7/11/2013 12:53 A.M. ET
Strong pitching core key to White Sox future
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
DETROIT -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn spoke with the Chicago media for a little more than five minutes prior to Wednesday's game with the Tigers at Comerica Park.
At no time did he use the words rebuild, reshape, retool or reload. In fact, Hahn stayed absolutely true to his word in saying nothing about the trade rumors swirling around his team or the direction he has in mind for this group.
While this substandard year amid a steady run of contention for the White Sox has sparked talk of wholesale team changes, the emphasis on pitching will not be altered. And when trying to figure out who the South Siders might move, remember they already have a pretty solid staff in their midst for 2013 and beyond.
"If you look at who we have under control right now going forward on the pitching staff, you see Chris Sale, and Jake [Peavy] is signed for next year," Hahn said. "You'll have John Danks even further away from surgery, which traditionally once a pitcher comes off of shoulder surgery, 18 months out is usually when they get back to full strength, which would put John closer to Opening Day next year even though he has performed great so far.
"Jose Quintana is blossoming into fulfilling a lot of his potential. And there are guys in the system, and [Hector] Santiago and [Dylan Axelrod] have done a nice job, and other guys coming who can round out a pretty solid starting rotation. That doesn't even get to the bullpen with [Addison] Reed and [Nate] Jones and the guys who have thrown well down there.
"We do feel that you have to start with the pitching," Hahn said. "You are going to compete in this league with the pitching, and we do feel we have the nucleus under control for a while going forward that is going to help us compete. The bulk of our struggles this year have been on the offensive side. That's something we are going to have to improve."
In order to improve and possibly even get younger on the offensive side, Hahn might deal one of his top pitching chips. It's unlikely he will gut a deep commodity that other teams often overpay for, and the White Sox also won't put themselves in position to rush prospects into filling needs possibly opened by trades.
"We're not going to rush guys up because there is an opening at position X," Hahn said. "We aren't going to put our best guy in the system in the big leagues because there's a need.
"We'll have to be careful these guys develop at their natural pace. We tend to be aggressive and give guys opportunities as soon as they prove they can handle it. But when a guy is going to make that jump to helping us in Chicago is going to be dictated by more their personal development case as opposed to our need."
Aggressive Rios aiming for consistency at the plate
DETROIT -- Eight bullet points alone were devoted to Alex Rios' accomplishments during Tuesday night's game on the front page of Wednesday's White Sox game notes.
The right fielder, who has been the team's most consistent force among a season-long wave of offensive inconsistency, knocked out a triple and five singles to finish 6-for-6 in the 11-4 victory over the Tigers. He picked up two stolen bases for good measure.
Rios joined Lance Johnson (1995), Floyd Robinson (1962), Rip Radcliff (1936) and Hank Steinbacher (1938) as White Sox players who finished with six hits in a single nine-inning contest. He also became the first player since at least 1900 to have five singles and one triple in a nine-inning game, per Elias and ESPN Stats and Info.
Two interesting points from the achievement center on Rios coming off a June in which he hit just .248 with one homer and eight RBIs. He also saw just 12 pitches, with four coming in the last at-bat, to produce the six hits, which could be a sign of good offensive things to come in Rios' mind.
"Recently, I started being a little more aggressive and swinging at first pitches and earlier in the count," said Rios, who was satisfied working deeper into counts but just not getting results. "You force yourself to do it to see if you can get yourself going again.
"I've been putting better swings on certain pitches. I feel like I'm being a little more aggressive under control, but it is what it is, and hopefully I can bring back that consistency I had earlier this year."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura doesn't remember ever seeing a six-hit game from a player, but he was cognizant of what was going on with Rios.
"It's one of those nights, every time you go up there, you're counting it in your head, trying to figure it out," Ventura said. "There were a lot of hits last night, especially the way he was going, going the other way, it seemed like eight. It was a great night and it was fun to watch."
Rios followed up his historic night with an 0-for-4 showing, with two strikeouts, in Wednesday's 8-5 loss.
Sale ready for challenge presented by Cabrera, Tigers
DETROIT -- How do you retire Miguel Cabrera, arguably the best hitter in the game, who entered Wednesday's contest with a .363 average, 29 homers and 92 RBIs? It was a question posed to White Sox ace Chris Sale before he faces the third baseman in Thursday afternoon's series finale.
"First, you got to pitch to him," said a smiling Sale.
Sale wants to pitch to Cabrera. Maybe not with the game on the line, bases loaded and nobody out, but Sale looks at the potent Tigers as a challenge that any All-Star pitcher would want as a test.
"I was telling John [Danks] that this is a team where you kind of figure out where you stand," Sale said. "You start giving stuff away and pitching around guys and you don't really know what you have. So just go after him and hope for the best.
"[Cabrera] did something last year [win the Triple Crown] that nobody has done in who knows how long. He's on his way to doing it again this year. I think he's definitely the best hitter of our generation. As far as being able to hit for average, power, driving runs in, that kind of stuff."
As good as Cabrera's numbers look, Sale understands that while Cabrera is supremely talented, he is not unstoppable.
"He's hitting what? .363?" Sale said. "So we got a 63 percent chance of getting him out. I like my odds on that: sometimes. As good as the numbers look, you still have to talk yourself into, 'This guy still gets out.'
"He doesn't hit every single ball over the fence or get a hit every time up. Just bear down, and hope for the best."
Third to first
• Hahn had one reaction to his team's eighth- and ninth-inning outbursts Tuesday night, scoring 10 runs in total during those frames, while setting season highs in runs (11) and hits (23) for one game and runs (seven), hits (nine) and consecutive hits (seven) in one inning (the eighth).
"Where has this been?" said Hahn with a laugh. "We were joking afterwards, I guess we have been playing possum, just waiting for Detroit. Lying in wait."
Hahn noted that the "guys downstairs" enjoyed it even more than he did watching from the visiting general manager's suite.
• The White Sox scored at least five runs off of Justin Verlander for just the second time over his last 14 outings against the team. The White Sox are 2-12 over their last 14 games against Verlander, compared to an 11-3 mark over the first 14 matchups.