White Sox try to snap losing skid, face Rays

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White Sox try to snap losing skid, face Rays

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 10:45 a.m.

(AP) -- Tampa Bay has turned things around after a dismal start. Leading the way has been surprising Sam Fuld.

Fuld looks to extend his hot stretch when the Rays continue their four-game series against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.

In parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Fuld never made much of an impact with 33 hits in 131 at-bats (.252). Traded to Tampa Bay (7-9) in January as part of the deal for Matt Garza, Fuld is leading the Rays with a .396 average and showing impressive range in the outfield.

He had another big game Monday, going 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored as Tampa Bay defeated Chicago (7-9) 5-0 for its sixth win in seven games following a 1-8 start.

READ: Diving Rays drive White Sox downward

David Price pitched four-hit ball over eight innings and Felipe Lopez and Ben Zobrist each homered. Zobrist's home run capped a three-run first.

After scoring eight total runs during a season-opening six-game losing streak, the Rays have averaged 5.6 runs during their 6-1 surge. Fuld is 16 for 31 during that seven-game stretch.

Fuld's hot streak helped carry an offense that on Monday was without designated hitter Johnny Damon, who sat out with a bruised left ring finger. He hopes to play later this week. Center fielder B.J. Upton (rest) and first baseman Dan Johnson (sore left wrist) were also out of the lineup.

Price was too much for the slumping White Sox, who have dropped five straight while batting .199 and scoring 11 runs. They struck out 11 times Monday, including three by Alex Rios, whose average dropped to .203. Adam Dunn, batting 2 for 23 the last six games, was given the night off against the left-handed Price.

"We know we're going to hit," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I don't worry about that."

READ: Peavy's 'discomfort' sets return back

The losing streak is Chicago's longest since an eight-game skid Sept. 14-21.

James Shields (0-1, 3.98 ERA) will look to keep the Rays rolling as he seeks his first win since Aug. 29 against Boston. The right-hander is 0-5 with a 6.19 ERA over nine starts since, three this season.

Shields, though, is coming off a second strong start in 2011. He allowed two runs and nine hits in seven innings of a 4-3, 10-inning win over Minnesota on Thursday. The Rays didn't score while he was on the mound for the second time this season.

The offense bailed him out after he struggled at Chicago on April 8, yielding five runs and eight hits, including three homers, over six innings of a 9-7 victory.

Alexei Ramirez is 6 for 15 with two homers against Shields while Mark Teahen is hitting .385 with two home runs in 26 at-bats.

Sox Drawer: Look out for the Indians (and Orlando Cabrera)

John Danks (0-1, 3.15), who opposed Shields in that April 8 start, has been in line for victories his last two games, but the White Sox bullpen has blown a save each time.

On Wednesday against Oakland, Danks allowed one run and five hits while striking out seven over eight innings, but Chicago went on to lose 7-4 in 10 innings.

In Danks' previous start against Tampa Bay, the left-hander allowed four runs and six hits while walking four over six innings.

Danks is 4-1 at Tropicana Field, losing his last start there May 29 after allowing eight runs in four innings. He had a 2.25 ERA in his previous four visits.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

Bobby Howry wasn't aware of the fact he was part of one of the more infamous transactions in White Sox history until a few years after it happened. 

In 1997, with the White Sox only 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians, general manager Ron Schueler pulled the trigger on a massive trade that left many around Chicago — including some in the White Sox clubhouse — scratching their heads. Heading to the San Francisco Giants was the team's best starting pitcher (left-hander Wilson Alvarez), a reliable rotation piece (Doug Drabek) and a closer coming off a 1996 All-Star appearance (Roberto Hernandez). In return, the White Sox acquired six minor leaguers: right-handers Howry, Lorenzo Barcelo, Keith Foulke, left-hander Ken Vining, shortstop Mike Caruso and outfielder Brian Manning. Only Foulke had major league experience, and it wasn't exactly good (an 8.26 ERA in 44 2/3 innings). 

Howry was largely oblivious to the shocking nature of the trade that brought him from the Giants to White Sox until, before the 1999 season, he was featured in a commercial that referenced the "White Flag trade."

"I don't even know if I knew it was called that before then," Howry recalled last weekend at the Sheraton Grand Chicago at Cubs Convention. 

The trade was a stark signal that youth would be emphasized on 35th and Shields. Both Alvarez and Hernandez were set to become free agents after the 1997 season, and the 40-year-old Darwin wasn't a long-term piece, either. With youngsters like Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee rising through the farm system, the move was made with an eye on the future and maximizing the return on players who weren't going to be long-term pieces. 

Sound familiar? 

It's hardly a perfect comparison, but when the White Sox traded Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in December for four minor leaguers — headlined by top-100 prospects in Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech — it was the first rebuilding blockbuster trade the organization had made since the 1997 White Flag deal. Shortly after trading their staff ace at the 2016 Winter Meetings, the White Sox shipped Adam Eaton — their best position player — to the Washington Nationals for a package of prospects featuring two more highly-regarded youngsters in Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. 

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And there still could be more moves on the horizon, too, for Rick Hahn's White Sox (Jose Quintana has been the subject of persistent rumors since the Winter Meetings). But for those looking for an optimistic outlook of the White Sox rebuilding plans, it's worth noting that the club's last youth movement, to an extent, was successful.

Only Howry (3.74 ERA over 294 games) and Foulke (2.87 ERA, 100 saves over 346 games) became significant long-term pieces for the White Sox from those six players brought over in 1997. And it wasn't like Schueler dealt away any of the franchise's cornerstones — like Frank Thomas, Albert Belle and Robin Ventura — but with future starters in Lee, Ordonez and Chris Singleton on their way the White Sox were able to go young. A swap of promising youthful players (Mike Cameron for Paul Konerko) proved to be successful a year and a half later. 

And with a couple of shrewd moves — namely, dealing Jamie Navarro and John Snyder to the Milwaukee Brewers for Cal Eldred and Jose Valentin — the "Kids Can Play" White Sox stormed to an American League Central title in 2000. 

"It was great," Howry said of developing with so many young players in the late 1999's and 2000. "You come in and you feel a lot more comfortable when you got a lot of young guys and you're all coming up together and building together. It's not like you're walking into a primarily veteran clubhouse where you're kind of having to duck and hide all the time. We had a great group of guys and we built together over a couple of years, and putting that together was a lot of fun."

What sparked things in 2000, Howry said, was that ferocious brawl with the Detroit Tigers on April 22 in which 11 players were ejected (the fight left Foulke needing five stitches and former Tigers catcher/first baseman Robert Fick doused in beer). 

"About the time we had that fight with Detroit, that big brawl, all of a sudden after then we just seemed to kind of come together and everything started to click and it took off," Howry said. 

The White Sox went 80-81 in 1998 and slipped to 75-86 in 1999, but their 95-67 record in 2000 was the best in the league — though it only amounted to a three-game sweep at the hands of the wild-card winning Seattle Mariners. 

Still, the White Flag trade had a happy ending two and a half years later. While with the White Sox, Howry didn't feel pressure to perform under the circumstances with which he arrived, which probably helped those young players grow together into eventual division champions. 

"I was 23 years old," Howry said. "At 23 years old, I didn't really — I was just like, okay, I'm still playing, I got a place to play. I didn't really put a whole lot of thought into three veteran guys for six minor leaguers." 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox 2016 first round pick Zack Collins joins the podcast to talk about his future with the White Sox, when he hopes to make the big leagues and the doubters who question whether he can be a major league catcher.   He discusses comparisons with Kyle Schwarber, his impressions of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, why his dad took him to a Linkin Park concert when he was 6 years old and much more.