Word on the Street: Garcia agrees with Yankees

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Word on the Street: Garcia agrees with Yankees

Monday, Jan. 31, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Freddy Garcia reaches agreement with Yankees

Despite recent reports that the White Sox are still considering him, Freddy Garcia had indicated he wanted to move on, going as far to say that, "I would love to stay in Chicago because I like the city and I have friends there, but I don't think I'm going to come back. In any case, I appreciate them for trusting me last year," Garcia said in the interview. "However, a team like New York would be ideal, and would match up with this stage of my career."

Garcia backed that up by officially agreeing to a minor-league deal with the Yankees according to multiple sources with knowledge of the contract. (mlbtraderumors.com)

Tiger's Dubai golf course on hold

Another major project launched during Dubai's economic boom years has been compromised by the country's financial downturn. The Chicago Tribune reports that plans for a Tiger Woods signature golf estate have been shelved.

"It's been put on hold for right now. It's still there," Tiger said after he finished his season debut at Torrey Pines. "We've got six completed holes and a few that were about to be grassed before construction was halted. Everything is on hold."

The estate was planned to include a boutique hotel and sheik-style palaces. (Chicago Tribune)
Eagles interview Bears' assistant Hoke

The Philadelphia Eagles interviewed Bears secondary coach Jon Hoke for their defensive coordinator vacancy. Since Hoke is under contract with the Bears, the Eagles had to request permission to speak with him.

Hoke came to the Bears in 2009 after spending seven seasons with the Houston Texans. (csnphilly.com)

U.S. soccer cancels exhibition game against Egypt

Because of the political turmoil in Cairo, The U.S. national soccer team canceled its Feb. 9 exhibition game against Egypt. The international friendly was planned Dec. 13, but in the last week, street protests aiming for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak have caused disruption in Cairo and Alexandria.

The U.S. State Department has recommended American citizens to avoid travel to Egypt. U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said "due to the current situation all parties agreed it was best to cancel the match. We appreciate the efforts of the Egyptian Football Association and the U.S. State Department as we worked through this situation." (Tribune News Services)

Krause named baseball "Scout of the Year"

The former general manager of the Chicago Bulls, Jerry Krause, oversaw the franchise's six NBA titles. But Sunday night, he earned the Nick Kamzic Award as "Scout of the Year" in baseball at the 65th annual Pitch & Hit Banquet in Rosemont.

Now the Director of International Scouting for the White Sox, Krause began his baseball scouting career with the Cleveland Indians. After stints with the A's and Mariners, Krause joined the White Sox from 1978 through 1984. In the early 90's, Jerry Reinsdorf wanted Krause to run the Bulls. Eighteen years and six Championships later, Krause returned to baseball in 2004, scouting for the Yankees and Mets before coming back to the White Sox in 2010. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

DePaul women's basketball No. 9 in new AP poll

Coming off a huge win over No. 8 West Virginia, the DePaul women's basketball team reached a new milestone when the Associated Press Poll ranked the Blue Demons ranked No. 9.

"Reaching our highest ranking in school history is a definite testament to this team and the character of our young women," DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said after learning of his team's ranking.

Last week DePaul became the first Division I team to reach the 20-win mark. (depaulbluedemons.com)

Barkley, Strahan join Wild rookie dinner in Chicago

Last Sunday, the Minnesota Wild hosted their annual rookie dinner at the Chicago Cut Steakhouse while in town to play the Chicago Blackhawks. Former NBA star Charles Barkley and former NFL star Michael Strahan were dining at the steakhouse and made a guest appearance at the rookie dinner.

Former Blackhawks center John Madden knew Strahan from his time playing in New York, and invited the two to their dining room, where they stayed for two hours.

According to Wild rookie defenseman Jared Spurgeon, "Charles started getting all these crazy ideas in his head" about the rookie hazing that ensued. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Pro Bowl earns best TV ratings in a decade

Sunday night, the NFC's sloppy 55-41 victory over the AFC drew a 7.7 rating and 12 share on Fox, earning the Pro Bowl's highest television rating since 2000. The ratings were up 8 percent from last year.

Bears defensive end Julius Peppers recorded the only sack for the NFC in the game. (Chicago Tribune)

Prospect Reynaldo Lopez struggles early, but White Sox top Reds

Prospect Reynaldo Lopez struggles early, but White Sox top Reds

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Reynaldo Lopez also struggled in his spring debut for the White Sox on Tuesday afternoon. 

The team's No. 4 overall prospect allowed five earned runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings before the White Sox rallied for a 10-9 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Goodyear, Ariz. Lopez also walked one in his first performance for the team since it acquired him along with Lucas Giolito and Dane Dunning from the Washington Nationals in exchange for Adam Eaton. 

Another heralded prospect, Michael Kopech, struggled for the White Sox in his lone inning in an 8-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Glendale, Ariz. The performances come on the heels of Giolito, the team's top pitching prospect, allowing a run, three hits and a walk in two innings against the Cubs at Mesa, Ariz. on Monday.

"We don't feel that pressure," Lopez said through an interpreter. "We just try to do our job. We have a very good relationship. We are not desperate to show people what we can do because we know what we can do. We just try to do our job and try to do what we are supposed to do. I think that he's doing that too."

"I felt good. I made very good pitches. I throw a lot of strikes. I made a lot of mistakes too. But I think it was good for my first outing, it was good."

[MORE: Michael Kopech frustrated with first step in quest to prove White Sox right]

Leury Garcia went 3-for-4 with four RBIs in the victory. Yolmer Sanchez, Everth Cabrera and Danny Hayes each went 2-for-4. 

Matt Davidson and Tim Anderson each had two hits in the loss to Seattle.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Todd Frazier (mild oblique strain) continues to progress prior to Tuesday's split-squad doubleheader. Renteria wouldn't commit to a timeframe for Frazier's return when asked if playing this weekend is a possibility.

"We are going to keep monitoring him but he seems like he is kind of over the hump and trying to push himself into active duty," Renteria said. "We have to get him back into being more explosive in his actions. If he feels good and comfortable, there's every reason to believe that that's possible. I can't guarantee it."

Renteria also said pitcher Carlos Rodon would participate in his first bullpen session on either Wednesday or Thursday. He also believes Jose Abreu would be back in camp on Wednesday from a trip to Miami for personal reasons but isn't sure if the first baseman would return in time for the team's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Michael Kopech frustrated with first step in quest to prove White Sox right

Michael Kopech frustrated with first step in quest to prove White Sox right

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Michael Kopech was fairly upset with his performance Tuesday afternoon given how much he wants to make the White Sox look wise for their investment and silence his critics.

One of two highly-touted pieces acquired in the Chris Sale trade, Kopech intends to prove to his doubters that two questionable incidents from the past won't determine what appears to be a bright future chock full of 100-mph fastballs. 

So even though Tuesday's outing was his first with the team and should have little bearing on what's to come, the White Sox prospect hoped to provide his new team with much more. Kopech was instead saddled with a long first inning in which he flashed his dazzling potential and later was hit hard. He allowed four earned runs and three hits, including a three-run homer on an 0-2 pitch, in an 8-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Camelback Ranch. Kopech also struck out two and walked one.

"That's probably part of the reason I'm pretty upset about today," Kopech said. "I'm trying to prove some people right. Obviously that's not the way to do it, but it is early. I think there's some adjustments to be made and once those adjustments are made I can actually be pretty helpful."

The third-ranked prospect in the franchise and 16th overall in baseball, Kopech endured a year-long rough patch beginning in July 2015 when he was suspended 50 games after a positive test for Oxilofrine. Kopech told the Boston Globe last November he didn't knowingly take the substance, but took responsibility for his actions.

His reputation then took another hit last March when Kopech broke a bone in his pitching hand. While it has been reported as an altercation between teammates, Kopech told the Globe he was trying to protect his teammate.

When he returned to action in June, Kopech shined with a combined 2.08 ERA in 56 1/3 innings Single-A Lowell and Single-A Salem. He followed by posting a 2.01 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings at the Arizona Fall League. Kopech said his performance to end the 2016 season was critical moving forward.

"Bottom line is you can't take anything for granted," Kopech said in December. "I've missed too much time in my opinion. This half of the year was very important for me. I needed to show people, whoever, that I'm still out here to compete and get better."

Despite his blemishes off the field, the White Sox determined in late November that Kopech had to be included in a package if they indeed were trading Sale to the Red Sox. To reach that point, where they'd ask for Kopech as one of two main pieces in a deal for potentially the best pitcher in franchise history, the front office turned to both their pro and amateur scouts to search every nook and cranny for opinions.

"Any major transaction you try to do as much due diligence as you can," general manager Rick Hahn said. "We were fully satisfied with the explanation that (Kopech) gave, but also what we were able to uncover through people in the know. This is a really good kid and a kid who wants to be great and he's willing to pay the price and put in the work necessary to be great."

Knowing they'd rebuild, Hahn said the White Sox began to focus their scouts on particular organizations in July. That's when the process of digging deep on Kopech started.

The team contacted old coaches and former teammates to discern what they could about the 20-year-old, who often uses his social media accounts to tweet out inspirational messages and talk about his determination. By the time the White Sox elevated Kopech from potential target to definitive piece they had contacted 12-15 sources.

"In all, it kept coming to back to everybody saying he's so dialed in," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "He's an intense kid. He's so hard core with everything he does. There's no soft with Kopech, that's for sure."

The hard-throwing Texan proved that point on Tuesday when he topped out at 101 mph on the radar gun. His fastball sat at 97 mph and he hit triple digits at least three times. 

Kopech started his performance with a three-pitch strikeout of Seattle's Ben Gamel, the radar reading 99, 100 and 100.  

Shortstop Jean Segura then got enough of a two-strike pitch to hit it in front of home plate, which led to an infield single. Segura stole second base and Kopech just missed outside on a 3-2 offering and walked Robinson Cano. Nelson Cruz followed with a rocketed opposite-field RBI double before Dan Vogelbach lined out to center. With two in scoring position and two outs, Kopech threw two quick strikes to Mitch Haniger and looked like he might escape the jam. But his 0-2 slider caught too much of the plate and Haniger crushed it for a three-run homer to left.

"There were some pitches that needed to be down in some counts and there's some pitches that needed to be way down," Kopech said.

Afterward, Kopech shied away from any possible excuses about his performance, one that ended with a strikeout of Carlos Ruiz. The adrenaline wasn't anything he hadn't dealt with before and he thought his pacing was fine. Even though he didn't get a borderline 3-2 pitch to Cano, Kopech thought it was a makeup for an earlier call that had gone in his favor. And even though it was his first outing in big league camp, Kopech wasn't awestruck by facing Cano and Cruz.

He was just disappointed that he didn't excel from the outset. Kopech knows there are plenty more opportunities ahead and believes he's everything the White Sox think he is. He just wants to prove it.

"The toughest part is to stop caring so much about what other people think," Kopech said. "Everybody wants that pat on the back. That's what I had to shy away from is just not to care so much about that because what's being written about me and being said about me wasn't who defines me. That was what I really had to come to grips with and figure out — I'm going to determine my career and not past experiences."