April 2013

White Sox Get Dramatic Win in Retro Uniforms, Now Head to D.C., Cleveland and Toronto

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Today’s News
 
Throwback Sunday
 
If it’s Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field this season, you’ll be sure to see the Sox wearing replica 1983 uniforms honoring the ’83 “Winning Ugly” White Sox that won the A.L. West.
 
The new old uniforms were all the buzz during batting practice today as players were already asking manager Robin Ventura about the chance to wear them more than just Sundays.
 
“You look like a natural in that,” I told coach Harold Baines, who of course played a key role in the ’83 team’s success. And take a look at Jake Peavy in the photo below, accepting his 2012 Gold Glove Award before the game in his retro uni.
 
The batting practice tops are especially sharp looking and the players raved about the comfort. Early season reports from The Chicago Sports Depot across the street show fans like the retro look as well, with sales up.
 
But will you see the uniforms more than just home Sundays?
 
“Let’s win a game in them first,” a clubhouse sage noted before the game.
 
Well, I’m happy to say that the Sox got their first win in those uniforms today, powered by a two-run homer by Adam Dunn and solo blasts by Alex Rios and Dayan Viciedo, the latter a walk-off shot in the 10th to give us the 4-3 victory. Kudos also to starter Chris Sale and the bullpen trio of Matt Lindstrom, Jesse Crain and Addison Reed, who each worked a scoreless inning. Reed added a win to his three saves. 
 
The Sox ended the season’s first homestand with a 4-2 mark.
 
 
 
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Law, Cruz Represent ’83 Sox
 
Leadoff hitter and centerfielder Rudy Law, who stole 77 bases in 1983, and flashy second baseman Julio Cruz, who added enormous energy and speed to the ’83 lineup, were in the house today. They signed autographs for the fans and participated in the ceremonial first pitch festivities. Here is Law reminiscing about that memorable ’83 season.
 
 
The Final Two
 
Embarking on their first road trip of the young season, the White Sox will be getting together as a team tomorrow night to watch Louisville and Michigan clash in the national championship game. The Sox open a three-game series with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night and head to Cleveland for three and Toronto for four.
 
Congratulations…
 
…to Michigan alums Rick Hahn, Scott Merkin (mlb.com) and former Sox players Chris Getz (Royals) and Clayton Richard (Padres)–those are the only ones I can think of this morning, but I’m sure there are others–on last night’s win over Syracuse. But c’mon, let’s make a free throw at the end to save on the stress.
 
Friendly Advice
 
A sign in the clubhouse reminded players to pack carefully for the road trip to Washington, D.C., Cleveland and then Toronto.
 
“Remember to pack your black shoes,” it read.
 
Smile
 
Four teenage boys will be surprised when they see their on-the-field photo from batting practice. Sneaking up behind the four as they posed for a lifetime memory was 6-foot-5 bench coach Mark Parent, smiling broadly as he provided two of them with “bunny ears.”
 
Rocky Mountain HIgh
 
Righty Jon Garland won 92 games for the White Sox in eight seasons on the South Side, including back-to-back 18-win seasons in the world championship year of 2005 and 2006 and an All-Star nod in ’05. Plus, along with pitching mates Jose Contreras, Mark Buehrle and Freddy Garcia, Sox starters pitched four consecutive complete-game victories in the ’05 ALCS to end the series, the first time the feat was accomplished since the 1928 Yankees. 
 
Since leaving the Sox, Garland pitched for the L.A. Angels, Arizona Diamondbacks, L.A. Dodgers and San Diego Padres, but because of undergoing right-shoulder surgery he hadn’t seen action since June 1 of 2011 with the Dodgers. Until last night that is, when he made a successful comeback with the Colorado Rockies, allowing just two runs and five hits in six innings of work for the victory over the Padres in Denver.
 
Welcome back, Jon!
 
Bob Seger
 
Everyone in the clubhouse who attended last night’s Bob Seger concert at the UC was raving.
 
“Top four concert in my life,” Jake Peavy said, with enthusiasm (which, as true fans know. needs to be put into some context because everything Jake says is with enthusiasm).
 
Hoops Visionary
 
Many years before college basketball and the NCAA tournament were as popular as they are today, Sox Vice Chairman Eddie Einhorn was way ahead of everybody. Read more.
 
 
Quote of the Day
 
Bo Jackson, a proud Auburn product, to White Sox 3B Jeff Keppinger, a former Georgia star, on Opening Day: “Did they ever fix the dent I put in that light tower at your field?”
 
Play of the Day
 
Viciedo’s walk-off homer. And the celebration begins…
 
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Tomorrow’s Schedule
 
Off day. On Tuesday, White Sox vs. Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. (6:05 p.m., CT, WCIU). Probable starters: Jake Peavy (1-0) for the Sox vs. Gio Gonzalez (1-0) for Washington.
 
Did You Know…
 
…that Conor Gillaspie’s father, Mark, was an All-America outfielder at Mississippi State in 1981 and was selected in the 11th round by the Padres in the ’81 June Amateur Draft? It is also interesting to note that in the years following the elder Gillaspie’s honor, MSU had a string of outstanding players who went on to excel in the major leagues. They included Rafael Palmiero, Will Clark, Jeff Brantley and former Sox closer and current bullpen coach, Bobby Thigpen.
 
Photo of the Day
 
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Sox Executive VP Ken Williams is shown here playing guitar with an “Air Band” at WVON’s star-studded 50th anniversary event last night at the Chicago Theatre. Toni Braxton provided the featured entertainment and rocked the house.

A Win to Savor

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Today’s News
 
King Felix Dethroned
 
Facing “King Felix” Hernandez is never an easy task. But with a revamped lineup featuring five lefthanded hitters against the tough righty, the Sox rose to the occasion and defeated the 2010 Cy Young Award winner and the Mariners this afternoon, 4-3. Alex Rios delivered the big blow with a two-run homer in the sixth inning, his second blast in as many games. Conor Gillaspie, in his first start in a Sox uniform, tripled and scored on a Hector Gimenez sacrifice fly in the fifth. The fourth Sox run scored in the seventh on a Alejandro De Aza sac fly that scored Gillaspie, who followed up his key triple with a single and moved to third on an Alexei Ramirez double. 
 
Pitching-wise, starter Dylan Axelrod was outstanding in 5.2 innings of work, allowing only one unearned run on three hits. Donnie Veal (who got credit for the victory), Nate Jones and Jesse Crain ended the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, respectively, by inducing key outs. Addison Reed recorded his third save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
 
Take a look at the Rios homer:
 
 
The Windy City
 
While Spring arrived in the third inning today with temperatures reaching 65 degrees, the windy conditions were the closest you can get to San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
 
A Cold Night
 
It was very cold last night, but not necessarily the coldest day anyone could remember around here.
 
“When I went out to the mound to get (Matt) Lindstrom last night,” Sox manager Robin Ventura laughed this morning, “I got out there and thought, “Man, it’s really cold out here.’”
 
But Ventura recalls a night game when the Sox faced Roger Clemens.
 
“It was like last night but even colder,” he said. “We sent the batboys out to buy tennis racquet grips for the bats.”
 
PK Climbing the Ladder
 
With his base hit last night, Paul Konerko moved past Frank Thomas into sole possession of third place on the all-time White Sox hit list with 2,137. Only Hall of Famers Luke Appling (2,749) and Nellie Fox (2,470) rank above Paulie.
 
The Third Man
 
Since most teams don’t carry a third catcher on their roster, one lucky position player is always designated as the team’s “third catcher” and spends time in spring training and during the season honing his emergency skills behind the plate. For the Sox this year, it is Gillaspie.
 
At one point in the 1990s, it was Robin…”for about 20 minutes,” the skipper joked.
 
Ventura described a game where the Sox started a man down. Ron Karkovice was on the DL and Mike “Spanky” LaValliere gave it a go but a few innings into the game, warned he might not make it nine innings.
 
A quick look up and down the bench showed few candidates. RV volunteered.
 
“A lefty was pitching, so I wasn’t playing that day,” he recounts. “I put on the gear and they drove me around the tunnel to the bullpen in a golf cart. I went out and Mark Salas gave me a quick tutorial on how to catch. So I’m down in the bullpen catching and apparently (Sox GM) Ron Schueler saw me. He called down and said, ‘Get him out of there.’”
 
And that’s how Robin’s career as an emergency catcher lasted 20 minutes.
 
I told him he should have put the equipment on and then make a dramatic run out to the bullpen.
 
1983
 
Beginning tomorrow, the White Sox will commemorate their 1983 American League West division championship by wearing ’83 replica uniforms for every Sunday home game. Those “Winning Ugly” Sox, managed by Tony LaRussa, won 99 games and finished the season 20 games ahead of the second-place Kansas City Royals.
 
Here are Reed and coach Harold Baines, one of the stars of that ’83 team, modeling the vintage unis along this year’s retro racers. They are “Racing Pudge” (Carlton Fisk), “Racing Harold” and “Racing Kitty” (Ron Kittle). Fisk and Kittle, of course, were also key cogs on the ’83 team with Gary, IN native Kittle winning the A.L. Rookie of the Year award.
 
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Familiar Voice
 
When you sit down tonight to watch the NCAA Final Four semifinal games, you might hear the familiar voice of White Sox PA announcer Gene Honda, who once again will miss a few Sox games this homestand to call another NCAA championship.
 
A Day to Remember
 
Today was pretty special for Sox backup catcher Hector Gimenez, a switch-hitter who was in the lineup today against Hernandez. His Dad was here from Venezuela and it was the first time the senior Gimenez saw his son play in the major leagues. Hector delivered with a key sac fly.

 

Happy Birthday
 
A happy 49th birthday to Ken Williams. A piece of the famous Levy carrot cake was delivered in the second inning to help him celebrate the occasion.
 
Quote(s) of the Day
 
Robin on Axelrod’s performance:
 
“Ax was great. He did what he needed to do to get us to that point, then Rios with a big homer. He showed he could pitch with anybody.”
 
RV on Gillaspie’s day:
 
“He looked good today. For Conor, he wants to be a storm chaser, it’s a perfect day for him…He’s a tough kid, plays hard and has a compact swing that has a lot of pop with it, too.”
 
Play of the Day
 
The Rios homer, but honorable mention goes to Gillaspie and Axelrod
 
Tomorrow’s Schedule
 
White Sox vs Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field (1:10 p.m., CT, WGN) in the rubber game of the series. Probable starters: Chris Sale for the Sox, Hisashi Iwakuma for Seattle.
 
Did You Know…
 
…that Jake Peavy, who will officially be presented with his 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove Award” before tomorrow’s series finale vs. the Mariners, is the third pitcher (sixth time) in White Sox history to win the award, joining lefthanders Jim Kaat (1974-75) and Mark Buehrle (2009-11).
 
Photo of the Day
 
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Dylan excels while “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Sox Host Mariners in First Weekend Series of the Season

Friday, April 5, 2013

Today’s News
 
Tonight’s Game
 
White Sox vs. Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field (7:05 p.m., CT, WCIU). Starters: Jose Quintana for the Sox, Blake Beavan for the Mariners.
Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, cf; Keppinger, 2b; Rios, rf; Dunn, dh; Konerko, lb; Viciedo, lf; Ramirez, ss; Flowers, c; Beckham, 2b.
 
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Pitchers Take BP
 
Despite very cool, call it cold, temps and a breeze, Sox pitchers took batting practice in advance of the team’s trip to face the Nationals in Washington, D.C. next week. Extra players also took early BP.
They Call it Work Ethic
Paul Konerko–despite needing only one hit to move into sole possession of third place on the franchise’s all-time hit list (he’s now tied with Frank Thomas at 2,156)–was working in the batting cage at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon, well before regular pregame batting practice started.
 
Speaking of PK
Paulie, a huge hockey fan, was in attendance at last night’s Blackhawks-Blues game at the United Center. Here’s Paulie talking baseball and pucks with Blackhawk legends Bobby Hull (left) and Denis Savard.
 (Photo courtesy of Chicago Blackhawks).
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Calling All Foodies
 
For new fan favorite recipes, make sure to check our our Sox Tailgating Secrets every Thursday and Sunday before the game in section 157. And find photos of the food plus recipe cards on our Pinterest board.
Against the Wind
 
Bob Seger fans are likely to spy a few Sox staff and players at the “Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band” concert at the UC tomorrow night. I wonder who will be dancing to “Night Moves.”
 
Quote of the Day
 
Robin on Paulie’s consistency and leadership qualities:
“He’s been a good hitter throughout his career, but to hold it up year after year after year takes a lot of discipline and talent. He’s always in the cage and always thinking about (hitting)…You have a guy like him and people see what he’s doing–and he’s always been that way. He is a leader and he doesn’t have to yell and scream. It’s by example and if he needs to say something he’ll say it.” 
 
Play(s) of the Day
Two of the Sox’s four full season minor-league affiliates opened their seasons last night. Tyler Saladino and Trayce Thompson homered for Class AA Birmingtham in a 5-2 win at Montgomery…Kale Kiser went 4-5 with two doubles and four RBI for Class Kannapolis in a 9-2 victory at Lakewood. Class AAA Charlotte was rained out.
 
Tomorrow’s Schedule
White Sox vs. Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field (12:10 p.m., CT, CSN+). Probable starters are Dylan Axelrod for the Sox, Felix Hernandez for Seattle.
 
Did You Know…
…that the White Sox lead the American League and rank second in the major leagues with a 1.00 ERA (3 ER/27 IP) while the Sox bullpen is tied with the Dodgers for the major league lead with a 0.00 ERA?
 
Photo of the Day

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In his first series as the Sox’s starting catcher, Tyler Flowers batted .571 (4-7) with two homers and posted a .700 on-base percentage against the Royals this week.

No Sweep, But Sox Take Series From Royals

Thursday, April 4, 2013
 
Today’s News
 
Sox Game Highlights
 
Gavin Floyd worked six innings, allowing just two earned runs, four hits and a walk along with five strikeouts in today’s 3-1 loss to the Royals, which followed Sox victories in the first two games of the season-opening series…Hector Santiago pitched three scoreless innings in relief…Alejandro De Aza singled in the lone Sox run in the fifth …Gordon Beckham was 4-4 with four singles…Tyler Flowers also reached base four times on a single, two walks and was hit by a pitch.
 
“Gavin pitched well enough to get the win today,” Robin said after the game. “He was aggressive and got first pitch strikes. To me, tip your hat to (K.C. starter Jeremy) Guthrie and what he did.”
 
Quote of the Day
 
Asked about the Sabermetric opposition to utilizing the sacrifice bunt and giving up outs in general, Robin said: “There are a lot of those guys out there, but they’re not sitting in this seat. It’s a different feel when you’re a player or a manager than it is to write down numbers on a piece of paper.”
 
The question came up in reference to Robin’s decision to have De Aza bunt two baserunners over with no outs in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s game. Robin said the decision wasn’t a no-brainer, but made sense in that De Aza is a good bunter and Jeff Keppinger, a good bat-handler, was the next hitter.
 
Play of the Day
 
Flowers and Beckham, the Sox’s eighth and ninth place hitters, reached base every time up–a total of eight plate appearances.
 
Tomorrow’s Schedule
 
White Sox vs. Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 .m., CT, WCIU). Probable starters are Jose Quintana for the Sox and Blake Beavan for Seattle.
 
Did You Know…
 
…that Flowers has joined Sherm Lollar (1958) as the only catchers in White Sox history to homer in each of the first two games of the season? Flowers also is the first Sox player since Paul Konerko in 2010 to homer in the first two games and the first major-league catcher to accomplish the feat since Atlanta’s Brian McCann in 2007.
 
Photo of the Day
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Beckham has a perfect day at the plate today against the Royals.

Two in a Row

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Today’s News
 
Game Highlights: Pitching and Power
 
Jake Peavy gave up only one earned run and four hits in six innings along with six strikeouts in chalking up his first win of the season…Jesse Crain, Donnie Veal, Matt Lindstrom, Matt Thornton and Addison Reed, who recorded his second save, combined for three scoreless innings…Adam Dunn, Tyler Flowers and Alexei Ramirez hit solo homers while Dayan Viciedo smashed a two-run shot as the Sox won, 5-2, to remain unbeaten.
 
Sox to Host Civil Rights Game
 
Major League Baseball and the White Sox announced yesterday at a U.S. Cellular Field press conference that the Sox will be the host of the seventh annual Civil Rights Game, Saturday, August 24 against the Texas Rangers. The Sox previously participated in the event when it was held in Memphis and Cincinnati.
 
“This game isn’t just the game,” Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said at the press gathering. “The majority of people in this country were probably not alive when (Dr.) King was killed, and certainly weren’t alive when Jackie Robinson came into the game. Just like the majority of people weren’t alive for the Holocaust. We just can’t have people forgetting what went on if we’re going to be a country where we truly have opportunity for everybody.”
 
Here are Reinsdorf, MLB exec and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (left) and Sox EVP Kenny Williams at the presser.
 
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One Who Knows
 
While there was a collective gasp among sports fans and non-sports fans alike in the wake of the leg injury to Kevin Ware of Louisville on Sunday, only a few can fully understand. Robin Ventura is one of them, having suffered a devastating injury himself. Please see the links below:
 
 
 
My Memory of Robin’s Injury
 
Watching Ware’s injury on Sunday, my mind couldn’t help but flash back to that sad night in 1997 during spring training in Sarasota when Robin suffered his horrible injury.
 
With two out in the inning, Robin rounded third base and tried to score. He slid into home and was out at the plate. In the press box at Ed Smith Stadium, I vividly remember being focused on Robin even as the teams began to run off the field. I even recall saying, “Look at his leg.” 
 
Unfortunately my fears were realized. Robin endured a compound fracture and, with the injury, most of our hopes for the ’97 season ended.
 
My other memory of that night was of Robin’s wife Stephanie. I remember that she had gone out to dinner early that evening and came to the ballpark just moments before the incident.
 
Sunday made me remember that night as if it were yesterday.  
 
Goal!!
 
Crain took in Monday night’s Blackhawks game at the United Center and taught Chicago fans a lesson: don’t challenge a baseball player born in Canada!
 
The BHawks had Crain shoot the puck between periods and the Sox reliever promptly sent his first puck right down the middle, just missing one of the openings. His third shot was a winner.
 
I gave him props during BP today.
 
“Don’t mess with a Canadian on the ice,” I joked, “but I expected a bigger celebration.”
 
“Act like you’ve been there before,” he smiled.
 
Here’s Crain in action on the ice:
 
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Funny Stuff
 
Treat yourself and check out the new–and hilarious–extended version of our #MAKEANIMPACT commercial plus outtakes. 
 
 
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Quote of the Day
 
Royals’ manager Ned Yost on the White Sox pitching staff and Peavy in particular after being on the losing end of two well-pitched games: “They’re good for a reason…Like Sale was (on Monday), I thought Jake threw the ball very well and was on top of his game.”
 
Play of the Day
 
With the Sox leading 4-2 in the seventh inning, Lindstrom made his first appearance in a Sox uniform and dramatically ended a Royals’ rally by retiring Alcides Escobar with the bases loaded and two outs.
 
Tomorrow’s Schedule
 
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (1:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Probable starters are Gavin Floyd for the Sox and Jeremy Guthrie for the Royals.
 
Did You Know…
 
…that Dunn’s first homer of the season in the second inning of today’s game was his 407th and ties him with Hall of Famer Duke Snider for 48th place on the all-time home run list? And that Paul Konerko’s sixth inning double tied Frank Thomas for third place on the Sox’s hit list with 2,136?
 
Photo of the Day
 
Today it’s a video of Tyler Flowers’ second home run in as many games, which gave the Sox a lead they never relinquished.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Today’s News

Opening Day Highlights: Cause for Celebration

It was an exciting 1-0 victory over the Royals in front of a sellout crowd of 39,012…Chris Sale, who outdueled James Shields for the win, was sensational in 7 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out seven…Tyler Flowers fifth-inning solo homer was the difference…Gordon Beckham made a terrific stab in the seventh to quiet a K.C. rally…Matt Thornton struck out Mike Moustakas with two outs in the eighth with the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on first…Addison Reed came on in the ninth and got the save…Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios each had a pair of hits.

And this is only the second time ever that the Sox have won 1-0 on Opening Day. The last time it happened was 2005.

I’m just saying…

Robin’s Postgame comments:

RV said Sale did a good job keeping his emotions in check and was efficient with his pitches. He commented on Flowers special day–catching a shutout and hitting a game-winning homer. The skipper added that it’s Flowers’ time.

Bo

Bo Jackson, who on Opening Day 20 years ago hit a home run in his first at bat since his hip surgery, threw out the ceremonial first pitch today. His catcher? Former teammate Ventura, who insisted on catching Bo’s first pitch: “The last time we did this (2005 World Series) it worked out pretty well,” Robin said.

When told that Bo threatened to bounce one in on him, Ventura replied: “He won’t. I know him better than that. But I did bring my good glove.”

Bo was quite proud of his “92-mph cheese” first pitch, saying that Jerry Reinsdorf should sign him to pitch. But when he came off the field he called out to trainer Herm Schneider, “Hermie, I need some ice.” Herm, of course, was instrumental in Bo’s recovery.

Bo also had an interesting exchange with the Chairman. Jerry teasingly said, “Who can forget Opening Day 1993?” Bo, with tongue firmly in cheek, said, “What happened…”

Take a look at the “first pitch” video.

https://vine.co/v/bI66DVmdwYJ 

More Bo

Bo was asked by the media if he had seen the recent ESPN 30-30 show focusing on him. 

“I didn’t have to see it. I lived it.”

Bo later admitted ESPN sent him an advanced copy and he did watch it. “The only thing in there that wasn’t true was they said I jumped over a ditch 40 feet wide. It was more like 20-22 feet. Now, in more than 10 years, it might be 50 feet wide.”

Other Scenes from Opening Day

Here’s video of the White Sox pregame intros and photos of batting practice from the view in centerfield and the new addition honoring the club’s retired numbers.

vine.co/v/bI6rDUaPVqg

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Lars Redux

The Sox have reacquired non-roster first baseman Lars Anderson from Toronto. Anderson is headed to Class AAA Charlotte.

Quote(s) of the Day

Robin on his expectations for this year’s White Sox: 

“I want to get to the playoffs. (Beyond that) we’ll figure it out when we get there. That’s the first thing that has to happen.”

Rick Hahn on the fact the Sox were in first place 117 days last season and his outlook for 2013: 

“This team’s focus right now is being in first place only one day and that’s at the end of the season.”

Play of the Day

With apologies to Chris and Tyler, who certainly deserve kudos as well, let’s go with Beckham’s brilliant rally-killing catch.

Tomorrow’s Schedule

Off day. On Wednesday, White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (1:10 p.m., CT, WGN). Probable starters are Jake Peavy for the Sox vs. Ervin Santana for the Royals.

Did You Know…

…that Paul Konerko needs one hit to tie Frank Thomas for third in White Sox history with 2,136…14 doubles for 400…54 games to tie Hall of Famer Nellie Fox for second in Sox annals with 2,115…and 33 homers to tie Thomas for first in Sox history with 448?

Photo of the Day

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 Sale and Flowers: Opening Day Heroes

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