3/24/2014 7:56 P.M. ET
Sale knows stress of spring contract negotiations
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Chris Sale tried to provide as much help as he could to Jose Quintana in terms of handling the pressure of contract negotiations while preparing for the regular season.
It's not always easy to focus on cutters, fastballs and Cactus League workloads when your financial future is being bantered back and forth. Sale dealt with such a dilemma last Spring Training, when he agreed to an extension that could cover seven years and $60 million with club options and a Cy Young escalator clause.
After Quintana's deal that could hit $47.5 million over seven years with team options was announced, Sale provided a humorous spin on the thoughts running through a player's mind during these mentally straining times.
"It was scary," said Sale with a laugh. "You didn't want to walk too fast, walk on rough terrain or roll an ankle. Every time you throw a baseball, you're like, 'Whew, I'm all right.'
"I know how nerve-wracking it is and how scary it is, especially going through Spring Training and trying to keep a level head. You have all this going on. It's crazy, but it's all for the good."
Sale reminded Quintana that they weren't about to take the offer away after he allowed all nine batters to reach base in his start against Oakland on March 18.
"Just kind of try to even it out as much as you can and not get too caught up in it because it does get crazy," Sale said. "You lose sleep at night, you are afraid to breathe too much when all that is going on.
"He handled it right. It showed [Sunday] getting back on track and having a clear mind. It's a lot easier."
Abreu not concerned about Chicago's colder temps
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jose Abreu returned to the White Sox starting lineup Monday and went 0-for-3 during a 7-6 victory over the Mariners after taking off two days to rest a sore left ankle.
Abreu showed no effects from the soreness that has bothered him for the past few weeks as he made a diving stop toward the first-base line to take away a hit from Brad Miller in the first inning. Abreu admitted the break did him some good.
"The doctors and people recommend five days to take the soreness away, but it was way too much for me," said Abreu through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "I feel two days was really good, and it's definitely helped.
"Right now, I'm feeling really good. I have to thank the trainers. They have helped me a lot with the treatment and all of that, but I'm feeling really good right now. I'm not taking it like anything serious. It's one of those things that happens when you're playing. You get sore, and that's it."
While the ankle has responded in the warm air but often hard infields of Arizona, Abreu soon will have to adjust to colder Midwest temperatures as he prepares for his White Sox debut Monday at U.S. Cellular Field. The climate change doesn't seem to worry the big man.
"I've never played in cold weather like that," Abreu said. "But if other people, all the Cubans, all the Latin players, other players can do it, I don't think it will be a problem for me.
"I haven't really asked Alexei [Ramirez] or Dayan [Viciedo], but some of the coaches have talked to me about it. I'm not going to give it too much mind. I'm just going to prepare psychologically and mentally for the cold, to actually enjoy it and do the best I can."
Days dwindling for Beckham to prove himself ready
PEORIA, Ariz. -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura made it clear that Gordon Beckham has to test his strained left oblique in a game situation in order to be cleared for Opening Day.
Ventura said that Beckham was doing more on Monday, after swinging in the cage Sunday. But as was pointed out Sunday, the second baseman is running out of days to avoid the disabled list at the season's outset.
"I don't know exactly what it's going to be," said Ventura of Beckham, who last played on March 14. "There is definitely going to be a cut off day here pretty soon. He's going to have to get some at-bats and know he can play without feeling like he's going to tweak or pull something."
Nieto appears to have made jump from A ball to bigs
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The White Sox backup Opening Day catcher will be Adrian Nieto, per tweets from his agent, Joshua Kusnick, on Monday.
"Adrian Nieto has made the opening day roster," wrote Kusnick, who has known Nieto since he was 14.
"Its been a wild ride but you did it @NietoJr17 congratulations for beating the odds like you always do," added Kusnick in another tweet of the news delivered to Nieto before Monday's game, putting him on the roster with starter Tyler Flowers.
General manager Rick Hahn spoke Sunday as to how the White Sox were not afraid to have a catcher jump from the Carolina League to the Majors, as Nieto will be doing. Not after the hard work Nieto put in over the past six weeks and the strong support he has received from the White Sox pitching staff.
Nieto sat next to John Danks during a recent start in which Nieto wasn't catching and picked his brain about pitches and location.
"It's shocking when I found out he hadn't played above A ball," Danks said. "He's a very hard worker, willing to work and move around and just trying to get on the same page. He's done a great job and certainly impressed me."
Hahn reiterated Monday that the 25-man roster won't be set until this weekend, but even breaking camp with the team doesn't guarantee Nieto to stick in the organization. As a Rule 5 selection, Nieto would be put on waivers if the White Sox don't keep him, and if none of the other 28 teams are willing to put him on the Major League roster, then he would be offered back to the Nationals for $25,000.
If the Nationals want Nieto back, something could be worked out on both sides for the White Sox to keep him. But Hahn expects that "won't be the easiest trade we ever made."
Third to first
• In 2012, Ventura's first season as manager, a closer was not announced until Hector Santiago warmed up to protect a ninth-inning lead in the second game against the Rangers in Arlington. That situation could play out again in 2014, after the White Sox traded incumbent Addison Reed for third baseman Matt Davidson during the offseason.
"It's possible," said Ventura prior to Monday's 7-6 victory over the Mariners.
Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom and rookie Daniel Webb came into camp as the favorites for that spot. Maikel Cleto, who was claimed off of waivers from the Royals during Spring Training, also could be in the mix, although Ventura mentioned Monday that Cleto could be used for a couple of innings at times.
Jones was bothered early on by a strained left glute and struggled with his control Sunday. Lindstrom has made just two Cactus League appearances because of a left oblique strain, and Webb missed time because of the death of his mother.
Bullpen coach and franchise saves leader Bobby Thigpen is the only one ruled completely out of the mix. Zach Putnam, who is still in the mix for the final bullpen slot, closed out Monday's victory with a scoreless ninth.
• Ventura isn't ready to commit as to how he would use Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza in left field.
• Conor Gillaspie has reached base in 13 of his last 14 games.
• Erik Johnson, who worked six innings in Monday's 7-6 victory over the Mariners, will have at least eight days off before his regular-season opener.