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Tough to leave Yanks, but Blake Rutherford quickly moving on with Sox

Blake Rutherford was hitting .281 with two home runs, 30 RBIs and nine stolen bases for the Class A Charleston RiverDogs when he was traded by the Yankees to the White Sox organization. (AP)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Blake Rutherford didn’t deny he came to the White Sox organization with mixed emotions.

“It was definitely difficult to leave the [Yankees] organization — I grew up a big Yankee fan — but also because of the relationships I had with a lot of my teammates,” said Rutherford, the 20-year-old outfielder who was the key prospect in the deal that sent Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees. “But I was overjoyed with excitement [to join the White Sox] and just ready to get going. They’re building something really special here with all the great prospects they’re getting and all the great players they have in the major leagues.”

Rutherford said he emulates Miami outfielder Christian Yelich, a fellow Southern Californian who has been a model of consistency and all-around play since reaching the big leagues at 21 in 2013.

“I’ve gotten to work out with him, and I’m actually pretty cool friends with him,” Rutherford said. “So just being able to see how he works and picking things up from him . . . hopefully be the type of player he is. That would be a huge accomplishment, knowing how much success he’s already had at the big-league level and how fast he was able to get up there.”

Ready to roll

Left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin, another former first-round pick (33rd overall in 2013) acquired in the Frazier trade, will make his first start for Winston-Salem on Sunday. Clarkin’s career was sidetracked by injuries: an ankle injury in 2014 and an elbow injury that didn’t require surgery in 2015. He was 4-5 with a 2.62 ERA with high-A Tampa before the trade.

“The day that I got traded, I was playing catch with [Tim Norton], our pitching coach in Tampa, and he goes, ‘Man, this is the best you’ve looked since I’ve had you,’ ” Clarkin said. “And I’ve worked with [him] for three years. He said that was the best breaking ball I’ve thrown to him in all three years. Same thing with the change-up and the fastball. The key for me is just consistency. I showed flashes of what I can do and then sometimes it’s just inconsistent. But I feel like I’m ready to step on the gas now. I feel ready to go.”

Sox add Lowe, Machi

The Sox have acquired veteran right-handed relievers Mark Lowe and Jean Machi from the Seattle Mariners for cash. Both were with the Mariners’ Class AAA team and will report to Charlotte.

Lowe, 34, is 10-27 with a 4.22 ERA in 382 big-league appearances over 11 seasons. Machi, 35, is 13-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 194 appearances over five seasons — including a 7-1 record for the World Series champion Giants in 2014. He was 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA in five appearances with the Mariners this season.

Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash.

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

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