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Shields outdueled in stellar night on mound

Veteran right-hander strikes out five in seven innings in loss to M's
MLB.com @scottmerkin

SEATTLE -- James Shields started the second half of the 2018 season at Safeco Field doing pretty much what he did throughout the season's first half for the White Sox: Pitching well, but not getting a victory.

Seattle claimed a 3-1 win Friday night, despite Shields (4-11) going seven innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits while striking out five. The right-hander has worked at least six innings 15 times in his last 17 trips to the mound.

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SEATTLE -- James Shields started the second half of the 2018 season at Safeco Field doing pretty much what he did throughout the season's first half for the White Sox: Pitching well, but not getting a victory.

Seattle claimed a 3-1 win Friday night, despite Shields (4-11) going seven innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits while striking out five. The right-hander has worked at least six innings 15 times in his last 17 trips to the mound.

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The veteran hurler is doing now for the White Sox (33-63) what the club needed him to do when they acquired him from San Diego for infield prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. in 2016. As Shields has stressed on a number of occasions, his body has responded better overall in '18 compared to past seasons with the White Sox.

"Yeah, my body is feeling good," said Shields after throwing 62 of his 103 pitches for strikes. "That's my main focus this whole entire year. I'm responding really well every start. Trying to grind this thing out."

Video: CWS@SEA: Renteria talks after road loss in Seattle

"Again, tremendous outing by James. He kept us in there," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Gives us seven innings of great pitching. Got through a couple little pieces of traffic, but otherwise did a very, very nice job. It's what he's been doing quite a bit now for us this season. As I was mentioning, his record doesn't reflect his performance. He's really been throwing the ball really, really well."

Daniel Palka doubled home a run off of Seattle starter Wade LeBlanc in the first, but Nelson Cruz's sacrifice fly tied the game in the bottom of the inning. The Mariners scored the deciding run on Ryon Healy's 107.7 mph grounder off of third baseman Yolmer Sanchez in the fourth inning, with runners on first and third and one out.

Video: CWS@SEA: Palka crushes an RBI double to center field

Sanchez appeared to have a play at the plate on Kyle Seager after recovering the hard-hit grounder, although it would have been a tough angle on the throw. But he went to first base for the second out and Seager scored. Renteria backed Sanchez's decision.

"It would have been tough, only because knocking it down, he was going to be off balance," Renteria said. "If he forces that, we don't get an out there. He scores a run anyways. He did exactly what he should have done: He secured an out and didn't allow that to keep developing."

LeBlanc, who struck out a career-high-tying 10, retired 11 in a row after a two-out walk issued to Yoan Moncada in the fourth, but departed after Omar Narvaez's eighth-inning single.The southpaw battled Shields in what was the right-hander's 395th career start. Shields' five strikeouts gave him 2,177 overall and moved him past Vida Blue for 65th place on the all-time list.

Those numbers represent a body of career-long consistency for Shields. It's the sort of consistency potentially sought after by a playoff contender, with Shields an affordable choice behind the remainder of $10 million owed him in '18 on his four-year, $75 million deal agreed upon with the Padres prior to 2015.

"I mean, you know, I've been in this game a long time. I understand the business part," said Shields, who has a team option for $16 million in '19 along with a $2 million buyout. "But I only can control what I can control.

"That's go out every five days and pitch the best I can for my team I'm playing for right now. So, I'm going to go out every five days and pitch my game and see what happens."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Coming up short: The White Sox had runners on the corners with two outs in the eighth, and Leury Garcia facing reliever Alex Colome. Garcia hit the ball reasonably hard to center, but he also hit it right at Guillermo Heredia to end the inning and keep the White Sox trailing by one.

Video: SEA@CWS: Colome strands two runners in the 8th

SOUND SMART
Moncada increased his consecutive on-base streak to 13 games. He has 10 walks and 16 hits during that stretch, having reached base in every game but one during July after going 4-for-27 in his previous six games before the streak.

HE SAID IT
"It hasn't been the greatest season in the world for us, but at the end of the day, we are still grinding and competing. We gave ourselves a chance to win tonight and, unfortunately, we didn't get it done."--Shields, on his 21st start this season

UP NEXT
Dylan Covey (3-5, 5.69) is scheduled to make his 12th start of the season and second in his career vs. Seattle with a 9:10 p.m. CT first pitch at Safeco Field on Saturday. Felix Hernandez gets the start for the Mariners. Covey is 0-4 with an 11.70 ERA, six homers allowed, .349 opponents' batting average and 2.25 WHIP over his last five starts.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, James Shields

Abreu happy to talk about ASG, not rumors

MLB.com @scottmerkin

SEATTLE -- There will be a fair share of trade talk involving White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu leading into the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Even in the process of trying to work his way out of a slump that dropped his average from .319 on May 26 to .253 entering Friday's second-half opener in Seattle, Abreu remains one of the most dangerous middle-of-the-order hitters in all of baseball. He is earning $13 million this season and is under team control for '19.

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SEATTLE -- There will be a fair share of trade talk involving White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu leading into the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Even in the process of trying to work his way out of a slump that dropped his average from .319 on May 26 to .253 entering Friday's second-half opener in Seattle, Abreu remains one of the most dangerous middle-of-the-order hitters in all of baseball. He is earning $13 million this season and is under team control for '19.

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But whether those trade winds push Abreu toward Houston, Colorado or any other logical landing place, Abreu won't spend any time talking about just the possibility.

"We don't talk about things we can't control," said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "We talk about the positive things. We talk about motivational things.

"Like I said, I'm really glad to be in this organization. I would like to stay in this organization forever. As for rumors, we don't talk about rumors."

Tweet from @whitesox: Jos�� Abreu had an exciting two days in Washington, D.C., preparing for the 2018 #AllStarGame, which ended in a 10-inning 8-6 American League victory.PHOTOS:

Abreu will talk about his second All-Star experience and his first career start at first base for the American League team, playing out Monday and Tuesday in Washington, D.C. He raved about having his wife, Yusmary, his sons, Dariel Eduardo and Josue Dariel, and his parents with him as part of his family and close friends' contingency.

He also talked about Aaron Judge's impressive batting-practice session and his favorite moment coming before Tuesday's game.

"The meeting with the manager from Houston, AJ Hinch, it was a very motivational meeting," Abreu said. "He treated us all with respect. He spoke from the bottom of his heart. It was very special.

"Aaron Judge. Wow, it was incredible. He's not a human."

Aside from being with his family, Abreu's greatest thrill was representing the White Sox. It's an opportunity played out with the best of the game, even if Abreu humbly doesn't consider himself on that same level.

"As a person? Yes," said a smiling Abreu. "My mom and my dad they taught me to be grateful. The White Sox organization were the ones who gave me the opportunity to make my mom's dream come true and my dream come true too.

"I'm really honored and grateful for that opportunity. It's something that will always be with me."

Garcia set to return

Avisail Garcia, sidelined by a Grade 1 right hamstring strain since July 9, will come off the disabled list prior to Saturday night's game vs. the Mariners, although nothing was official as of Friday night. Outfielder Ryan LaMarre was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte to make room following Seattle's 3-1 victory over the White Sox. 

"For sure this weekend," Garcia said. "I'm ready to go."

"We did some cutoffs and relays, he did some outfield defensive work earlier today," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He's going to go thorough [batting practice] and then we'll see how he responds from that. But he's been feeling good."

Garcia previously missed from April 24 to June 22 with a Grade 2 right hamstring strain. He knew this injury would take less recovery time.

"Yeah, 100 percent. The next day I was walking like normally," Garcia said. "But I feel good. I feel ready."

Delmonico makes his return

After appearing in 10 rehab games with Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham, Nicky Delmonico returned to the White Sox lineup Friday night. He was placed on the disabled list on May 19 with a fractured finger on his right hand.

"A couple games into Charlotte I felt like I was getting my timing back. I felt good," Delmonico said. "I felt like I was seeing all pitches, which was really good to feel.

"Going into at-bats eight weeks away from seeing live pitching, that's when you want to see, 'Am I recognizing everything? Am I on time?' I felt really good. It's awesome to see everybody and to be back with the team that you started out with. It's a lot of fun when you walk in and see everybody."

Kopech returning to dominance

Michael Kopech, the No. 2 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, has fanned 20 and walked two over his last two starts for Charlotte, covering 12 innings. He had walked 22 over his previous 23 innings pitched.

"His last two outings have been dominant. That would be a good way of describing it," Renteria said. "It's just a matter of allowing him to do it consistently.

"Again, there's still a large window here as we're moving forward to have him continue to have starts down there and continue to pitch and hopefully do well and repeat what he's doing. You can't expect it to happen all of the time, but as long as he's moving in the right direction, we're pretty happy with the progress he's making."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu, Nicky Delmonico, Avisail Garcia, Michael Kopech

Inbox: Who is White Sox likeliest trade chip?

Beat reporter Scott Merkin answers questions from fans
MLB.com @scottmerkin

Between now and the non-waiver Deadline, if you had to rate a player's chance of getting traded between 1 and 5, how would you rate Jose Abreu, Luis Avilan, James Shields and Joakim Soria? And why?
-- James, Highland Park, @ChiSoxJames

If 5 is the most likely to be traded and 1 represents the least likely, I would rate Soria and Avilan a 4. I would rate Shields a 3 or 2 and Abreu a 1. I still don't believe the rightfully high value the White Sox place upon Abreu will be matched by opposing teams, but quality late-inning relievers such as Soria and Avilan will be in demand.

Between now and the non-waiver Deadline, if you had to rate a player's chance of getting traded between 1 and 5, how would you rate Jose Abreu, Luis Avilan, James Shields and Joakim Soria? And why?
-- James, Highland Park, @ChiSoxJames

If 5 is the most likely to be traded and 1 represents the least likely, I would rate Soria and Avilan a 4. I would rate Shields a 3 or 2 and Abreu a 1. I still don't believe the rightfully high value the White Sox place upon Abreu will be matched by opposing teams, but quality late-inning relievers such as Soria and Avilan will be in demand.

Assuming a spot in the rotation opens up after the Trade Deadline, who will be the first in line to fill the void? Michael Kopech? Jordan Stephens? Maybe Carson Fulmer?
-- Antonio, Chicago, @Squints1914

Go with Kopech (ranked No. 2 in the team's farm system by MLB Pipeline). Remember it's all about Kopech being deemed ready for the promotion by the White Sox, whether or not there's an opening. But that time should come soon for Kopech, who has 20 strikeouts vs. two walks over his past two starts. Fulmer appears to be following a reliever's path at this point for Triple-A Charlotte.

:: Submit a question to the White Sox Inbox ::

Is there a greater than zero chance a big-name superstar comes to the South Side in free agency?
-- Joe, Milwaukee, @jnez50

Without a doubt. Per Cot's Contracts, the White Sox have $10.9 million in pre-arbitration payroll commitments going into 2019, a mere $4.5 million in '20, and $7.25 million in '21, so they have plenty of room to maneuver. Those superstars need to want to come to the South Side, but the White Sox are putting together an impressive young core as a selling point. Bryce Harper or Manny Machado would obviously make any team considerably better, but the White Sox don't have to add one of those two to necessarily make a sizeable difference.

How long do we wait until Yoan Moncada's mistakes are not attributed to his inexperience? There are a lot of 23-year-olds in the world expected to perform. When do you predict he'll be in the All-Star Game?
-- Darrin, Carlinville, Ill., @CoachDeNeve

You can certainly wait more than 141 games, which is Moncada's total played with the White Sox entering Friday's series opener in Seattle. From start to finish, he has not had an overwhelming 2018 season.

But Moncada's underwhelming season still includes 19 doubles, 12 home runs, five triples, 41 RBIs and 47 runs scored. He's also hitting .356 with a .453 on-base percentage over a current 12 game on-base streak. There would be greater reason for concern if some of the same basic mistakes, basic issues offensively or defensively, still are occurring next season.

If, and it's a big if, general manager Rick Hahn got bowled over in a deal for Abreu, how badly might that affect guys like Moncada and Luis Robert in their development and feelings toward the organization?
-- Roger, @comedyoferrors

Moncada has talked about the great bond forged with Abreu, and although they haven't played together aside from Spring Training, Abreu has a similar positive influence over Robert (ranked No. 3). But both young players are professionals and understand the business. They would prefer to eventually win with Abreu, but they would get through without him.

Which White Sox prospects should we expect to see before September? In September?
-- Jeff, Indianapolis, @IndyJeffrey

I would think Eloy Jimenez (No. 1), assuming he stays healthy, and Kopech before September. Players such as Fulmer, Aaron Bummer and reliever Ian Hamilton (No. 18) would be a few players to watch for after Sept. 1.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox

In My Words: Dylan Cease

White Sox No. 4 prospect discusses Futures Game and more
MLB.com

I pitched in big league ballparks during high school, and appeared in the All-America Game at Wrigley Field and another game at Petco Park.

But it was different pitching in Nationals Park during the Futures Game. It definitely was the biggest crowd to see me pitch. I guess that's what it will be like in the big leagues, in terms of cameras and people staring at you. It was a unique experience. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but I wasn't nervous about it.

I pitched in big league ballparks during high school, and appeared in the All-America Game at Wrigley Field and another game at Petco Park.

But it was different pitching in Nationals Park during the Futures Game. It definitely was the biggest crowd to see me pitch. I guess that's what it will be like in the big leagues, in terms of cameras and people staring at you. It was a unique experience. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but I wasn't nervous about it.

I was told I would throw the ninth inning; I knew I probably wouldn't get the full inning. At the onset, I just wanted to throw strikes with the nastiest pitches I could, and I was able to retire the two guys I faced.

It was cool to be around all those talented players. I felt like everyone was throwing 98 mph with good offspeed pitches. There were eight homers in the game. So obviously, everyone could hit. It was great to see my Birmingham teammate Luis Basabe hit a homer off a 102 mph fastball from [Reds prospect] Hunter Greene.

Video: WLD@USA: Basabe homers off 102-mph pitch from Greene

It shows you what top-notch competition looks like. I can use that experience to help me prepare for future endeavors like that. I felt grateful to be on the field with those guys.

I've definitely had a ton of growth this year. I'm happy with it, but I'm not fully satisfied. There's still more I can do to improve. I've been healthy, and that's a big thing. I'm getting better at executing my pitches.

At the higher levels, you have to make adjustments pitch to pitch. The more you have a good feel for how the ball is coming out of your hand, and you're able to locate it, the more success you're going to have. When you're pitching, you can't think your way to throwing strikes. It has to be something your body knows how to do. You feel that release point. Last year, I really didn't have a great feel with offspeed pitches. I was hit or miss with my fastball command. This year, for the most part, I've been throwing strikes with everything. It's really come a long way.

Video: CWS@OAK: Cease fans four over two innings

In June, I got promoted to Double-A Birmingham. It's always an adjustment when you go to a new team. You need to get acquainted with everyone and see where you fit in. But in terms of playing, it's all about how well you can execute your pitches and your plan.

There's a lot of talent here. When you watch day in and day out, you see why these players are so highly regarded. Baseball, though, is a tough game sometimes. You have to watch guys over a long period of time to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are. But the White Sox definitely have a ton of great ballplayers.

I know Sox fans are following us in the Minors. I'm just trying to keep focused on my process. I need to be locked in right now in terms of what I have to do to get to the big leagues. It's very easy to start daydreaming, and then all of the sudden, you realize you're not that locked in.

I'm glad everyone is excited in Chicago, because it definitely makes it more fun. Hopefully, we're all up there as soon as possible to help the White Sox win.

As told to Ed Sherman

Chicago White Sox, Dylan Cease

Jimenez homers for Charlotte

MLB.com @wboor

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Friday.

Pirates prospects Bryan Reynolds and Will Craig put on an impressive power display as the duo led Double-A Altoona to a 10-8 win over Reading.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Friday.

Pirates prospects Bryan Reynolds and Will Craig put on an impressive power display as the duo led Double-A Altoona to a 10-8 win over Reading.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Reynolds, the Pirates' No. 5 prospect, and Craig (No. 15) each homered twice, including back-to-back blasts in the seventh.

Craig, who has put together three straight two-hit games after going 2-for-4 with four RBIs, got the scoring started with a three-run homer in the third. Reynolds' first homer of the day came an inning later, when he hit a two-run blast out to right.

In the seventh, the duo put the finishing touches on their big nights as they went back-to-back -- Reynolds then Craig -- to lead off the frame.

Reynolds, Craig go back-to-back

The multihomer games were career firsts for the 2016 Draft picks, who now have three (Reynolds) and 16 (Craig) homers on the year.

Other top prospect performances from Friday's action:

No. 2 overall prospect Eloy Jimenez (White Sox No. 1) turned in the fifth two-homer game of his career and his second of the season in a monster performance with Triple-A Charlotte. The 21-year-old, who finished 3-for-5, did all of his damage right out of the gate, collecting hits in each of his first three at-bats. Jimenez hit a solo homer in the first, came through with an RBI double in the third and then went deep again in the fifth.

Jimenez goes deep

• No. 11 overall prospect Royce Lewis (Twins' No. 1) set a career high with five RBIs for Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Lewis, who is hitting .357 through seven games since being promoted to the Miracle, hit his 10th homer of the season - a three-run blast - as part of his 2-for-5 night.

• No. 25 overall prospect Kyle Wright (Braves' No. 2) picked up the win after spinning his third straight quality start for Double-A Mississippi. Wright, who yielded just one run on two hits, threw 53 of his 81 pitches for strikes. The 2017 first-round Draft pick issued one walk and struck out five as he lowered his ERA to 3.91 and cruised through seven innings.

• No. 56 overall prospect Julio Pablo Martinez (Rangers' No. 3) homered in his third straight game with Class A Short Season Spokane. Martinez, 22, hit a two-run homer in the second inning, giving him six homers through 27 games with the Indians. He finished 2-for-4.

Brewers No. 6 prospect Corey Ray did a little bit of everything for Double-A Biloxi. The 23-year-old showed off his 60-grade speed on multiple occasions as he stole two bases and hit an inside the park homer. Ray, who also doubled and scored a run, finished 3-for-4 and has hits in nine of his last 11 games.

Ray's inside-the-park homer

Orioles No. 14 prospect Cameron Bishop spun his third scoreless start of the season for Class A Delmarva. The lefty, who threw 43 of his 64 pitches for strikes, matched his season high with eight strikeouts without walking a batter. Bishop yielded just three hits and has now given up two earned runs or less in seven straight starts, lowering his ERA to 2.74 through 17 starts (101 2/3 innings this season).

Tigers No. 23 prospect Matt Hall, who made 23 appearances out of the bullpen to begin the season, recorded double-digit strikeouts for the second time in five starts this year. Hall threw a season-high 104 pitches (67 strikes) over six innings of one-run ball. The left-hander stuck out 10, issued one walk and worked his way around seven hits for Triple-A Toledo.

Reds No. 4 prospect Tony Santillan has been dominant since being promoted to Double-A Pensacola. The right-hander, who threw six scoreless innings, is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA through three starts with the Blue Wahoos after posting a 2.70 ERA through 15 starts with Class A Advanced Daytona. Santillan didn't issue a walk in his outing, struck out six and gave up five hits while throwing 55 of his 80 pitches for strikes. In addition to keeping runs off the board, Santillan has also posted an impressive 18-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio since his promotion.

• Luken Baker, whom the Cardinals selected with the 75th overall pick in the 2018 Draft, drove in a trio of runs as part of a 2-for-4 performance in the Rookie-level GCL. After going hitless in his professional debut, Baker has hits in seven straight games and is slashing an impressive .500/.536/.708.

• Hunter Stovall, the Rockies 21st-round selection from the 2018 Draft, has been consistently hitting the ball out of the yard for Rookie-level Grand Junction. Stovall went just 1-for-4 at the plate, but has gone deep in three straight games and has hit five homers through the first 10 games of his professional career.

Stovall goes yard

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

White Sox value development over acquisition

Rebuild in motion, Chicago will sell at Deadline only for long-term return
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- The White Sox are not going to win it all in 2018, not with a 33-62 record coming out of the All-Star break as they start the second half Friday in Seattle. Then again, as part of their ongoing rebuild, the White Sox were not designed to win it all in '18.

This year is about talent development, with second baseman Yoan Moncada, shortstop Tim Anderson and pitchers Reynaldo Lopez, Jace Fry and even Lucas Giolito of late taking steps forward at the big league level, albeit on a less-than-linear path. Top prospects such as outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-handed starter Michael Kopech should be on their way to the White Sox in the second half.

CHICAGO -- The White Sox are not going to win it all in 2018, not with a 33-62 record coming out of the All-Star break as they start the second half Friday in Seattle. Then again, as part of their ongoing rebuild, the White Sox were not designed to win it all in '18.

This year is about talent development, with second baseman Yoan Moncada, shortstop Tim Anderson and pitchers Reynaldo Lopez, Jace Fry and even Lucas Giolito of late taking steps forward at the big league level, albeit on a less-than-linear path. Top prospects such as outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-handed starter Michael Kopech should be on their way to the White Sox in the second half.

Year 1 of the rebuild centered on talent acquisition, with players such as Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Adam Eaton being moved. Although the focus has changed, the White Sox still could have trades to make over the coming weeks. Here's a look at where Chicago stands at the season's halfway point.

Current status: Seller
The White Sox will continue to evaluate what they have among their vast young talent and figure out what they might need. They could trade some of their young talent for other controllable young talent, but that sort of deal seems destined for moves made further along in the process. While talent acquisition isn't nearly the priority it was last year, the White Sox have veterans who could draw attention.

Video: KC@CWS: Soria K's Duda, records 14th save of season

What they are seeking
If the rebuild plays out as planned for the White Sox, they legitimately have every position covered with talent. So they aren't necessarily looking for players at any specific positions. The key is controllable talent to add to the strong critical mass already built.

What they have to offer
Jose Abreu, with one year of contractual control beyond 2018, would probably get the biggest individual return for the White Sox. But the American League All-Star starter at first base is extremely valuable to the team, and there's much doubt as to whether that high internal value will be matched by other teams' offers.

Video: KC@CWS: Abreu's 451-foot HR leaves bat at 110.6 mph

Right fielder Avisail Garcia, also with one year of control remaining after 2018, is putting together another solid season following his '17 All-Star breakout year, but he has battled right hamstring problems that have sent him to the disabled list twice. At 27, he also could be deemed part of the team's future core.

Veteran right-handed hurler James Shields provides a solid back-of-the-rotation option for contenders, with Shields working at least six innings in 14 of his past 16 starts. Closer Joakim Soria, who has allowed two earned runs over his past 21 2/3 innings, would serve as a late-inning relief option.

Video: CWS@HOU: Garcia belts a mammoth homer to left

Possible scenario
Abreu heading to the Rockies makes sense on paper for a team with previous interest in the White Sox first baseman and in prime National League West contention. Abreu alone would demand about three prospects, including at least one highly touted prospect, although again, Abreu doesn't seem likely to be moved at this point.

But the White Sox have been known for their creativity on the trade front -- note the three-team deal involving the Reds and Dodgers to bring Todd Frazier to Chicago in 2015, and the seven-player deal sending Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees and returning outfielder Blake Rutherford among others to Chicago last July 19. The White Sox best return might come from packaging a couple of their players.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox

White Sox option Tilson to Triple-A

MLB.com

The White Sox announced on Wednesday that they have optioned outfielder Charlie Tilson to Triple-A Charlotte.

Tilson, 25, batted .264 (28-for-106) with 11 RBIs and seven runs scored in 41 games with the White Sox after being recalled from Charlotte on May 24.

The White Sox announced on Wednesday that they have optioned outfielder Charlie Tilson to Triple-A Charlotte.

Tilson, 25, batted .264 (28-for-106) with 11 RBIs and seven runs scored in 41 games with the White Sox after being recalled from Charlotte on May 24.

The Sox will make a corresponding roster move prior to Friday's game at Seattle to open the second half.

Chicago White Sox, Charlie Tilson

Abreu inspiring for White Sox with All-Star start

Slugger first Sox player since 1996 to win fan vote, start Midsummer Classic
MLB.com

Jose Abreu played the first 5 1/2 innings in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, going 0-for-2 in the American League's 8-6 win over the National League, and his start marked a significant moment in White Sox history.

Abreu was the first White Sox position player since Frank Thomas in 1996 to not only start an All-Star Game, but to lead the fan voting at any point in that span. Not only that, but the South Side slugger led the fan vote at first base in every weekly update, despite going through a slump in June in which his batting average fell from .319 to .253.

View Full Game Coverage

Jose Abreu played the first 5 1/2 innings in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, going 0-for-2 in the American League's 8-6 win over the National League, and his start marked a significant moment in White Sox history.

Abreu was the first White Sox position player since Frank Thomas in 1996 to not only start an All-Star Game, but to lead the fan voting at any point in that span. Not only that, but the South Side slugger led the fan vote at first base in every weekly update, despite going through a slump in June in which his batting average fell from .319 to .253.

View Full Game Coverage

Abreu was the sixth White Sox player to start via fan election, joining Thomas, Carlton Fisk, Richie Zisk, Dick Allen and Luis Aparicio. Those six have combined to start 11 All-Star Games.

"I'm just grateful for this opportunity," Abreu said through an interpreter. "I want to give thanks to the White Sox organization and to my teammates that made this possible for me."

Abreu's start also exemplified his value to the White Sox franchise as a whole. Chicago is in Phase 2 of its rebuild, and its 2018 season has seen some tough times. After trading away several stars in the last 18 months, the Sox have played the young players they've acquired in return, hoping they can develop into key components of a future contender.

That's led to some growing pains, but Abreu has stayed positive. His 13 home runs are tied for second on the team with Tim Anderson, and his .441 slugging percentage ranks fourth (min. 100 at-bats) behind Avisail Garcia, Daniel Palka and Welington Castillo.

Abreu's veteran presence in the young White Sox clubhouse has provided a steadying force for the younger players, and his locker sits next to fellow countryman Yoan Moncada's locker.

What's most important to Abreu is setting an example for the younger players, and he thinks the All-Star Game is a good stage for that purpose.

"That's going to help as a motivation for them to see what you can do if you work hard and you do the things that you need to do to progress and to develop," Abreu said. "I hope that this can help them as a motivation."

Top prospects Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech are still around the corner, and others such as Luis Robert, Dane Dunning and Alec Hansen are further away from the big leagues, with anticipation building for their arrivals. With Abreu in the fifth year of his six-year, $68 million free-agent deal, his future with the club beyond 2019 remains uncertain.

But on Tuesday, with his wife and children in attendance, Abreu lived in the moment at his second career All-Star Game.

"We'll see what will happen next year," Abreu said. "The guys that will be here next year will do a good job, too."

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu

Kopech fans nine for Charlotte

MLB.com @wboor

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

Jesus Luzardo extended his scoreless streak to 26 innings as he spun another gem in Double-A Midland's 3-1 win over Corpus Christi.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

Jesus Luzardo extended his scoreless streak to 26 innings as he spun another gem in Double-A Midland's 3-1 win over Corpus Christi.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

The Athletics' top prospect (No. 20 overall) hasn't surrendered a run since June 11 and hasn't allowed an earned run since June 6. The lefty has been lights out all season, posting a 2.36 through 14 starts with Midland after beginning the year with Class A Advanced Stockton, and Thursday's outing was no different.

Luzardo threw 42 of his 68 pitches for strikes and issued just one walk and one hit as he cruised through five innings. Luzardo also recorded seven strikeouts, bringing his total to 106 through 83 1/3 innings this season.

Luzardo's seventh strikeout

The 20-year-old got into a rhythm right away as he retired the first nine batters he faced. The Hooks put their leadoff man on base in both the fourth and fifth innings, but no damage was done and Luzardo retired six in a row to finish his outing.

Other top prospect performances from Thursday's action:

• No. 10 overall prospect Michael Kopech (White Sox No. 2) put together another strong start for Triple-A Charlotte. The hard-throwing right-hander yielded seven hits, but limited the damage to just two runs (one earned) over six innings. Kopech, who has struggled with consistency this season, has thrown the ball well lately, giving up one earned run or less in four of his past five starts. Also worth noting that Kopech's command was strong as he threw 70 of his 102 pitches for strikes while striking out nine and walking one.

• No. 100 overall prospect Dakota Hudson (Cardinals' No. 3) fell two outs shy of his first complete game this season, but still picked up his 13th win for Triple-A Memphis. Hudson, who was lifted after 6 1/3 innings, struck out eight and gave up one run on five hits as he lowered his ERA to 2.36 through 18 starts.

Braves No. 12 prospect Bryse Wilson has been nearly untouchable lately for Double-A Mississippi. After throwing seven scoreless frames, Wilson has turned in a scoreless performance in three of his past four starts. The 20-year-old right-hander matched his season high with nine strikeouts -- a total he's reached in three of his past four starts -- as he threw 64 of his 99 pitches for strikes. Wilson also walked one and gave up three hits.

Wilson throws seven scoreless

• Cardinals No. 27 prospect Elehuris Montero hit a pair of homers -- his first career multihomer game -- as part of a 3-for-5 performance for Class A Peoria. The 19-year-old hit two run homers in both the third and seventh innings.

Watch: Montero goes yard

Cubs No. 18 prospect Keegan Thompson continues to post zeros for Double-A Tennessee. The right-hander threw five scoreless innings and hasn't given up a run in three of his past four starts. Thompson threw 42 of his 72 pitches for strikes, struck out five, walked one and gave up two hits.

Dodgers No. 11 prospect Gavin Lux extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a leadoff triple for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. The 20-year-old later added another hit to finish 2-for-4 and boost his average to .324. Lux, a first-round pick from the 2016 Draft, last went hitless on June 26. Since then, he's raised his average 15 points and collected multiple hits in nine of the 19 games.

Reds No. 8 prospect Tyler Stephenson set a career high with two homers and tied a career high with five RBIs in a huge game for Class A Advanced Daytona. Stephenson, who is hitting .282 through 76 games this season, hit a two-run shot in the sixth and then capped his night with a three-run blast in the ninth.

Watch: Stephenson launches homer

• Reds No. 9 prospect Vladimir Gutierrez gave up one run over seven innings for Double-A Pensalcola and has now surrendered one earned run or less in seven of his past eight starts. Not only did Gutierrez keep the runs off the board, but he also piled up the strikeouts, reaching double digits (10) for the second time in his career.

Tigers No. 11 prospect Mike Gerber helped lift Triple-A Toledo to a win as he clubbed a pair of homers for the second time this season. Gerber, who has 12 homers through 59 games this season, hit solo homers in the fifth and eighth innings before finishing 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Watch: Gerber rips 2nd homer

Twins No. 16 prospect Kohl Stewart seems to be finding his rhythm with Triple-A Rochester. Stewart gave up one run over six innings, while striking out eight and giving up a trio of hits. After giving up 11 runs in 10 innings over his first two starts, the right-hander has allowed one earned run in each of his past two outings (12 innings).

• Blue Jays first-round Draft pick Jordan Groshans came through with the second three-hit game of his career, finishing 3-for-5 with a homer in the Rookie-level GCL. The 18-year-old has gotten off to a fast start in his brief career and is slashing .372/.440/.590 with three homers through 21 games.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

On record-setting night, AL outslugs NL

MLB.com @castrovince

WASHINGTON -- The ball wasn't flying out of Nationals Park quite as frequently as it did during Bryce Harper's heroic hometown homer binge a night earlier, but it was flying all the same in a dinger-driven, record-breaking 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night.

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WASHINGTON -- The ball wasn't flying out of Nationals Park quite as frequently as it did during Bryce Harper's heroic hometown homer binge a night earlier, but it was flying all the same in a dinger-driven, record-breaking 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night.

Video: 2018 All-Star Game sets new record with 10 home runs

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In the end, the two standout swats were the back-to-back solo shots hit by Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer -- off a Dodgers pitcher (Ross Stripling), no less -- in the top of the 10th inning of what became an 8-6 victory for the American League.

Video: 2018 ASG: Bregman wins MVP, gives car to his mother

Bregman was given the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet for his role in the AL's sixth straight win in the Midsummer Classic.

"I took a cutter down the middle of the first pitch and kind of went into battle mode and just was trying to put a line drive in play, and it left the yard," said Bregman. "It was crazy. It was a lot of fun."

But while the result reflects the AL's recent dominance in this summer showcase and, in a way, the Astros' standing as defending champs, the game itself was reflective of the homer-happy times we live in.

Video: 2018 ASG: AL bash 5 homers to earn extra-innings win

"It was like a regular-season game with the home runs accounting for pretty much everything," said Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ, who made a rare turn in the "closer" role by getting the save in the 10th. "Maybe a few less walks than normal, but pretty standard stuff. We were commenting in the bullpen that that's the way it's going these days."

The two teams combined for 10 homers, destroying the previous record of six that had last been reached in 1971 by some gentlemen named Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew and Roberto Clemente -- Hall of Famers, all.

Video: 2018 ASG: NL crush 5 home runs in Washington, D.C.

Maybe not all of the blasts on this night were hit by guys who are Cooperstown-bound. But Bregman, Springer, Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, Willson Contreras, Trevor Story, Jean Segura, Christian Yelich, Scooter Gennett and Joey Votto collectively put up a performance for the All-Star ages. All but one of the game's 14 runs was driven in by a long ball.

Video: 2018 ASG: Segura clobbers a go-ahead 3-run HR

"To kind of empty your tank and hit homers at this event is probably the best thing imaginable," said AL and Astros manager AJ Hinch. "Just to have that kind of emotion that comes with the home run. Especially when the big boys hit it, and especially when the Astros hit it."

Video: 2018 ASG: Hinch on Bregman, Springer in All-Star Game

The AL seemingly had the game in hand thanks to Segura's pinch-hit three-run homer off Josh Hader in the top of the eighth. But Gennett wowed the crowd and stunned the junior circuit by taking Mariners closer Edwin Diaz deep in the bottom of the ninth to tie it.

To extras it went, and it didn't take long for Bregman and Springer to summon the Fall Classic magic of old. The AL added another run on -- of all things -- a sacrifice fly from Michael Brantley. And though Votto's solo shot in the bottom of the 10th kept things interesting, Happ was able to close it out before any more dinger drama developed.

Video: 2018 ASG: Sale K's 1 in scoreless 1st inning

So this was a night for watching it fly and letting it fly. AL starter Chris Sale threw a fastball clocked by Statcast™ at 100.7 mph -- his fastest pitch since 2010. NL starter Max Scherzer threw his four fastest pitches of the season en route to striking out four in two innings of work.

Video: 2018 ASG: Scherzer fans 4 batters in ASG start

The All-Stars capitalized on their opportunity to showcase their skills in the nation's capital, and they let their personalities show, too, with in-game selfies and mic'd-up position players. Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor felt so bad when he couldn't muscle a drive over the wall that he dropped down and did some pushups. It was that kind of night.

Video: 2018 ASG: Lindor hits the grass for some pushups

There was even some off-the-field drama developing, with reports swirling about Manny Machado possibly heading to the Dodgers as he played what might have been his last game in a Baltimore Orioles uniform. In an in-game interview with FOX Sports and MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, Machado acknowledged the not-so-subtle storyline by saying, "If this is the last time, hopefully I treated them well, I did everything I could for the organization."

Video: 2018 ASG: Machado talks All-Star Game, trade rumors

The AL could be losing one of its signature stars. But it won a game that very much resembled a Derby.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gennett's game-tying homer might get lost to history, given the end result, but he still put himself in a pretty cool spot in the All-Star history books. When he hit his two-run, 396-foot blast off Diaz, Gennett became just the third player to hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of a Midsummer Classic, joining Ralph Kiner in 1950 and Fred McGriff in '94. That sent the All-Star Game into extras for a second consecutive year. The last time that had happened was 1966-67.

Video: 2018 ASG: Gennett hits game-tying HR in the 9th

SOUND SMART
This was the first game in MLB history -- regular season, postseason or All-Star -- in which five players homered for each team.

HE SAID IT
"In the beginning, it was, 'Is anybody going to get a hit other than a homer?' And at the end, it was, 'Are we going to have enough pitching to get out of this mess?'" -- Hinch

UP NEXT
Oh yes, they'll meet again. The 90th All-Star Game will take place on July 9, 2019, at Cleveland's Progressive Field, which last hosted the Midsummer Classic in 1997 (when it was still known as Jacobs Field). The AL will take an All-Star edge into that contest, having broken the all-time tie Tuesday by improving to 44-43-2 against the NL.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Alex Bregman, Willson Contreras, Scooter Gennett, Aaron Judge, Jean Segura, George Springer, Trevor Story, Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Christian Yelich

Play Ball holds clinic on South Side

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- While White Sox players had Monday off for the All-Star break, the organization held a youth baseball clinic through its Amateur City Elite (ACE) program and Major League Baseball's Play Ball Initiative.

Coaches and players from the White Sox ACE teams ran the clinic for children ages 10 to 14 at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Chicago's West Pullman neighborhood.

CHICAGO -- While White Sox players had Monday off for the All-Star break, the organization held a youth baseball clinic through its Amateur City Elite (ACE) program and Major League Baseball's Play Ball Initiative.

Coaches and players from the White Sox ACE teams ran the clinic for children ages 10 to 14 at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Chicago's West Pullman neighborhood.

The participants were members of the center's summer programs for local youth, and they took part in hitting, fielding and throwing drills.

"It's all about sparking the interest in baseball, and that can lead to different possibilities and just basically engaging them at a young age to play baseball," said White Sox manager of youth baseball initiatives Anthony Olivo.

The White Sox ACE program was established in 2007 for inner-city youth who do not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in travel teams. The program services teams for more than 100 players ages 12 to 17, and the teams play around the country in tournaments against other youth teams, ACE coach Vince Davis said.

"These kids, they love the game," said Davis, who coaches the oldest ACE team. "I'm here to help them learn as much as they possibly can, and it's more of a being a great mentor as well, not just about baseball. Just about life as a whole. Some of these kids live in some rough areas, and this is like an outlet for them, so I love to be a part of it."

Davis said the program has had teenagers commit to play baseball in college, and currently has a few slated to play at Oklahoma, Duke and Eastern Kentucky.

Additionally, Alek Thomas, the D-backs' 2018 second-round Draft pick and son of White Sox director of strength and conditioning Allen Thomas, played on the ACE programs not long ago.

The field at the Kroc Center is where the ACE program is based, and Monday's clinic was all about letting the community know that "baseball is here," Olivo said.

"The kids that they're seeing in our ACE program are just like them," Olivo said. "They could be just like the kids that we have in our ACE program. It starts at a young age, and starts with [baseball] fundamentals."

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago White Sox

Skoug has big game for Kannapolis

MLB.com @wboor

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

To say Estevan Florial's rehab assignment is going well would be an understatement. The Yankees' No. 1 prospect (No. 37 overall) has been on fire at the plate and that continued as he posted his fifth straight multihit effort in the Rookie-Level GCL Yankees East's 3-1 loss to the Tigers West.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

To say Estevan Florial's rehab assignment is going well would be an understatement. The Yankees' No. 1 prospect (No. 37 overall) has been on fire at the plate and that continued as he posted his fifth straight multihit effort in the Rookie-Level GCL Yankees East's 3-1 loss to the Tigers West.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

The 20-year-old, who missed the bulk of two months due to a broken hamate bone, showed off some extra-base pop as well as his 70-grade speed in a perfect 4-for-4 game at the plate. Florial doubled and tripled in the game, his fourth straight with at least one extra-base hit.

Florial, who was hitting .246 through 36 games with Class A Advanced Tampa prior to his injury, is hitting .548 (17-for-31) over nine games in the GCL and has recorded at least one hit in eight of those contests.

Other top prospect performances from Tuesday's action:

• Baseball's No. 1 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s (Blue Jays' No. 1) rehab assignment is also going quite well. After going 3-for-9 with a pair of doubles across three games with the Rookie-level GCL Blue Jays, Guerrero was bumped up to Class A Advanced Dunedin where he promptly came through with a two-run double in his first at-bat. Guerrero, who later added a singled and finished 2-for-4, will reportedly be promoted to Triple-A Buffalo once his rehab is complete.

• No. 22 overall prospect Brendan McKay (Rays' No. 3) was perfect through four innings in a rehab start with the Rookie-level GCL Rays. The lefty, who was placed on the DL after experiencing tightness in his right oblique, struck out seven of the 12 batters he faced.

• No. 66 overall prospect Alex Kirilloff (Twins' No. 3) hit his 15th homer of the season as part of a multihit effort for Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Kirilloff put the Miracle on the board in the first with an RBI double then showcased some pop with a solo homer in the sixth before finishing 2-for-4.

• No. 79 overall prospect Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles' No. 1) and DJ Stewart (Orioles' No. 10) each doubled and homered in their respective games. Mountcastle, playing for Double-A Bowie, finished 2-for-5 at the plate, while Stewart (Triple-A Norfolk), turned in a 2-for-4 effort.

Watch: Mountcastle goes yard

Cardinals No. 9 prospect Austin Gomber was nearly unhittable for Triple-A Memphis. The 24-year-old lefty yielded just one hit, a single in the fifth, as he cruised through five scoreless frames. Gomber threw 49 of his 80 pitches for strikes, issued two walks and struck out six. Through 12 appearances (11 starts), Gomber has posted a 3.42 ERA for the Redbirds.

Marlins No. 5 prospect Trevor Rogers picked up his first professional win in a quality start for Class A Greensboro. The lefty, a 2017 first-round pick, set a career high with eight strikeouts over six innings. Rogers threw 63 of his 93 pitches for strikes, yielded seven hits and surrendered a pair of runs.

Padres No. 12 prospect Jacob Nix bounced back from a sub-par start with six strong innings for Double-A San Antonio. Nix, who gave up one run and lowered his season ERA to 1.88, scattered five hits and walked two. The 22-year-old also threw 58 of his 88 pitches for strikes and racked up five strikeouts after failing to record any in his last start.

White Sox No. 21 prospect Evan Skoug did a little bit of everything for Class A Kannapolis. Skoug, who has struggled this year and is hitting .203 through 63 games, set a career high with four RBIs as he went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple.

• Grayson Rodriguez, the Orioles first-round pick from the 2018 Draft, kept his professional ERA at 0.00 with another strong start in the GCL. Rodriguez struck out one over two innings and has totaled four strikeouts, while giving up three hits over five innings to begin his career.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Abreu back on All-Star stage with veteran poise

White Sox first baseman voted into AL starting lineup by fans
MLB.com @scottmerkin

There's a certain cadence or rhythm to Jose Abreu's interviews, consistent in good times and in bad, much like the player himself.

He's filled with optimism. He's thankful, and he always takes pride in who he represents, ranging from his family to the Chicago White Sox.

There's a certain cadence or rhythm to Jose Abreu's interviews, consistent in good times and in bad, much like the player himself.

He's filled with optimism. He's thankful, and he always takes pride in who he represents, ranging from his family to the Chicago White Sox.

All of those themes were on display Monday in Washington, D.C., where the starting first baseman for the American League All-Star team answered waves of media questions the day before the game with a look of poise and a sense of belonging.

:: Complete All-Star Game coverage ::

Abreu became the first White Sox player to lead at any point in the balloting process since Frank Thomas won the fan election at first base in 1996. He also became the sixth White Sox player (11th time) to be fan-elected as a starter to the All-Star team, joining Thomas (1994-96), Carlton Fisk (1981-82), Richie Zisk (1977), Dick Allen (1972-74) and Luis Aparicio (1970).

Abreu's second appearance has a different feel than his 2014 All-Star debut, with his wife, Yusmary, and his sons, Dariel Eduardo and Josue Dariel, joining his parents by his side.

"It's good to be back. I'm very happy," said Abreu, who will be hitting eighth in manager AJ Hinch's AL lineup. "This one is even more special than the first one.

"I know the game more and everything that comes with it. I know I'm going to enjoy the game. I'll have my family here, which makes it very special."

Tweet from @whitesox: Humble & selfless. Jos�� Abreu is an All-Star on and off the field! pic.twitter.com/fqsOFNi2Ts

In '14, the eventual AL Rookie of the Year was new to the United States -- let alone the White Sox -- after coming from Cuba via a six-year, $68 million free-agent deal. Now in his fifth season with Chicago, Abreu has become one of the more respected middle-of-the-order hitters in baseball, a true leader for a rebuilding White Sox organization and a valued clubhouse presence.

The consistent daily work ethic exhibited by Abreu, 31, holds up as a great example for younger teammates. That approach hasn't changed in the face of a recent slump -- dropping Abreu's average from .319 on May 26 to .253 -- with 13 home runs, 27 doubles and 52 RBIs entering the All-Star break.

"I'm trying to let them know to have belief in yourself, have confidence in your approach, confidence in your routine, your work," Abreu said. "That's the way to overcome the difficulties, especially at this level."

"That's something that motivates you, something that lets you know that if you do things the right way, you're going to get rewarded," White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada said of Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "I feel really honored to share this team with him."

Chris Sale, who will be the AL starting pitcher in his third straight All-Star Game, shared a White Sox team with Abreu upon Abreu's arrival in '14. The two had a special moment reuniting before the media session.

"We talked about our famili