The White Sox opened the season with a $119 million payroll, ninth highest in the majors, but by shedding Alex Rios, Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton and Jake Peavy, they have reduced their 2014 payroll by nearly $40 million — and it could be more than $50 million if Paul Konerko retires at year’s end. That gives Chicago significant flexibility in reshaping the roster this winter.
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They have scored the fourth-most runs in the AL, but the Indians are doing it without much of a contribution from the cleanup spot. Cleveland’s fourth hitter is batting .237 with 17 home runs, ranking 11th in the league in OPS. Nick Swisher occupied the cleanup spot to open the season but batted only .249 and was removed July 22. Asdrubal Cabrera has been worse, hitting just .198 while batting fourth.
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Righthander Kyle Zimmer, ranked as the top prospect in the Royals system, has been shut down after experiencing stiffness in his pitching shoulder while pitching in Class AA. Kansas City’s 2012 first-round pick had racked up 140 strikeouts in 108 innings.
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Bruce Rondon, appointed Tigers closer before spring training started, has been a failure, but Detroit manager Jim Leyland hasn’t given up. Picking spots where Rondon can succeed and build his confidence, Leyland has turned the rookie righthander into a potential bullpen asset for the postseason.