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updated: 5/2/2014 12:16 AM

Definitely some White Sox highs to go with the lows

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  • Shortstop Alexei Ramirez's offense definitely has been one of the early highlights for the White Sox.

      Shortstop Alexei Ramirez's offense definitely has been one of the early highlights for the White Sox.
    Associated Press

 
 

In my two decades covering the White Sox, I've witnessed one great season (2005), several good ones and several bad.

Nothing comes close to matching 2013.

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It was brutal bad, and from about Aug. 1 on, getting motivated to go to the ballpark became increasingly difficult.

We're still in the early stages of the current season, but I can already notice one big difference with these Sox. They are entertaining.

They might not be much better than a .500 team, but after losing 99 games last year I've said all along that an 81-81 record this year would make the White Sox (14-15) an unqualified success.

With April in the books, it's a great time to look back at the highs and lows of the opening month.

High: Jose Abreu

Wow. Just wow.

The Sox' new first baseman set major-league records for most home runs (10) and RBI (32) for a rookie in April, and there was a 1-for-21 slump in there. It's too early to start comparing Abreu to Frank Thomas, but he is definitely heading in that direction.

Low: Injuries

The Sox have six players on the disabled list: starters Chris Sale and Felipe Paulino, outfielder Avisail Garcia, third baseman Conor Gillaspie, relief pitcher Nate Jones and infielder Jeff Keppinger. Second baseman Gordon Beckham is back after missing the first 22 games with an oblique injury.

Losing Garcia (shoulder surgery) for the season is a huge blow, but Dayan Viciedo has stepped up and hit .348 to offset his poor defensive play in right field.

Sale is sidelined with a strained flexor muscle near his left elbow. An MRI revealed no ligament damage, but Sale hasn't been able to throw off a mound since his last start, on April 17.

The White Sox repeatedly have said Sale is going to be fine and they're just being cautious. If all goes well, the Sox get a healthy Sale back in mid-May.

High: Alexei Ramirez

The White Sox' shortstop was leading the American League with a .351 batting average at the end of April, and he broke Paul Konerko's franchise record for most hits in April with 40. Much like teammate and fellow Cuban Jose Abreu, the Sox are hoping Ramirez stays hot when the weather warms up.

Low: Bullpen

Ronald Belisario has bounced back nicely from a poor start, and Zach Putnam (1.80 ERA) and Jake Petricka (2.16) have stabilized the pen since arriving from Class AAA Charlotte.

On the flip side, White Sox relievers lead the majors with 61 walks. Matt Lindstrom is still the closer, but he's much better suited for a setup role.

High: Scott Carroll

We'll see how he fares in his second major-league start, Saturday at Cleveland. If his debut is any indication, Carroll is going to give the Sox a good chance to beat the Indians.

There is a refreshing air of confidence surrounding Carroll, a former college quarterback and current 29-year-old rookie. Hip and elbow surgeries delayed his arrival, but he's already looking like a keeper in the rotation.

Low: Attendance

Based on last season's poor showing and some lousy weather in April, it's hardly a surprise the Sox rank second to last in the majors with an average gate of 16,873. The Indians are last at 14,176.

If the White Sox keep hitting and coming back to win, the fans eventually will start showing up.

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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