9/4/2013 12:47 A.M. ET
Callups focused on present but have eye toward '14
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Infielder Marcus Semien and right-handed pitcher Erik Johnson both found out about their impending callups to the White Sox on Sunday, making for a rather long Monday, as Triple-A Charlotte completed its regular season.
"Yeah, yesterday was a pretty long day," said a smiling Semien, standing in the visitors' clubhouse at Yankee Stadium. "I was really excited. It's every ballplayer's dream. Now you do what you can to try to stay here."
Semien, 22, and Johnson, 23, were joined by right-handed reliever Daniel Webb, 23, and catcher Miguel Gonzalez, 22, as Tuesday callups, putting the White Sox 40-man roster at 40. This quartet was preceded by left-handed pitcher Charlie Leesman and catcher Bryan Anderson on Sunday.
These players earned their big league chance with stellar Minor League regular seasons. Johnson, the club's No. 2 prospect per MLB.com, finished 12-3 with a 1.96 ERA, three complete games and 131 strikeouts over 24 starts between Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Johnson was named to the Southern League All-Star Team before posting a 4-1 record with a 1.57 ERA over 57 1/3 innings with Charlotte. He limited right-handed hitters to a .190 average and one homer.
Webb made 42 appearances between Class A Winston-Salem, Birmingham and Charlotte, going 2-1 with a 1.87 ERA, to go along with 10 saves, 78 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings and a .194 opponents' average.
Semien, the Southern League Most Valuable Player, combined to hit .284 with 32 doubles, six triples, 19 home runs, 66 RBIs, 110 runs scored and 24 stolen bases over 137 games between Charlotte and Birmingham. He played in 73 games at shortstop, 41 at second base and 23 at third.
But these numbers did more than earn them promotions. Their efforts put players such as Johnson, Semien and Webb in play to break cramp with the team as part of the 2014 Major League roster.
As Semien said, the goal is to stay once a player arrives. But with immediate action likely coming on this current road trip, these players have too much to think about to try to analyze their futures.
"It would be a great opportunity," said Johnson of '14. "But you just have to take it start to start and make sure you're preparing each day before you go out there. What I try to accomplish is get better each day, whether you're playing catch, [throwing a] bullpen [session] or taking the mound for a game."
"Just keep working," said Semien, who is still scheduled to take part in the Arizona Fall League, as is Leesman. "That's not really my decision. I'm going to do everything I can to make that happen."
Zapata working out, to play in instructional league
NEW YORK -- During a recent interview concerning Micker Adolfo Zapata, White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell paused for a moment to ask a question of his own about the No. 2 ranked player on MLB.com's list of top International prospects, who signed in July for the largest amount ever spent by the White Sox on an international prospect at $1.6 million.
"Have you seen him?" said Bell, offering up a broad smile without saying anything to convey the impressive nature of his being.
"Strong kid," Bell added quickly, with that smile growing wider.
The 16-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic has been working out with Rookie League Bristol, but his White Sox career truly will begin in mid-September during instructional league action at Camelback Ranch in Arizona. Zapata has created more buzz around the organization than almost any prospect in recent memory, and he has yet to take the field.
So, patience will be key for the White Sox once Zapata gets into action. He has an abundance of talent, but he still needs to learn the game.
"I know enough to know that this kid has got a lot of tools," said Bell. "The problem is a lot of these kids that have been showcased, they really haven't played a lot of games. So, that's our biggest issue with guys like that. Trying to get him in, think the game.
"But in terms of just flat-out tools, the guy has power, he can throw, he has speed. Not only that, he's fluent in English. The guy has plenty of tools, but our biggest issue is getting him to understand how to play the situational game without taking any of his tools away from him."
According to Bell, Zapata will start with the White Sox Arizona Rookie League entry in 2014. He'll then move to Bristol or Advanced Rookie Great Falls the following season.
"We always want it to go quicker than it always does," Bell said.
Too early for Dunn to consider retirement
NEW YORK -- Adam Dunn is not retiring.
At least, he wasn't planning to following Tuesday's 6-4 loss to the Yankees, with New York rallying for five runs in the eighth to claim victory. But earlier in the day, in an interview with Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, Dunn reiterated a point he made two years ago and has made a few times since.
If he's not enjoying himself playing baseball, he will walk away from the game. It doesn't matter that the White Sox still owe him $15 million for next season, which was a point Dunn stressed in the FoxSports.com article.
Dunn seemed a bit surprised to be asked about his plans for 2014 with 25 games still remaining in the 2013 season.
"Next year? We've got a bunch of games left now," Dunn said. "Last thing I want to do is think about next year. I want to get through this one and kind of enjoy the offseason.
"No. As of right now, it's a no," said Dunn as to whether this could be his last year. "We went down this road before: The day that I quit having fun, making it a struggle to come to the ballpark or not enjoying the competition out there, is the day I will go home. Whether it be tomorrow, whether it be 10 years from now. I'm still enjoying the competition. It's just tough losing when you have such high expectations."
Earlier in this season, Dunn told MLB.com that he wanted to win with the White Sox. At this stage in his career, Dunn also doesn't want to be part of a full rebuilding process, where the '14 season could be close to as tough as the '13 campaign.
It seems to be the team struggles weighing on Dunn's mind.
"Obviously, winning solves everything," Dunn said. "It's one of those things, it's just because how the expectations were so high, in the clubhouse for sure, this has been one of the most disappointing years I can remember."
White Sox to end season with six-man rotation
NEW YORK -- With right-hander Erik Johnson one of the four players called up from Triple-A Charlotte prior to Tuesday night's game at Yankee Stadium, the White Sox have seven starting options available for the remainder of September. That total includes left-hander Charlie Leesman.
That total also means the White Sox rotation probably won't pitch on regular four days' rest for the final few weeks of the '13 season. This modified six-man rotation, as manager Robin Ventura called it on Tuesday, gives callups such as Johnson and Leesman a big league chance, while monitoring the workload of first-year starter Hector Santiago and other still young pitchers such as Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.
"We have enough guys now that it's probably more modified with having six guys being able to do it," Ventura said. "I wouldn't think anybody would be out there with four days. I'm talking about a guy that throws the regular amount [of pitches]. You're not going to see a guy on four days' rest."
"Our goal is to keep all of the guys healthy throughout the year, and that's starters and relievers," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "It's not just starters. Some of the relievers have been at a good work clip. People don't realize even if it's three pitches for a third of an inning, you are getting hot and oiled up for five of six nights. That's not easy."
Santiago and Andre Rienzo, who will start Saturday and Sunday in Baltimore, respectively, already have surpassed their single-season highs for innings. Johnson has pitched 142 innings over 24 starts, but with his Major League debut set for Wednesday night in New York, he's poised for a few more starts.
"Whenever they send me back out there, I'm going to give it all I've got," Johnson said. "Every opportunity I get, I'll make the most of."
Third to first
• Quintana threw just 20 pitches over one inning in Monday's rain-shortened start. So the White Sox tentatively have him scheduled to return on two days' rest Thursday night in Baltimore.
Quintana views Monday as a bullpen day or just side work because of the low pitch count.
"I prepare the same whether I go to a game or the bullpen," said Quintana through White Sox coach and translator Lino Diaz. "It's one of those things I can't control. I can't control what happened with the weather."
• Avisail Garcia was one of the candidates for American League Player of the Week, won by Oakland's Brandon Moss. Garcia hit .458 with two homers and six RBIs during the past week.
• Adam Dunn ranks second in the Majors in pitches seen per plate appearance. Boston's Mike Napoli is No. 1 at 4.55, followed by the White Sox designated hitter at 4.28.
• Zach Stewart was named International League Pitcher of the Week for Aug. 26-Sept. 2. He finished 1-1 with a 0.00 ERA in two starts covering 16 innings for Charlotte.
• Birmingham (Southern League) and Great Falls (Pioneer League) both reached the playoffs out of the White Sox Minor League system.