Quintana is Perfect, Danks Set to Go and the Legends of “Cave” and Man Soo Lee
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Highlights from today’s 4-0 Sox win: A masterful Jose Quintana and five relievers combined to shut out the Reds on just four hits at Camelback Ranch on a perfect weather day for baseball…Quintana pitched three perfect innings with two strikeouts and Hector Santiago (2.0 innings), Nate Jones (1.0), Donnie Veal (1.0), Jhan Marinez (1.0) and Ramon Troncoso (1.0) all followed without giving up a run…Jones averaged 97 mph this afternoon and hit 99…Offensively, Jared Mitchell hit a solo homer, his first of the spring, doubled and drove in a pair. Conor Gillaspie smashed his second homer in Cactus League play and Carlos Sanchez singled in a run.
After his outstanding outing, Quintana said he feels really good about his performance. He added that he’s working hard and it’s nice to see results from his work, which focused on strength and durability with cardio, weights and then throwing.
He commented that he is preparing mentally for a long season and said his arm felt good last year, but it was the longest season he’s ever experienced.
Danks Meets the Media, Ready for First Spring Start Monday vs. Giants at Camelback Ranch
“I’m excited to get back in a game situation. Monday’s going to be about trying to get guys out. Coop always says velocity is the third most important thing to pitching behind getting the ball to go where you want and getting it to do what you want.”
Looking for Options
It was an interesting day on the field this afternoon as Robin explores all his options for the 25-man roster that will break camp. Third basemen Brent Morel and Conor Gillaspie were at shortstop and first base, respectively, in today’s starting lineup. Who was the third base starter? Jeff Keppinger.
For the past two springs, Manager Robin Ventura has invited former bullpen coach Art Kusnyer to camp to offer his experience and to lighten the mood.
Today, RV spoke to the team about remembering final at-bats (for Robin, a dribbler back to the mound that didn’t clear the dirt. “I was thrown out by 15 feet. Not exactly a Hollywood ending”). RV asked “Cave” if he remembered his final at-bat.
Talk about setting the ball on a tee! Cave has a classic story about his final career at-bat, one that came in a pinch-hit appearance for Class AAA Evansville. Instead of Kusnyer facing the expected soft-tossing left-hander, the opposing manager – one Jim Leyland – brought in a hard-throwing right-hander.
The clubhouse was in stitches as Cave describes his final at-bat, a futile effort that led to a weak strikeout.
When he returned to the dugout, Cave ordered his pitcher and catcher to hit the first batter in the next inning. Not because he struck out, but so that Cave could go after Leyland for setting Cave up (note: Leyland and Cave are fast friends now).
This re-counting doesn’t do justice to Cave’s story, which had everyone laughing, and a lot of the tale cannot be printed without inducing some blushing, but trust me when I say this is one of those you have to hear at some point in your life.
Bullpen catcher Mark Salas (left), Cave and their staff prepare for today’s workout and game by rubbing down baseballs.
Man Soo Lee
Watching this morning’s WBC game between Korea and The Netherlands on MLB Network made me think of the great Man Soo Lee. Man Soo served as our bullpen catcher from 2000-2006 before heading back to Korea after the 2006 season to coach and then manage in his country’s professional league.
A fan favorite in both countries, Man Soo is known as the “Hulk” and “The Babe Ruth of Korea” (a player from 1982-97, he held their home run record until 1999).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_Soo_Lee
I still remember when he first arrived in Tucson for spring training.
Early one morning there was a Korean man in the lobby who couldn’t speak English. Our offices happened to be right off the lobby, so we joined in trying to figure out who he was, what he was doing there and who he was supposed to meet. Man Soo sat patiently in the lobby. And he sat. And he sat. I think he ended up spending all day waiting (now, in retrospect, how embarrassing to us to have Korea’s Babe Ruth sitting and waiting in our lobby).
Eventually, he found the person he was looking for (I don’t recall who), and the next thing we know, he is heading to Class AAA Charlotte to serve as a coach for the year.
By the next spring, he was in big league camp, with his infectious enthusiasm, energy and constant smile. He went from knowing no English to fitting right into a major league bullpen, which, come to think of it, might not be that big a leap after all!
I can still remember him taking part in a home run derby at our exhibition game in Cooperstown, NY, and I still laugh about the time I went out to eat sushi with Man Soo, Hermie, Harold and others. Turns out many of the chefs at Japanese sushi restaurants are Korean. They all came out to visit with the celebrity in the house. Service was not a problem.
Quote of the Day
For the record, here’s the Don Cooper mantra Danks was referring to: “It’s location, movement, velocity, in that order. Look at Buehrle.”
Play of the Day
Since props have already been given to Quintana, let’s give it to Mitchell.
White Sox vs. Padres at Peoria (2:05 p.m., Chicago time). Jake Peavy will start for the Sox vs. former Sox Clayton Richard for San Diego. Ironically, Peavy came to Chicago in a trade that included Richard and others.
Sox Notes of Note:
Alex Rios and Alejandro De Aza leave tomorrow to join PR and DR teams, respectively, in San Juan. Sox PR gurus Ray Garcia and Lou Hernandez are also headed that way to help MLB with media relations around the event…A “B” game has been scheduled against the Padres for 10:00 a.m. Monday in Peoria.
Did You Know…
…that former Sox closer and current bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen was a college teammate of former major leaguers Jeff Brantley, Will Clark and Rafael Palmiero at Mississippi State?
Photo of the Day