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Palka optioned after ending 32-AB hitless streak

Escobar working to get to Chicago; no timetable for Jay's return
@scottmerkin
April 17, 2019

CHICAGO -- The good news for White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka is his seventh-inning pinch-hit single to left ended a 0-for-32 slump to begin the 2019 season, extending to 0-for-34 back into 2018. But that single wasn’t enough to prevent Palka from being optioned to Triple-A Charlotte following a 4-3

CHICAGO -- The good news for White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka is his seventh-inning pinch-hit single to left ended a 0-for-32 slump to begin the 2019 season, extending to 0-for-34 back into 2018.

But that single wasn’t enough to prevent Palka from being optioned to Triple-A Charlotte following a 4-3 Royals victory in 10 innings on Wednesday. Palka certainly understood the decision and is anxious to get things fixed with the Knights, with a corresponding move to come for the White Sox on Thursday.

“Just a rough stretch,” Palka said. “But you know, I think it makes you better. A lot of overthinking and it’s a good thing to get past. Just go down and get right and hopefully I can help out the team later on.

“My numbers kind of speak for themselves. So, you know, competitively speaking, I myself would have done it earlier. I’m glad I got a chance. I’ll be working. I feel good. The comfort is there. It’s some real miniscule stuff and I’m ready to get back playing every day.”

Palka, who entered after Yoan Moncada left for precautionary reasons, grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and one out to end the eighth and grounded out to third to end the loss. He still enjoyed the single to finally break loose from the 0-fer.

“It was fun. I was cheesing the whole time,” Palka said. “I actually initially didn’t know where the ball went. I just went based on the crowd. I was like hopefully they are not lying to me.”

“That was awesome,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “Everybody was happy for him. He's been really pushing and grinding and trying to get himself back on track. Fortunately, he got the base hit, but we want him to be the Palka we've all seen before.”

Escobar still looking at big leagues

Alcides Escobar played eight of his 11 Major League seasons with the Royals, including his integral roles on the 2015 World Series championship team and the 2014 squad that lost the World Series in seven games to the Giants. Escobar was the 2015 American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player and won a Gold Glove at shortstop that same season.

But currently the 32-year-old Escobar is playing for Charlotte, producing a .359 average with one home run, five doubles and eight RBIs in 10 games. He still has big league thoughts, potentially tied to the White Sox this time around.

“For me, that's another experience,” said Escobar when the Knights were in Indianapolis this past weekend. “I understand that. I understand because that happens in baseball a lot.

“I know a couple guys in one year they make like, three or four different teams. That's the first time it's happened to me. I'm here working hard and trying to go to Chicago soon.”

White Sox director of player development Chris Getz played alongside Escobar as part of the Royals’ middle infield. He’s not surprised with the professional way Escobar has handled the return to the Minors.

“He’s got a tremendous attitude. Does he want to be in the Major Leagues? Absolutely. He will let you know,” Getz said. “But he also just loves baseball.

“So, that’s why he’s down here and you see him smiling and going out here and having fun on the field. He still has skills and there’s plenty to offer a Major League club. It’s just a matter of time and opportunity with him. He’s taken advantage of his opportunity so far.”

No timetable for Jay return

Outfielder Jon Jay, who has yet to play for the White Sox during the regular season due to a right hip/groin issue, still has no timetable for a potential Minor League rehab assignment.

“At this particular point, we do not have a timeline,” Renteria said. “He’s just scratching the surface now of increasing his activity.”

They said it

“It was focusing on control. It was under control. I wasn't trying to do too much. I did good. My last outing, I knew that I was going to get better and today was proof of that.” -- Reynaldo Lopez, through interpreter Billy Russo, on his quality start Wednesday night.

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