8/29/2014 8:25 P.M. ET
Final stretch of at-bats a gauge for Avisail
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Since his return from a four-month absence because of a torn labrum and avulsion fracture in his left shoulder, Avisail Garcia has nine hits in 43 at-bats along with 16 strikeouts and two walks. Garcia has a .182 average against the four-seamer and a .400 mark against the sinker since his return, giving him six hits in 21 at-bats against the fastball according to brooksbaseball.net.
"You always want to hit a fastball," White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson said. "Nobody is a great breaking ball hitter. There are a few that can hit it, but you still want to square up fastballs. When you miss them, it makes you more angry when you miss a slider in the dirt.
"But I think it's about the timing. It's about the understanding of what [the pitcher] may do to me and staying the course of the at-bat. Don't start over-thinking it or changing your thoughts just because he did something else the first pitch."
Manager Robin Ventura pointed out that Garcia benefitted from a shot of adrenaline when he returned, but the post-adrenaline stage stands as the tough one to navigate before Garcia settles back in.
"Once he settles in, you'll see a better idea of what you are going to get in the future," said Ventura.
"Take these next 150 or 200 at-bats as his learning process, my learning process of him and really helping him understand what's next for him," Steverson said. "OK, you took this amount of at-bats. You saw what happened when you do X. Let's either clean that up or let's keep that. That's how it boils down."
No plan yet for 'Hawk' to limit travel schedule
CHICAGO -- White Sox senior vice president, sales and marketing Brooks Boyer told MLB.com Friday that nothing has been decided at this point about a reduced 2015 broadcast work schedule for Ken "Hawk" Harrelson.
The colorful White Sox play-by-play announcer, who is working his 30th season in the club's television booth, told WSCR 670-AM on Thursday that he had considered cutting back on future road games to spend more time with his family in South Bend, Ind., but he had not made a decision. Harrelson often makes the commute from his home in Granger, Ind., to Chicago for White Sox home games and spoke of his family serving as a major part of the decision-making process.
"We'll sit down at the end of the year, between [White Sox chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf], Hawk, [senior director of business development and broadcasting] Bob [Grim] and I," said Boyer of Harrelson, who declined through a media relations representative to comment Friday evening.. "We'll figure it out, what [Harrelson] wants to do.
"I think it's something he's thinking about. But no decisions have been made, not to my knowledge. We'll continue those conversations and see where they lead us."
Boyer said that there haven't been any "long discussions" in the recent past about this topic, where the announcer and team have said "let's map this out." But Boyer understands the thought process for Harrelson, who will turn 73 on Thursday, but has always expressed a desire to broadcast White Sox games as long as he can.
"He's very close to his grandchildren. He adores his wife," said Boyer of Harrelson. "We'll sit down and talk about it and see what makes sense. We are seeing more and more people -- whether it's Vin [Scully] or Mike Shannon -- more of those guys [cutting back on travel]."
Harrelson, Steve Stone, Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson are all under contract for 2015 as the club's television and radio broadcast teams.
Wins not representative of lefties' August outings
CHICAGO -- Chris Sale and Jose Quintana still have starts to make over these final two days of August, but going into those mound efforts, the trio of White Sox southpaws, including John Danks, has not won a game this month.
Sale has an 0-2 record with a 2.53 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 32 innings over five August starts. Quintana stands at 0-3 with a 5.08 ERA in five starts, while Danks is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA over five starts. Hector Noesi and (3-1) and Scott Carroll (1-3) have the only starters' wins this month for the White Sox entering the weekend's four-game series against the Tigers.
"It's probably a little bit different for me compared to them," said Danks, comparing his month to Sale and Quintana. "Quite frankly, I've had a pretty bad month. I haven't put myself in position to win many ballgames.
"With how Chris and Jose have thrown the ball, it's unfortunate. It's part of the game. Those guys understand that. Just get ready for the next one. It's unfortunate that they can throw the ball as well as they have and really have nothing to show for it."
Many present followers of the game consider the pitcher's victory to be anywhere from outdated to inconsequential. Sale always has been one to argue for the importance of the statistic, with Danks seemingly understanding both sides of the argument. He points to WHIP and ERA as better examples of how pitchers are performing.
"There's a lot that has to go right that is out of your control to get a win," Danks said. "But at the same time, if you don't do your job, you are not going to get a win anyway. I don't think it's any accident that the elite pitchers year in and year out are the guys leading the leagues in wins, too.
"A lot of that is staying in the game long enough, keeping your team in the game and giving yourself a chance to get that go-ahead run. We all like wins. Wins are the sexy stat for a pitcher. I wouldn't discredit it, but certainly I know that there's more that goes into it than just individual performance."
Abreu already a leader in White Sox clubhouse
CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu entered Friday's contest sitting first in the American League in RBIs, tied for second in homers and ranking fifth in batting average. Abreu would become the first rookie in Major League history to finish in the top five of all three Triple Crown categories, and the fifth White Sox player to accomplish such a feat, joining Joe Jackson (1920), Dick Allen (1972), Frank Thomas (1994) and Albert Belle (1998) per STATS, LLC.
The last rookie to finish in the top 10 of all three Triple Crown categories was Mike Piazza for the Dodgers in 1993. Minnesota's Tony Oliva did the same in 1964 as the last AL rookie.
Beyond the numbers, Abreu quickly has asserted himself as a White Sox leader.
"He's very coachable, and the easiest part for him is he just wants to play. He wants to be good," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's a leader. He understands what he means to our team and our organization. He takes care of himself and comes ready to play every day.
"That's the biggest thing, whether he can fully speak English and understand it, he does understand what he means. And that's the biggest part. He's a leader. He will be the leader of our team -- it's that simple."
Third to first
• Spencer Adams, the team's second-round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, has struck out 59 and walked just four over 41 2/3 innings for the Arizona Rookie League White Sox.
• Ventura had the following advice for Paul Konerko on what will be the biggest adjustment once he retires at the end of September.
"You're not going to play anymore, so your mind goes to a total different place as far as preparation and what you know you have to get your body and your mind ready for," Ventura said. "It's not there anymore.
"He won't realize that really until Spring Training. When Spring Training starts up and you don't have to do anything, that's really the first time you sit back and really think about it."