Tough Start To The Day

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New manager Robin Ventura was introduced to the toughest job a manager may have, sending a player down.

Prior to today’s game vs. the Los Angeles Angels, the Chicago White Sox made seven roster moves, their first of the spring.  The club:

Optioned RHP Gregory Infante to Class AAA Charlotte;

  • Reassigned C Damaso Espino, RHP Brian Omogrosso, RHP Jacob Petricka, OF Brandon Short and OF Delwyn Young to minor-league camp;
  • Added INF Tyler Saladino to major-league camp.

With the moves, the White Sox have 51 players remaining in major-league camp: 25 pitchers, five catchers, 13 infielders and eight outfielders.

Adding a player, like we did today with Saladino, is pretty rare, but the infielder has impressed Ventura and his staff the times he has been brought over from minor league mini camp for our games, and this is his reward.  Well earned and congratulations.

Talking Sox

This spring, we’ve started experimenting with a fun feature on twitter where we send out a special phone number that allows fans to speak directly with a White Sox player for a limited time.  Last week featured pitcher Chris Sale, while this week was Matt Thornton.  For those of you who missed it, here is a transcript from Sale’s call on March 6:

Fan 1: Hi Chris, I just wanted to know how everything is going?

CS: Everything is going good, man. The excitement of spring training has started, we’ve started games, getting in the swing of things. So far so good, everything’s going smoothly so far. Coming to the ballpark and getting our work in each day.

Fan 1: What about converting to starter?  How is that going?

CS: Yeah, you know that’s what we’re going with now. We’re taking this starting role with full force with Coop and the pitching guys, and really leaning on the other starters. But yeah, so far so good. Having a blast doing it and looking forward to taking over this year.

Fan 2: I want to know how the pitching rotation is going to make up for Mark Buehrle’s absence?

CS: There’s no doubt that he was a great guy on and off the field. I truly believe we have guys that can step up and fill that void. We have Danks, they locked him down for a while. I think he’s a great guy to have as a front line guy in a rotation. You’ve got Jake Peavy as fired up as ever to take on this season. Gavin Floyd is going to go out there and be the guy he’s been. You saw what Phil did last year. I’m just trying to fill in the mix right there. I’m not looking to be what Mark was, but I really have to step up and fill that gap so it’s something we all look forward to doing and its going to be a collective effort.

Fan 3: What is the biggest adjustment you had to make moving from a reliever to a starter?

CS: You’re our first lady caller. I would give you a special prize, but I’ve got nothing. The main things are the physical side of it, more innings, more work load. Doing more endurance stuff: running longer distances, focusing on working out my lower body and being strong. Pitching is all about having a sturdy base. And the mental aspect, you have to have a higher level of focus for more pitches. As a reliever you go out there for 15 to 20 pitches. It’s easier to focus on each and every pitch, but when its stretched out to 100 plus pitches, really just focusing on every pitch I throw and not having a lull period in the game.

Fan 4: I wanted to ask about your change-up from reliever to starter and what you think the transition is going to be like under Robin?

CS: That’s a pitch I’m really going to have to focus on this year. The last couple years I haven’t thrown it as much out of the bullpen, relied more on my fastball and slider. It’s something I really focused on this off season. Really took the time to get the feel for it back. Honestly, in college that was the best pitch I had. Just trying to find that again. Really being able to control it and get it in the zone. At the same time I’m excited to move forward and use that again.

Fan 5: What’s your favorite Chicago sandwich hangout when you’re really craving a Chicago hot dog or Italian beef?

CS: I’m more of a pizza guy, I’m not much of a hot dog guy; but Giordano’s , Lou Malnati’s and Gino’s East, those are the hot spots for me.

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