White Sox notes: Chris Sale, Jose Abreu, Scott Podsednik
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Scott Podsednik, who was asked last week to fill in alongside Ken Harrelson in the TV broadcast booth for the vacationing Steve Stone during the three-game series in Kansas City, didn’t have to think twice about accepting the invitation.
“No, I didn’t want to pass the opportunity up,’’ Podsednik, the leadoff man on the White Sox 2005 World Series championship team, said before Sunday’s game. “Opportunities like this don’t come along, and I was interested to see what it would be like. I was fortunate they considered me for this spot.’’
Podsednik said he currently spends most of his time “chasing his 6- and 5-year-old kids around” and wants to get back into baseball in some form, perhaps in broadcasting or TV.
“Potentially, yeah, I want to get involved somehow,’’ he said. “I don’t know exactly where at this point.’’
Friday night was Podsednik’s first experience in broadcasting.
“It’s a different perspective on this side,’’ he said. “I’ve enjoyed the experience. I was a little tight on Friday but I’ve loosened up as it went along.
“I’m not going to lie, I haven’t watched a lot of White Sox games all year so I was kind of cramming coming in. Just get up there and make comments on what I see, and from a leadoff hitter’s perspective.’’
Chris Sale faces the Angels Monday when the Sox open a six-game home stand. With a 1-3 record and 7.61 ERA over his last four starts, Sale’s sideline session with pitching coach Don Cooper Saturday appeared to be a little more intense than usual.
“Right now, it’s just kind of a reboot and check off all those things we usually go through because sometimes it can get knocked out of whack,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.
When Sale goes through a rut, it never lasts for long. His bullpen sessions vary on intensity, some very light for the purpose of staying fresh, but Saturday’s was a little more involved.
“It can be [mechanical tweaks],’’ Ventura said. “It can also be the focus. There’s probably some of it that he can get caught up in the strikeout thing and the pressure of keeping that going. There’s a little bit of everything that goes back into it. It’s just to refocus, make sure all of your checklist is marked off exactly the way you want it. Sometimes there can be an imbalance with all that. You want to be able to get that refocused and get back to doing what you were doing that made you successful in the first place.’’
Sale, who leads the American League with 186 strikeouts (Chris Archer is second with 180) is 9-7 with a 3.52 ERA. He is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA lifetime against the Angels.
Jose Abreu has hit safely in 17 of 18 games, hitting .348 with seven homers and 21 RBI during that stretch. He has five homers in his last nine games after hitting a pair in a 7-6 loss Saturday.
Ventura attributes the hot streak to Abreu, who is over a sore finger, to feeling better physically.
“As hard as he hits the ball it’s hard to keep that pace if you’re not feeling right,’’ Ventura said. “Right now he feels good and that’s why he’s hitting the ball harder and farther. When he feels good he’s a better hitter.’’
Ventura shuffled the lineup Sunday, getting rookie Trayce Thompson a start in center field and sliding Adam Eaton into the designated hitter spot while giving Adam LaRoche the day off against Royals lefty Danny Duffy. Eaton is dealing with a sore left shoulder. Ventura also gave Tyler Saladino a rest and started Gordon Beckham at third base.
Sunday starter Jose Quintana is 0-6 with a 4.63 ERA in 15 career starts against the Royals. Quintana is 4-4 with a 2.78 ERA over his last 13 starts.