7/20/2014 12:00 A.M. ET
Gamble on De Oca doesn't pay off for White Sox
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The White Sox signed 30 of their first 31 picks from the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, missing only on Bryce Montes De Oca. The 6-foot-7, 265-pound right-hander was selected in the 14th round and probably fell that far despite his mid-90s fastball because of his reconstructed elbow.
De Oca, an 18-year-old taken out of Lawrence High School in Kansas, also had a scholarship from the University of Missouri.
"We knew that would be a tough sign," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn. "He's probably a name we are going to hear about again in three years, if he is able to fulfill his potential. It was a worthwhile gamble, but we knew it was a long shot to sign him."
With Carlos Rodon, the team's top pick and third selection overall, receiving a franchise-record $6.582 million signing bonus, the White Sox spent around $10.5 million on this year's Draft and exceeded their bonus pool. They incurred a tax for the first time of $356,175 but were happy with the overall talent they added to the organization.
Fatigue not a concern for rookie Abreu
CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu missed 14 games this season because of a left ankle injury that sent him to the disabled list on May 18. Even without those games, the Major League leader in home runs is certain to surpass his single-season career high in games played for Cienfuegos of Cuba.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura joked pregame Saturday that when he reaches somewhere around 100 games, Abreu will be shut down. But quickly moving to a more serious and realistic angle to the question, neither Abreu nor Ventura seem worried about fatigue setting in as the season progresses.
"So far we've played half of the season right here, and here we play 162 games," said Abreu through interpreter and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz, making reference to the 96-game season in Cuba. "I just feel like we've got to continue to work hard and stay mentally tough and continue to be a good person so you can get the results that you want at the end of the season. But I don't think the length is going to affect my performance or anything like that."
"Right now, he's so excited with the way things are going, that can carry a lot of guys through that period," Ventura said. "But again, you don't know until he gets there and you see it."
Ventura mentioned that adjustments can be made within a start, by moving Abreu to designated hitter for a game or two.
"So you take care of him and give him maybe a day here or there where you can do that," Ventura said. "You're watching everybody for that same thing. Everybody has their limit."
Konerko seeing game from different viewpoint
CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko probably won't feel comfortable talking about his 16th and final season with the White Sox and the hoopla surrounding it until that season has come to a close.
That same fact always held true for Konerko when he was asked about individual statistics during the course of a 162-game run. And it held true on Saturday when Konerko's farewell run was compared to Derek Jeter's final season.
"I'm just doing what I do. I don't know if that's a choice or what," Konerko said. "And I'm sure Derek is doing the things he has done. Obviously, with the career he's had, what he's done on the field, he can't really escape it, because I'm not quite sure how much he likes it either.
"I don't know him all that well, but I'm thinking probably not. It just comes with what you have done on the field. There have been a couple moments here and there among players and a couple of teams and you deal with it when it happens. It's nice and it's flattering, but it's not on my radar like day-to-day stuff."
Having the reduced playing time took a little getting used for Konerko, per Robin Ventura's estimation. But his player/mentor role has allowed Konerko to see the game from a slightly different point of view.
"Even with me, there's things where he'll sit there and talk about what's going on. You might not notice as a player, but now you sit there and he sees things a little bit differently," Ventura said. "He's a great example for our guys with everything that he's done.
"It is a different role for him, but there are ways to enjoy it. He understands he can't play every day, so I think that part of it he enjoys, to be able to come in like today, go out there and play and he doesn't have to feel like he has to hold anything back for the next two or three days. He can just let it hang out."
Rehab assignment not yet scheduled for Avisail
CHICAGO -- The next step in Avisail Garcia's potential 2014 return to the White Sox would be a Minor League rehab assignment. There has been no timetable set for that assignment, as Garcia continues to take batting practice and work out with the team.
"When you see him do things, you get excited about it," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "But you don't want to push it to a point where he's getting out ahead of himself, and I know it looks like he's doing pretty good."
"I feel great because they said when I got hurt that I'm not going to play for this year," Garcia said. "It's a big step to play again. I've been working hard."
Garcia had surgery to repair a torn labrum and avulsion fracture in his left shoulder, sustained when diving for a fly ball in right field against the Rockies on April 9. He was deemed out for the season at that point and the White Sox have not changed that prognosis.
Any sort of Minor League rehab assignment would probably be of the extended variety because of the time missed by Garcia.
"You are not going to have him go down for five games and have him back here," Ventura said. "He would be down there for a while just to get the timing back and everything else. It would be Spring Training somewhat all over again.
"On the other hand, you don't necessarily want a guy down there exposing him to that if he could be up here doing it. What's the right time? I don't know."
Third to first
• Infielder Carlos Sanchez was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte following Saturday's 4-3 victory for the White Sox over the Astros. Sanchez played in just one game after being recalled on July 13, starting at shortstop that same day in Cleveland.
With the bullpen throwing seven innings over the first two games of the second half, the White Sox needed a seventh reliever more than an extra utility infielder. That corresponding pitching move will be announced prior to Sunday's game.
• Ventura had no problem with Adam Eaton being sent home on Alexei Ramirez's fly ball in the first inning of Friday's victory, despite there being nobody out and Abreu on deck. Ventura explained that Eaton was out by about half a step and that there have been similar situations where the runner was held and the White Sox didn't score.
"We're pretty aggressive with that," Ventura said.
• The last time the White Sox bullpen threw four perfect innings, as it did Friday night, was June 24, 2004, against the Indians.
• Ventura mentioned that backup catcher Adrian Nieto could see more playing time behind the plate over the final 65 games.
"He'll be in there a little bit more," said Ventura. "Even the last couple of weeks, he's been progressing to a point where you feel comfortable with him going in there."