White Sox rotation could go from six to four

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Five appears to be an unlucky number for the White Sox.  While they’ve recently gone back to a six-man rotation with Zach Stewart up, they’re considering dropping down to a four-man rotation with three off-days coming up in the second half of the month.

“It has been on my mind the last couple of days. I’m not sure,” pitching coach Don Cooper said. “With [Mark] Buehrle pitching as well as he has, you are tempted to say, ‘Let’s run him out there.’

“Again, it is what it is right now. We are going to look into it. Get the hottest guys out there.”

Stewart’s start Friday will likely be his last for awhile regardless, but if the White Sox go to a four-man rotation, then Philip Humber could also be bumped to the pen.  Humber, one of the year’s most pleasant surprises, has lost each of his last four starts, giving up 18 runs over 20 1/3 innings in the process.  His ERA has climbed from 2.69 to 3.56 during the span, and he’s now just 8-8 for the year.

Humber’s exit would temporarily leave the White Sox with a rotation of Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Jake Peavy.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.