For Openers…De Aza Homers Twice, Sale Shines, Eaton and Abreu Excel in Debuts as Sox Defeat Twins

Monday, March 31, 2014

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Opening Day News

The Game

At U.S. Cellular Field in front of a sellout crowd of 37,422 on a beautiful 65 degree (at game time) day.

Twins           3    7  0

White Sox    5  11  0

Plays of the Day

Alejandro De Aza blasted a pair of homers, a two-run shot in the second inning (click on link below to watch video), which put the Sox on the board, and a solo blast in the sixth–giving him his first career multi-homer game. He becomes the first White Sox player to hit two home runs on Opening Day since Jim Thome accomplished it in 2008 at Cleveland and is the first Sox player to hit two homers in a home opener since Minnie Minoso in 1960 vs. the Kansas City A’s…In their Sox debuts, Adam Eaton went 2-4 with a run scored and Jose Abreu was 2-4, including a double, with an RBI and run scored. Chris Sale got the winallowing three runs, five hits, and a lone walk while striking out seven in 7.1 IP.

Matt Lindstrom, named the closer earlier in the day, earned the save.

http://atmlb.com/QzZ1qh    

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Sox Notes of Note

The White Sox 25-man roster includes 12 pitchers (five lefties), two catchers, seven infielders and four outfielders…New to the organization are INF Abreu , RHP Belisario, RHP Maikel Cleto, LHP Scott Downs, OF Eaton, C Adrian Nieto and RHP Felipe Paulino…the average age of the club is 27.8 down from 29.6 in 2013. INF Paul Konerko is the oldest player at 38, OF Avi Garcia is the youngest at 22…Abreu, Eaton, A. Garcia, Erik Johnson, Nieto, Marcus Semien and Daniel Webb open the season on a major-league roster for the first time…the Opening Day roster features six rookies–Abreu, Cleto, Johnson, Nieto, Semien and Webb–the most since 1999 (also six). By comparison, there were no rookies on the Sox season-opening roster in 2013…Konerko enters his 16th and final season with the Sox, tied with Frank Thomas (1990-2005) for the fifth longest tenure in club history. Only Hall of Famers RHP Ted Lyons (21 years), SS Luke Appling (20), RHP Red Faber (20) and C Ray Schalk (17) rank ahead of them in this category…Also, Paulie needs five total bases and 21 home runs to tie Thomas’ club records.

Paulie’s Final Opening Day Intro

https://vine.co/v/Me6HT3BVrQw

Opening Day Celebrations

First person I saw at the ballpark early this morning was Roger Bossard, who did a masterful job of getting the field ready. He is celebrating Opening Day #48. For Jeff Szynal, who is in charge of our scoreboard operations, it’s Opening Day #31.

Me, Opening Day #24 (23 with the White Sox).

Best Memories from Opening Day?

High on my list is Bo Jackson’s dramatic return from hip replacement surgery to homer in his very first at-bat in 1993. Here’s that memorable moment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS-Az6n5tTc

Quote of the Day

GM Rick Hahn, in an interview this morning on the McNeil and Spiegel Show on 670 The Score, talked about what it will take for the Sox to contend:

“If that’s going to be the case for us, it’s going to be for two main reasons. First, the starting pitching is going to stay together — John Danks being 18 months post-op is going to return to form, being that guy he was before (and) Chris Sale and Jose Quintana continuing on the upswing that we’ve seen from them the first few years. Additionally, some of our young players are going to wind up immediately (reaching their) ceiling. Not obviously saying that’s going to happen, but in that best-case scenario, Adam Eaton’s going to show you that ability to get on base, run, play defense the way he’s shown throughout his minor league career. Avisail Garcia’s going to not only hit for power but also average and improve that plate discipline a little bit. Jose Abreu’s going to be the same player he was in Cuba. All those guys have that upside. We certainly believe they’re going to reach that upside. Whether that starts on March 31st or it starts midway through the year, that’s for us to play out here.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

Off Day. On Wednesday, White Sox vs. Twins at U.S. Cellular Field (1:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: RHP Paulino for the Sox, RHP Kevin Correia for Minnesota.

Photo of the Day

Chicago native Aja Evans, who won a bronze medal in bobsled at the recent Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, threw out today’s ceremonial first pitch.

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