Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The day started early for Manager Robin Ventura and Bench Coach Mark Parent. Prior to today’s game vs. the Cleveland Indians, the White Sox made the following six roster moves, reassigning OF Jordan Danks, INF Jim Gallagher, INF Dan Johnson, INF Dallas McPherson, C Josh Phegley and INF Tyler Saladino to minor-league camp. Ventura and Parent met with each player to tell him of the roster move.
“Those are always tough,” Ventura said of the cuts. “You see guys come out here and work hard and do things, but it’s just the nature of the game and what you have to do to get down to your roster spots.”
The White Sox now have 31 players remaining in major-league camp: 16 pitchers, three catchers, seven infielders and five outfielders. Opening Day approaches.
Both Jake Peavy and Jesse Crain pitched in minor-league intrasquad games today, with Peavy going 7.0 IP (12 hits, five runs, earned, one walk and seven strikeouts) and Crain 2.0 IP. Ventura was pleased with both, and proclaimed that Crain had passed his 24-pitch test and had made the Opening Day roster.
Here are Jake’s comments after his start:
On his Triple A start against Sox minor-leaguers:
“I feel okay; I’m tired. It was good work. It was a long day’s work, but it was good. We got everything we went down there to accomplish in, and we threw a lot of fastballs, a lot out of the stretch, so it was good.”
On how he felt he did during the start:
“(Pitching Coach Don) Cooper came out about halfway through it, we were looking good early mixing our pitches in early, and then he came out and said let’s work on fastball command from here on out at about 70 pitches in. That’s key because your body starts getting tired, your legs start getting tired and your arm starts wanting to drag a little bit so it’s a lot harder to command your fastball so we worked on that. There’s reason behind that because you’re missing just a little bit on throwing those balls and catching the plate, and I gave up some hits on that, but that’s good, that’s what you go down there for. I didn’t go down there for that exact purpose, but when you’re down there there’s a lot less pride involved than when you’re up here instead of trying to get out there in front of thousands of fans.”
On if he’s excited to start on Opening Day at home:
“I’m looking forward to starting (Saturday) in Texas. Everything I’ve got right now is geared towards Texas. Obviously getting the start at home against Detroit will be fun, but we got our work cut out for us in this first week of the season starting with Texas. Here for the next week or so we’ll be doing a lot of preparation, watching a lot of video of last year and meeting with Twiggy and some of the scouts on what the Texas guys have been doing here late in spring. It’s a big week for us and it’ll be exciting to get back home, but I got a big start before I get there.”
On if he’s excited for John Danks getting the Opening Day start:
“I’m excited. I told you guys that’s what I wanted. I’m not taking anything away from the Opening Day start, that’s fun and I’ve done that quite a bit in my career, but John is working into that. A few years ago, Mark Buehrle even said, John’s probably the most deserving guy off what he did the previous years, but they gave it to Mark out of seniority here. It’s a big step for John, and John is going to be here the next few years as the leader of the staff and for him to take on that responsibility so to speak. It’s really no responsibility that any of us don’t have after that Opening Day, but Opening Day is a fun day, especially for him there in Texas I’m sure he’ll have a lot of fans there. It’s a playoff-type atmosphere so I’m excited for John Danks as a buddy and as a teammate.”
On if the team is going to lose 95 games as predicted by Sports Illustrated:
“That’s not going to happen. That ain’t going to happen, I can promise you that. We’re going to get after it. I don’t know how many we’re going to win and how many we’re going to lose, but we’re not going to lose 95 games. This team has too much pride. We’re going to play the right way and we’re going to compete, that’s just all there is to it. We’re not going to give away games. We’re going to have some growing pains, especially with how young we are in the backend of the bullpen, I’m sure there’s going to be times that we lose some tough ones or give one away but that’s to be expected. At the same time, we have enough veteran presence on this team, guys who have been in the fire before, to lead these young guys. We got great leadership from the coaching perspective and we got too much pride, this team’s going to compete. We’re not losing 95 games, I can tell you that.”
On the White Sox handling of his medical situations since coming to Chicago:
“No, the White Sox have been nothing but good to me and my family. Are there things that we all would have done different looking back? – maybe so, myself included. There’s no sense in living in the past, I don’t want to do that. I certainly have nothing bad to say about the White Sox. Herm Schneider and his staff have been outstanding to me through all that I’ve been through. The way things kind of happened it was a perfect storm here – being traded over here hurt, trying to get through the arm injury and them not knowing me and me pushing my body to the limit – it was just a perfect storm. Hindsight is 20/20 on everything we do in life and if the doctor’s had known I was going to go out there and detach my lat completely from the bone they wouldn’t have let me pitch, and if I had known that I certainly wouldn’t have done that. Hindsight is 20/20 and I think we can all look back and think if we would have maybe done something different, but that’s neither here nor there. We’re through it and we’re all one. I have a great relationship with Herm; I have a great relationship with (General Manager) Kenny (Williams) and those guys know that I’m going to give them everything I’ve got here in the last year of my contract and hopefully I’ll make the most of it.”
On if what he’s gone through has been his personality making him push it to the limit:
“Like I said, it was a perfect storm. Those guys I don’t think knew me, and in San Diego they certainly knew that I liked to be on the field, I like to do everything I can do. Especially when you get traded over to be the guy and you want to be out there. 2010 started off so slowly and my arm was hurting me, but then there, those last handful of starts, I was starting to piece it back together. I had just put together a complete game shutout there in Washington, and I was hurting, but at the same time I was starting to figure out mechanically what I was doing and I was pitching like I should pitch. I pushed my body to the limit and I thought that I could get through it, but that just wasn’t the case. You live and you learn and I certainly know my body now. I’m going to push it, there’s no doubt about that because that’s who we are as competitors. I’m looking forward to this year and a healthy 2012.”
The White Sox have taken infield every day this spring, and shortstop Alexei Ramirez came up with a fun way to break the daily grind. As infield concluded, each infielder charged a high hopper to fire to first base (just like every infield conducted by every Little League team everywhere in America), but this time, he came up with three balls in his hand and threw all three gently to first baseman Adam Dunn.
“I’m not Robin! I’m not Robin!’ hitting coach Jeff Manto calls out to the collected fans as he drives past on his golf cart. “He’s back there.”
So how often does Manto get confused for Robin Ventura?
“Every day,” he said. “Every day.”
“Maybe someone should get a haircut,” I responded.