon.
“Our intention is to not have any player in Chicago simply because there’s a need in Chicago,” Hahn said. “It’s because they’ve answered all the questions that they have to answer developmentally at the minor league level and are ready for further development in Chicago. This is particularly true in the situation where it could just be a spot start or a few starts. None of us are inclined to potentially derail anyone’s development by moving them up and down, up and down. Our young pitchers, when the time comes for them to come to Chicago, will be guaranteed to get the ball every fifth day. We don’t have a specific plan for where it goes with Carlos, we need further examination and studies. And we don’t have a plan for how we’ll fill the void if one is created.”