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Even with Giants in town, draft position not on Rick Renteria’s mind

Rick Renteria looks on during a game earlier this season. | AP

You could argue it’s better for the last-place White Sox and San Francisco Giants to lose games this weekend, to get better positioning for the 2018 draft.

But Sox manager Rick Renteria wasn’t thinking that way before the teams met Friday night to open their three-game series.

“I think their club and our club and every club that plays major-league baseball tries to go out honestly and tries to perform well, tries to win a ballgame,” Renteria said. “I think all those things take care of themselves. They’re not something I think about, worry about, concern myself with.”

For better or worse, the Sox haven’t been winning recently. With Friday’s 9-2 loss, their ninth defeat in their last 11 games, they fell a season-high 32 games below .500 and continued a march toward 100 losses and perhaps the first overall draft pick.

“My biggest concern is, are the players doing what they’re supposed to do, are they gaining experience and knowledge, and are they dealing with situations that occur at any given moment properly?” Renteria said. “And the rest, it is what it is.”

New faces

The Sox announced they’ve purchased the contracts of right-handers Al Alburquerque and Chris Volstad from Class AAA Charlotte to help fill out the staff for the end of the season.

Alburquerque has pitched in parts of seven major-league seasons and went 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA this season in Class AAA, splitting time with the Royals’ affiliate and Charlotte.

“His experience and his ability to come out and maybe eat up some innings when we need to — an inning or two — just gives us a little bit more depth and gives us an opportunity to be able to spell guys when we need to,” Renteria said.

Volstad was 3-10 with a 5.57 ERA and one save at Charlotte. He last pitched in the majors in 2015 with the Pirates.

“We can use him in any number of ways,” Renteria said. “I think he’s going to give us some flexibility.”

Shark night

The Sox will see a familiar face Saturday in Jeff Samardzija. He spent the 2015 season with the Sox, going a disappointing 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA before signing a five-year deal with the Giants that offseason.

Renteria also has a Samardzija connection. He managed the right-hander with the Cubs in 2014 until he was traded that July to the Athletics. Before the trade, Samardzija was 2-7 with a 2.83 ERA and earned an All-Star nod.

“He was a horse — big, strong man who could go out there and eat up some innings with some good stuff,” Renteria said. “Obviously, he was here for a little bit, then went to Oakland, and now obviously with the Giants. He’s a guy with a power arm.”

Follow me on Twitter @BrianSandalow.


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