March 2012

King Felix

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

With the option of watching John Danks pitch in Glendale in a Class AAA game or travel up to Peoria to watch our White Sox take on King Felix and the Mariners, I chose the road trip.  And, boy, was I rewarded.

Led by Brent Lillibridge, the White Sox pounded out 10 hits and eight runs (seven earned) in five innings off Hernandez, scoring three times in the third and four in the fourth.

One of the most pleasant plays didn’t draw much attention.  With Lillibridge on second base with a leadoff double, Tyler Flowers made sure to hit the ball the other way, grounding out but advancing the runner, who later scored on a two-out single by Alejandro De Aza.

Back In Glendale

Danks allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits over 6.0 IP against the Class AAA Mariners, walking one and striking out seven.

Earlier in the day, Jesse Crain threw a bullpen session to test his strained right oblique and all went well.  He’s scheduled to throw another on Friday.

Selling Baseball

Both Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez have roles in Major League Baseball’s newest television commercials.  Check them out, here.

And if you missed it, here’s a fun look at the newest White Sox digital “interactions” featuring Konerko, Robin Ventura and John Danks.

Back At It

Several members of the White Sox coaching staff took advantage of the one off day of the spring to hit the links yesterday.  Nothing official yet, but word is the course records at Whisper Rock and Southern Dunes are safe for yet another year.

The fastest I’ve ever seen Harold Baines move was last year at Southern Dunes.  As we approached the green, a number of groundskeepers were gathered in a circle off to the side of the green, near Baines’ ball.  The center of their attention?  They had cornered a snake, and Baines wanted no part of finding out if it was a rattlesnake or not.

“If you hit your drive over there,” one groundskeeper advised.  “Just let it go.  It’s not worth a snakebite.”

Situations

March 19, 2012

Today was the third installment of a situational hitting drill with Team Konerko pitted against Team Dunn (not really sure those were the “captains” but it works as a descriptive element).

 

Before the competition, general manager Ken Williams grabbed a bat and hopped in the batting cage against pitcher Kevin Hickey.  One media critic took him to task, tweeting that “Williams just took some cuts … it wasn’t pretty.”

But I actually think he got it wrong.  I counted three swings by Williams, producing one line drive to center field.  I haven’t checked his career stats as I write this, but by my memory a 1-3 day for KW is better than his career BA and OBP marks.  My thought is “Stop while you are ahead!”

“Is there an age limit on signing someone to a major league contract?” Williams joked after his BP session, hands still stinging.  “Hickey might be able to help us in September.”

Anyway, guest instructors Jeff Torborg, Joe Nossek and Art Kusnyer served as judges and player after player stepped into the cage.  Coaches called out the situation, and hitters had one pitch to produce.  Get-er done.

“I had a hit and run,” one player on the “losing” side moaned, “and the pitch was at my throat.”

“Quit making excuses,” a member of the winning team responded.  “Here we go.”

Anger and then Beauty In The Skies

 The skies of Phoenix were angry yesterday.  Hail fell on the Sox as they stretched for their game with the Cubs in Mesa.  Given all of the rain, hail, snow and sleet in the area, it is amazing the game got played, all 10 innings of it.  Up in Flagstaff, Ariz, in the mountains, it snowed over two feet.  Today, it is 20 degrees warmer in Chicago than it is here, so don’t let the sunshine fool you.

 

Late in the day, my family shot some pictures of an amazing rainbow that stretched behind one storm.

 

Off Day

Sleep, golf and rest seem to be on the docket for most of the staff and players for tomorrow’s lone off day of the spring.  Philip Humber still will come in and throw so that he remains on schedule.  Otherwise, everyone else will be laying low.

Happy Gator Fan

One White Sox Gator fan was thrilled to have his college basketball team headed to Phoenix for Thursday night’s Sweet 16 matchup with Marquette.  You can bet A.J. Pierzynski will be in the house to watch the NCAA Tournament showdown.

Peavy More Than Impressive

Saturday, March 17, 2012

White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy turned in a stellar pitching performance, allowing no hits and only one walk with five strikeouts in his 5.0 innings of work as the Sox shut out Seattle, 5-0, in Glendale Saturday afternoon.

 The only base runner Peavy allowed came when he walked Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak on a 3-2 pitch to open the second inning.

“Very blessed, very pleased to go out there and have good stuff, show you guys, show my teammates, it’s still there,” Peavy said.

“I just feel like a kid again to go out and be able to play baseball.   It’s so refreshing to be healthy.”

Peavy cautioned not to get too excited because of today’s start or too low because of his prior outing.  In spring training, the goal is to work on fastball location and get your work in.

“Today was a good day,” he said.  “I got a lot of good work in.  But it’s spring training.  It’s nice to have a good frame of mind and come to the ballpark and not hurt.  I normally don’t turn it up that much this early in spring training.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Saturday, March 17, 2012

To all of our the Irish, pseudo Irish and wannabe Irish White Sox fans out there.  Enjoy the day!

 

Once again, the White Sox will be wearing green ball caps in honor of the day, and following the game, the team will auction off the caps to benefit a Glendale, Arizona charity, “From the Heart.”

 

Here are the details:

 WHITE SOX TO AUCTION GREEN CAPS

IN SUPPORT OF GLENDALE COMMUNITY AGENCY

Proceeds from Autographed, Game-Worn St. Patrick’s Day Caps Benefit Arizona Community

CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox will auction autographed, game-worn green caps from the starting lineup of the March 17 spring training game vs. Seattle with proceeds from the sale benefiting “From The Heart,” a Glendale, Ariz.-based agency.

Fans will have the opportunity to bid on the caps at whitesox.com, beginning Monday, March 26 at 12:01 a.m. CT.

“From The Heart” assists social service agencies that promote the positive development of youth, strengthen families and assist Glendale residents of all ages in addressing urgent needs.

“Our goal is to do something that truly supports our spring training home of Glendale, Ariz.,” said Christine O’Reilly, White Sox senior director of community relations and executive director of White Sox Charities.

The auction will conclude on Sunday, April 1 at 12:59 p.m. CT.  For more information, or to make a bid, visit whitesox.com.

Flash Back

I have to admit to a 2005 flashback yesterday when Geoff Blum stepped into the batter’s box for the Dbacks during our game at Salt River Field in Scottsdale.

His stint with the White Sox may have been brief, but that one blow will echo forever.

Former Sox

It has been a week of former Sox sightings in spring training.  From Mark Kotsay and Carlos Quentin in Padres uniforms, to visits from Jose Valentin (he looks like he could still play) and Tony Phillips, several former Sox have been by to say hello.

Skipper

So great to see and talk to Jeff Torborg, who Robin Ventura invited to camp as a guest instructor for a few days.  Jeff was my first manager with the White Sox in 1991.

“It’s great to be back,” Torborg said.  “The other day at Cleveland, we were sitting back on the bench talking about pitching.  How to make this guy better and that guy.  It got me excited and reminded me of how much fun baseball can be.”

Along with Joe Nossek, Torborg and I were talking about 1991.  I started my job with the White Sox on July 22.  Nine days later Robin hit that grand slam to beat Texas.  Within two weeks, Wilson Alvarez threw his no hitter in Baltimore.  A month later, Bret Saberhagen no hit us.  Wow, I thought, this job is something else.  If I only knew …

Anyway, Torborg and Nossek remembered that 1991 team.

“The day after Wilson’s no hitter, we had a wrap around in Baltimore,” Torborg said.  “We were ahead, and I used Bobby (Thigpen) in the eighth inning because I wanted him to get Sam Horn.  He blew Horn away, but then in the ninth inning he gave up a home run on a low fastball to the Orioles catcher, (Chris) Hoiles I think it was, and then we lost in extra innings.  After that, we went to New York, blew a game and lost something like 14 of our next 16 games.”

As he talked I was impressed by his memory of events 22 years ago, and I also recalled how painful that stretch was because I felt like we had the best team in the division that season.

Weather Report

Hold onto your hats tonight.  Winds are suppose to pick up during today’s game and then hit 45 mph gusts around 6:30-7 pm tonight.  There is an 80 percent chance of rain for tomorrow – and as one Valley native noted, “there is never an 80 percent chance of rain around here, ever.”

Word from Gordon

Earlier this week, Sox infielder Gordon Beckham answered questions from our twitter followers.  Watch the video here:

We plan on holding similar twitter Q&A’s this season, so make sure to follow us on twitter and fire away with your questions.

RV

If you missed Scott Merkin’s article about player reaction to the first few weeks of the Robin Ventura era, it’s worth a read here:

Big Hitter

Do you think that John Danks has taken advantage of his bragging rights after driving in two runs with his single yesterday?

Talking With Matt Thornton

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Here is a transcript of Tuesday’s twitter fan call-in with White Sox reliever Matt Thornton.  If you like the idea of talking directly with White Sox players, follow us on @whitesox.

 

Fan 1: What would it take in spring training to get you back to what you used to be?

 

MT: Last year was a really rough start for me. The first six weeks or so of the season were not exactly up to par with what I used to do. Going back to what I did to what I did for the second half of the season and what I do best, attacking the hitters and going after them with my best stuff. I think I got a little picky at the beginning of the season. Guys like Sergio Santos stepping up and doing some great things on the mound. You don’t see that too often, seeing three open spots. We have some quality relievers on the back end and some vets who know how to get outs. And obviously we didn’t have a lot of great veterans last year, and it was a lot of fun to be a part of that bullpen.  It’s going to be a fun year, and I think you’re going to see some great things from (Addison) Reed and (Hector) Santiago for sure.

 

Fan 2: I’m a pitcher in my small baseball league and I just wanted to know your favorite thing for conditioning? I’m looking for something to add to my workout routine.

 

MT: My major focal point in my workouts is my core. I do some workouts that are pretty strenuous, not too many people can get through it, and I’ve got a lot of pride in that. And obviously legs, running, and my number one thing for a pitcher is a long toss. I’m a big believer in long toss, and I’m talking an extreme long toss where you’re crow hopping and throwing the ball as hard as you can and as long as you can. That’s what I’ve done

my whole career, and that’s how I think I’ve maintained my velocity. You know, I’m pushing my mid 30s now and long tosses are really the only way to replicate that feeling of getting that extension and building that arm strength and arm speed.

 

Fan 2: Now how far do you throw when you throw a long toss? 120, 150 feet?

 

MT: No, a lot farther than that. There are a lot of times in the off season that JJ (Putz), he’s my throwing partner in the off season, and we’ve walked it off, we’re pushing 300 feet. And I’m talking about you build to that point, you don’t go out there and do that from day one. We started off in December going about 120 feet, and about twice a week we’ll stretch it out good and push as far as we can. Those good days you start getting out really far and you’re pushing 300 feet long toss. It’s something we both believe in and have done our whole career.

 

Fan 3: Hey, how are you doing? World Series this year?

 

MT: Hey, thanks for calling in. There’s everything in the cards, we’ve got some great players just looking for some guys to bounce back and get back to those career numbers. We are that team who’s going to jump back and get after it, you know?

 

Fan 3: Are you closing this year?

 

MT: They haven’t said anything in particular of which way they are going to go, between Jesse Crane, me and Addison Reed. We will just have to see how spring plays out and we’ll go from there.

 

Fan 3: Can you hit?

 

MT: No, no, no I gave that up a long time ago.

 

Fan 3: How about (new manager Robin) Ventura?

 

MT: All of the staff has been great. It’s been a lot of fun to get to know the guys and get a feel for them. And they have fun, but they expect us to do a lot of things and play the game the right way and play it hard. So they’re pushing us every day and hopefully this year is one of those years that we beat ourselves with the little things.

 

Fan 4: I’m pretty sure the bullpen this year [inaudible]

 

MT: It was a luxury last year, you know, you had Sale, Crain, Santos, Fraser, myself. We had a large number of great relievers in the back of our bullpen. This year we’re more like a normal major league team where you have three or four of your go-to guys for when you’re winning games or have tie games and that type of thing. And the young guys, it’s a matter of them stepping up and doing their job in situations that are tough.

It’s going to be a little bit of a question mark, but that’s what our team is right now. We’re a question mark across the board, and we have to step up and do things to compete in the division.

 

Fan 5: I was just wondering if you do long tossing?

 

MT: I’m a big believer in long toss, actually. It’s one of those things where I started throwing back in December but I wasn’t getting much farther than 120 feet. And as January goes along about twice a week I would get extreme long tosses out, and I would be pushing tosses up to 300 feet. It’s something I think has helped me maintain velocity in my career. I’m a hard thrower and JJ is a big believer himself. I was more of a basketball player in my youth. I didn’t get into long toss until I was a pro baller. It was something that really helped me as a starter to really get the blood flow and stretch it out. It’s all about reading your body and how you feel and what you get out of it.

 

Fan 6: Hi Matt, how are you? I’m just wondering, what’s your favorite thing about being a White Sox player?

 

MT: The city of Chicago. Everything about it. From our fans to our fan base. It’s a little disappointing we haven’t been that great the past few years, but the loyal fans are still there. They are dedicated to it and they’re coming around, waiting for us to turn that corner and start putting a great product out there on the field. Of course, the city of Chicago and the restaurants there. You can eat at a different place every night of the

year. I love that time of coming up to Chicago and being in the mid-West again.

 

Fan 7: Are you going to be the closer this year?

 

MT: They haven’t named it just yet, but it’s a competition between Jesse Crane, Addison Reed and myself. I’m looking forward to the opportunity, and things didn’t go my way in that category last year. You know, I’m working hard and I’m preparing myself.

 

Fan 8: I wanted to ask him, is he going to be the closer?

 

MT: That’s been a popular question today. It’s a situation right were it’s an open competition at spring training. Me, Jesse Crane and Addison Reed. Reed is still trying to get his feet wet. Jesse and I have a lot more experience than him. But you know, they are going to make their choice, and pick who’s best for the team. If they think I’m better in a situation and they need me. I want to win, I want the opportunity to make the playoffs, and that’s all I care about, so whatever they need me to do.

 

Fan 9: I just wanted say we love you, and can’t wait to see what you and Ventura do this year. Always a Sox fan, never going to the north side.

 

MT: Alright, we’ll try to make it easier on you this year.

 

Fan 9: You guys make it easy to watch every year. I’ve been coming to games since I was 5 years old. Nothing will stop me from coming to watch.

 

MT: Great, thank you for all the support.

 

Fan 10: Hey Matt, how’s your shoulder feeling?

 

MT: Great! I’m feeling good, feeling strong. Looking forward to getting a few games here this spring before the season starts.

 

Fan 10: Great, how’s the weather our there?

 

MT: It’s been great so far. It will start warming up here, so it will be nice to get out of here.

 

Fan 10: Are you working on any new pitches to add to the repertoire?

 

MT: Yeah, I’ve been trying to get a little bit more consistency in my big breaking ball. It’s kind of more of a curve ball I used towards the end of last year a lot. And then I’ve been trying to get my cutter slash slider we’re going to call it. That’s been my focus for the past couple of weeks.

 

Fan 10: Where are you clocking in at on the fast ball?

 

MT: I’m not sure, I’m probably going to guess around 94-95 MPH in spring training.

 

Fan 10: What do you think the key to your smoothness is?

 

MT: They broke me down a long time ago and built me back up. Got me mechanically the right way, and a lot of hard work in the off season. Strong core, legs and arm.

 

Welcome Back

 

Former White Sox manager Jeff Torborg will be in camp the next few days as a special guest of manager Robin Ventura.  Torborg was Ventura’s very first major league manager, leading the White Sox from 1989-1991.  It will be good to see Jeff around Sox camp, especially with his son, Sox minor league strength coach Dale Torb

 

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Competition

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What is it they say about a little competition sharpening the knife?

Today’s batting practice session ended with the team’s hitters splitting into two teams for a little situational hitting competition.

Manager Robin Ventura would call out a situation, “Man on second, no outs,” and each team would send a hitter into the cage against batting practice pitcher Kevin Hickey.  The “winner” of the head-to-head scored a point for his team.  It seemed that more than bragging rights were on the line.

 

Catcher Tyler Flowers scored double points for his team and collected a round of high fives when his at-bat produced a home run.  Later Alexei Ramirez came through for “Team Dunn” with a home run of his own, tossing his hands in the air reminiscent of his grand slam against Detroit in 2008.

Paul Konerko stepped into the cage, as Ventura called out the situation.

“Bottom of the ninth, two out, down a run.”

 

Konerko looked at him and smiled.

“We need a home run,” bench coach Mark Parent joked.

“Good luck against Hickey,” Dunn chided.

PK “grounded out.”

Nothing like a fun drill to loosen up the team on a random day in mid March.

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.

Today’s Game

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

With the White Sox leading, 3-1, San Diego score four times in the fifth inning and added one more run to hand the Sox a 6-3 loss at Peoria on Tuesday afternoon.  Gavin Floyd started for the White Sox, allowing one run and no walks over 4.0 IP with five strikeouts, while Charlie Leesman took the loss.

“I feel like things are progressing,” Floyd said, who added he was able to work on certain things during the outing.

Fundraiser

Last night, Jake Peavy of the White Sox and Barry Zito of the Giants hosted the Fifth Annual Strikeout 4 Troops Spring Training dinner in Scottsdale.

Wounded Marines and Navy Corps men from San Diego, many whom are purple heart recipients, attended the event, along with a host of Major League players, coaches and front office executives.  The event began with a cocktail hour allowing time for the groups to mingle and was followed by dinner.  During dinner, each of the troops in attendance introduced themselves and many shared their stories.  Following dinner, Barry Zito, Jake Peavy, SF third base coach Tim Flannery and singer/songwriter Steve Poltz (writer of Jewel’s hit song “You Were Meant for Me”) provided musical entertainment for the evening.  And, at the conclusion of the event, each of the troops attending last night’s dinner received a guitar signed by all of the Major Leaguers in attendance.

Here’s what Jake had to say to the troops: “I’m honored to be here to be a small part, a very small part, of having you guys out today.  And, I’ll tell you guys, how you think we make an impact on you, when you guys leave the clubhouse like you did today and you guys came in, were introduced and got autographs and had a good time, when you guys leave the boys sit around and I just watched our whole clubhouse talk about you guys, and Nick’s story and everybody…it was just amazing to watch the guys talk about — it just makes it real to us when you guys come in, you do as much for us as we do for you.  So, I hope you know that and I really am honored to be here tonight.  So, let’s have some fun.”

 

Baseball Prospectus

Earlier this week our friends at Baseball Prospectus, long supporters of White Sox Baseball, released their rankings of major league teams’ minor league systems with the Sox ranking …. surprise! … 30th.

With a major-league roster that features Gordon Beckham, Brent Morel, Dayan Viciedo, Chris Sale and Addison Reed among the most recent arrivals, it’s pretty clear that our view of the role of a minor-league system (producing talent for the major league club) differs from how these lists are created (accumulating “prospects” in your minor league system).

Anyway, Assistant General Manager Rick Hahn offered the best rationale for our approach during SoxFest:

“We don’t get too hung up on these ratings. I understand they are a big story right now, and obviously we prefer to show well as oppose to showing poorly. But that’s not the priority within our draft and within our minor league system. Our goal is to do two things with the minor league system; first, provide high impact assets for the major league club in Chicago. This year we have a potential impact starter in Chris Sale who was home grown, a potential impact back of the end bullpen guy in Addison Reed and a right fielder, an everyday position player, in Dayan Viciedo who we developed. So from that element, the farm system is doing what we need it to do.”

“The second thing a farm system needs to do is create trade assets that allow us out onto the market and acquire players to help us in Chicago. We have those available. Obviously, I’m not going to go deep down that list, but there are guys who people want who will allow us to go out and get big league help.”

“Now, the ratings system isn’t based upon other clubs’ opinions. It’s usually based upon a reporter’s opinion, as well as a handful of scouts who will talk to that reporter. In contrast to rating 30th, in 2001 we ranked 1st in Baseball America’s farm system and we had five guys in baseball’s Top 100. Jon Rauch was in the Top 5, Joe Borchard was in the Top 25, Joe Crede was in the 30s, Matt Ginter was in the 40s, and Danny Wright was in the 60s. One of those guys contributed to a championship in Chicago. One of the other four had himself a nice career but bounced around as a journeyman reliever. It’s incumbent upon us to know the players who are going to help us win a championship – players like Joe Crede – and who are the guys who the rating system has inflated or exaggerated a little bit? Those are the guys you trade for other assets, like we did with Carl Everett to help us win in 2005.”

“Over the past five seasons we have been able to draft talented players who have not needed much time in the minor leagues; guys like Chris Sale, Daniel Hudson, Addison Reed, Brent Morel and Gordon Beckham. Addison and Chris give the White Sox two pitchers who went from Class A ball to the major leagues in one season. That’s a tribute to them, to our scouts, to our development staff and to our entire organization. No other MLB team has had two pitchers move that quickly.”

“So if you have these players – guys who already are helping us win games at the big league level – follow a typical developmental path, they are still in the minor leagues. Add them into our Top 10 prospect list and I would guess we would certainly rank far higher than we do today.”

“Yes, we prefer to rank higher but it’s not the purpose of the farm system. It is right that in recent years we have not devoted as many assets to the draft. The fact of the matter is we have X dollars to spend and we made a decision that we were committed to win at the major league level. When you do that you have to make sacrifices elsewhere. I will tell you under our new collective bargaining agreement, our draft spending is going to increase dramatically. Our international spending is going to increase dramatically as well, and with Marco Paddy now representing the organization internationally, we are now ready to reinvest in Latin America. As a result, we are going to start showing up a little better in some of these rating systems. But at the end of the day, give me the Chris Sales, the Addison Reeds, the Dayan Viciedos, and give me the assets that we can move to help Chicago win another championship. That’s what we care about.”

Today’s Game

Monday, March 12, 2012

Oakland jumped out to a 7-0 lead today, and while the White Sox rallied with four runs, held on for a 9-4 win over the Sox today in Glendale.

Tuesday, the White Sox travel up 101 to Peoria to face the San Diego Padres in a 1:05 pm game.  Gavin Floyd starts that game for the White Sox.

Honoring Heroes

This morning, pitcher Jake Peavy hosted 30 Marines and Navy Corpsmen who are members of Wounded Warriors and attended today’s game against the A’s as part of “Strikout For Troops.”  Peavy gave the group a tour of the clubhouse and facility, and they all posed for a group photo in the White Sox clubhouse.

In addition to Jake, the veterans met Paul Konerko, Gordon Beckham, Gavin Floyd, Chris Sale and manager Robin Ventura, among others.

 

As they toured the Major League weight room, Ventura joked with Peavy about his workout routine.  At that, Jake became fair game for the Marines and sailors, who all wanted to know how much he actually could lift.

Beckham took one look at the array of Major League hats the Marines were wearing and insisted on an immediate change.

 

“Absolutely not,” Beckham said.  “Those hats have to come off.”

In their place, brand new Sox caps.

Though The Looking Glass

Former coach and current guest instructor Art Kusnyer was sporting new glasses this morning.  He was ribbing himself:

“They had to send them out and get them from the Hubble Telescope,” he chided.

“With those glasses, you can see the future,” a player joked back.

Taking It on the Chin

Sunday, March 11, 2012
 
The White Sox suffered a 5-2 loss to the Rockies at beautiful Salt River Fields.  The ballpark, located just off 101 in Scottsdale, is awesome, better even than a few major league facilities.
 
I actually arrived at the ballpark pretty early, beating the team bus.  There is something special about being inside an empty ballpark early on a Sunday morning.  When I traveled more with the team, I always like to get to the ballpark early on Sunday – batting practice was usually cancelled – and sit in the press box or in the dugout catching up on reading, day by days or emails.  Today reminded me of that.
 
The White Sox play the A’s in Glendale at 1:05 pm tomorrow (Monday).  Jake Peavy will be on the mound.
 
Mr. President
 
According to former White House Communications Director Kevin Sullivan, one of his duties while at the WH was to update President George W. Bush each time John Danks pitched.  The President, a huge baseball fan and former owner of the Texas Rangers, took a special interest in Danks, also a Texan, who the Rangers moved to the White Sox.
 
Sullivan and the President would often have fun playing baseball trivia.
 
Batting Practice
 
A special note to White Sox fans heading to the Valley to catch your Sox.  The team has been taking batting practice each day in Glendale prior to traveling to road games, so if you want to see BP, stop by the back fields in Glendale from 10-11:20 a.m. to see the team before heading off to the road venue.  Those practices are open to the public.
 
Commish
 
Commissioner Bud Selig took in the first few innings of today’s game with the Rockies.
 
Thanks, Fabes
 
Dan Fabian, White Sox director of baseball operations, recently reached the Final Four of the MLB Network’s quiz show, Baseball IQ.  Because of his accomplishment, Fabian earned $15,000 for Chicago White Sox Charities.  Thank you, Fabes.  He has asked if some of the donation could go toward helping the White Sox ACE youth baseball program expand its opportunities.  Absolutely.
 
Freeze Time
 
The way that Brent Morel and Gordon Beckham are hitting, you almost wish you could freeze them as is and send them along to Texas right now for the April 6 opener.
 
Plug
 
If you are in Scottsdale for spring training and love breakfast, check out Over Easy on Bell, just west of the 101.  The Wolfpack – layers of hash browns, eggs, cheese and bacon topped by more hash browns – is one of the reasons I work out each day during the week.  I taunted my family by emailing them a photo of the plate.  When they arrive Wednesday night, I am sure our first stop Thursday morning will be Over Easy.
 
Foursome
 
Friday after the Sox-Cubs game, we were able to sneak in about 13 holes of golf at the Wigwam.  The foursome consisted of Ed Farmer, radio voice of the Sox, Dan McQuilken, PGA and SPGA tour caddie, Roger Bossard and me.
 
Farmio can play and McQuilken is a pro (literally), but it was Bossard who stole the show with a string of pars and drives right down the middle.  Bossard, who can read a green like none other, also ended the round as dusk arrived, draining a 29 footer for a birdie.
 
“That’s it,” he yelled as the ball rolled, Nicklaus-like, into the cup.  “Time to eat.”
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