Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’

Jim Fregosi: 1942-2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Today’s News

Former Sox Skipper Passes Away at 71

Jim Fregosi, a six-time All-Star as a player who managed four different major league teams including the White Sox from 1986-88, died early this morning at 71 after suffering multiple strokes. Fregosi, who most recently was a special assistant with the Braves, suffered the strokes while on a Major League Baseball alumni cruise.

We issued the following statement this morning:

“All of Jim’s friends at the White Sox were stunned and saddened at the news of his stroke and death. Jim was your classic baseball lifer, with the experiences and stories to match a career devoted to the game. He will be missed at the ballpark this spring and our thoughts go out to all of his friends and family.”

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A Good Omen

Pitchers and catchers don’t officially report until tomorrow, but 25 players are already in camp working out, including Jose Abreu, who was out in the cages hitting early this morning. “He lives in the batting cage,” someone noted.

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Photo of the Day

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SI.com’s Final A.L. Winter Report Card: Sox at the Head of the Class

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Today’s News

Sox Make the Grade

With White Sox pitchers and catchers set to report on Saturday, the Sports Illustrated website gives big props to the moves we made over the Winter.

http://mlb.si.com/2014/02/10/final-al-winter-report-card-grades-white-sox-royals-stay-at-head-of-the-class/

Strikeouts for Sale

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Chris Sale has struck out 417 batters in his 59 career starts. That’s the most for any pitcher in White Sox history in their first 59 career starts for the team. And only two active pitchers had more career K’s in their first 59 career starts than Sale.

Most Strikeouts, first 59 starts for White Sox: Sale (417), Juan Pizarro (354), Javier Vazquez (345), Jake Peavy (333), Gary Peters (320).

Most Strikeouts, first 59 career starts, active pitchers: Yu Darvish (481), Tim Lincecum (421), Sale (417), Stephen Strasberg (399), Yovani Gallardo (373).

Nate Jones Chosen as “White Sox of the Year”

White Sox reliever Nate Jones was honored Monday as “White Sox of the Year” at the 26th Annual Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois benefiting the March of Dimes. Jones was honored for his outstanding work in the community as well as his play on the field.

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White Sox, Birmingham Extend Agreement

The Sox and the Birmingham Barons, the club’s Class AA affliate, have agreed on a four-year extension that will run through the 2018 season, ensuring that the partnership will reach 32 consecutive seasons. The Barons won the Southern League championship in 2013.

Dream Comes True for White Sox Amateur City Elite Standout Darius Day

Having overcome early baseball struggles, Simeon’s Darius Day is headed to play for “the college of his dreams”–the University of Arizona.

http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140210/chatham/simeon-baseball-standout-darius-days-path-scholarship-began-with-snub

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Leaving Glendale

March 27, 2013

Today’s News

Getaway Day

As someone noted today, the last day of spring training is a lot like the last day of finals in college. You are exhausted and a little fuzzy. There’s still one more hurdle to get through and then you are excited about what comes next.

For us here, the last day involves cleaning up, checking out of the condo or hotel room, turning in the rental car at the ballpark, loading your luggage onto the right truck (the one heading to the airport), sneaking in a quick workout and then boxing up the office.

After today’s game, we bus to Sky Harbor Airport and then get to Midway as quickly as we can. I can’t speak for everyone, but what I miss most (other than my wife and kids, of course!) is my car, my TV and my bed. Forty-five days is a long time to be away.

But I would love to bring some of this Phoenix weather with us for Opening Day.

Thursday is an off day for everyone and then the team will bus to Milwaukee for Friday and Saturday’s exhibition games with the Brewers at Miller Park. Sunday, the White Sox will work out at 10:00 a.m. at U.S. Cellular Field. Robin will meet with the media at 9:45 a.m. and our players will be available post workout. Being Easter, I am sure everyone–staff, players and media–will try to make the day as short as possible. The Royals are scheduled to work out later that day at 1:00 p.m. and then all focus will be on Monday’s Opening Day at 3:00 p.m.

Thanks for the Memories

White Sox starters left the game in the bottom of the sixth inning to cheers from the great Sox fans in Glendale. The faithful was rewarded as the Sox tied the game, 4-4, on an Angel Sanchez two-run homer in the eighth inning and won, 5-4, on a bases loaded walk to Steve Tolleson in the bottom of the ninth.

Life is Good 

It is certainly going to be a special few days for Chris Sale.

On Friday night, his alma mater, upstart Florida Gulf Coast University, plays Florida in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament with the chance of reaching the Elite Eight on Sunday.

On Saturday, Sale will celebrate his 24th birthday and on Monday he starts for the Sox on Opening Day.

Pretty cool.

Quote(s) of the Day

Skipper Ventura on his Troops

On Opening Day Being Only Five Days Away:

“I’m excited. I know the guys are excited to get out of here and get going. These games are nice, they’re meaningful, but they don’t count so everyone just uses these to get ready for the season. We’re ready to go.”

On the Difference Between Opening Day This Year and Last Year, his First as Manager:

“They’re all fun. Guys are excited for the season. You don’t really know what’s going to happen, but even as a manager, it’s still exciting. You like seeing the smiles on the faces of not only the players, but the fans.”

On Chris Sale as the Opening Day Starter:

“Oh, he’s definitely excited. Again, part of the joy in the position I’m in now is you get to enjoy it through them, see their excitement and how they go about it.”

On the Starting Rotation:

“I feel confident in it. You have a kid like Chris Sale who is young and talented and backed up by Peavy, Floyd, Quintana and right now, Axelrod. We feel like we have depth and we have guys that come to play. For me, that’s what you ask for.”

On the Bullpen:

“In our division you’re going to have to be able to pitch and you’re not going to get through it with just starters the entire time. We do feel like we have a quality bullpen and a lot of guys who can mix and match with a lot of different scenarios.”

On the Versatility of the Lineup:

“You look at the left/right scenarios that come up and that’s one thing we’re going to have to do is to move guys around and be able to play different positions to get them all in the lineup. It’s a nice problem to have.”

On Adding Jeff Keppinger to the Lineup:

“He can hit, he knows the angles and he’s a very smart hitter.”

On the Upcoming Season:

“It’s about effort all year long. You don’t get caught up looking towards the end because the effort has to be there every day for you to have a chance.”

GM Hahn on the State of the Sox

On Starting the Season: 

“We’re real excited, we’re ready to get going. It’s been a a nice camp, albeit a long one, that has some of us chomping at the bit to start playing games that matter. There’s been a lot of positives. We’ve had not only some of our young position players that are going to be in Chicago take a nice step forward in terms of development–guys such as Beckham and Flowers–but we also had some of our young players in the minor leagues step up and have nice Springs. Guys like Jared Mitchell, Simon Castro and Erik Johnson, who could conceivably contribute this year–and if not this year certainly as soon as 2014.”

On the Team’s Versatility:

That was important to us. We wanted to give Robin the opportunity to play matchups, whether it be based upon the opposing starting pitcher or even who we’re starting in trying to go with an even more defensive-oriented lineup based upon how our starter profiles…The more versatility you can have on that big league roster, the more insulated you are against injury or underperformance, which unfortunately happens over the course of the season. Frankly, from our standpoint, it’s not a finished product yet. It’s the kind of thing that we’re going to continue to look for upgrades over the course of the season…We’re going to be aggressive as we have in the past to go out and address those needs.”

On the Minor League System:

“The public and professional ratings don’t matter quite as much as our opinion. And our opinion of the minor leagues is based upon two things. One, are we providing impact guys for Chicago to help win us a championship? And, last year we saw Sale, Viciedo, Reed and Jones all come up through our system and contribute on what we felt was a very good team. The second part is: Is it providing assets for us that can allow us to go out and acquire players that help augment our roster? Last year we were able to do that with getting Youkilis, Myers and Liriano. From my talks with other clubs, I can assure you that we continue to have guys that other clubs covet. So, the farm system is working well. We think that next wave, although it’s certainly not going to hit on Opening Day in 2013, (has) some impact players near being ready for Chicago.”

On the Sox’s Positive Clubhouse Dynamics

“I think a lot of that credit goes to Robin and his staff. From the first day since they assembled 13 months ago, they’ve been able to keep the focus on winning that night’s game and the preparation, fundamentals, and focus on what needs to be done to make the team better. Any outside distractions have remained exactly that, outside of the clubhouse. It’s a very tightly bound group that fights for each other and is singularly focused on winning ball games. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

Play of the Day

Sanchez, whose second monster home run in as many days tied the game in the eighth inning. 

Tomorrow’s Schedule

Off Day. On Friday, White Sox vs. Milwaukee at Miller Park (7:05 p.m., CT). Hector Santiago will start for the Sox vs. the Brewers’ Wily Peralta.

Did You Know…

…that Sox minor leaguers Brandon Short, Josh Bell, Marcus Semien and Keenyn Walker combined to go 7-10 with two home runs, five RBI and four runs scored in yesterday’s 11-3 win vs. the Rangers? 

Photo of the Day

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The victorious Spring finale today in Glendale with Opening Day on the horizon.

Sale Sharp, Short Goes Long (Twice)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Today’s News

Avoiding Sale is a Good Idea for Any Opponent

Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, now with the Rangers, stopped in the visitor’s clubhouse this afternoon in Surprise to say hello to former teammates, coaches and staff. Among his first targets were visiting clubhouse manager Gabe Morell, strength coach Dale Torborg and today’s starting pitcher Chris Sale.

When asked by coach Harold Baines why he wasn’t playing against his former team, Pierzynski said “I have to pack. Plus Sale’s pitching, I don’t want to face that in March.”

A.J.’s teammates undoubtedly wish they hadn’t seen Chris today as the Sox’s Opening Day starter allowed just one hit (a solo home run to Geovany Soto) with no walks and five strikeouts in four innings as the Sox defeated Texas, 11-3, on 18 hits. Sale finished the spring with a perfect 4-0 record and a 3.86 ERA.

Two Decades Later…

Twenty years ago on Opening Day at then-New Comiskey Park, Bo Jackson dramatically returned from hip replacement surgery with a homer in his first at-bat against the Yankees in an 11-6 White Sox victory. He then proceeded to be a significant contributor for the Sox’s 1993 division champions and even hit a three-run homer in the 4-2 win over the Mariners in the division-clinching game in Chicago.

Next Monday during Opening Day fesitivities at U.S. Cellular Field, Bo will have the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the Sox and Royals get down to business. Game time is 3:10 p.m., CT.

The Ponce family–Chicago Tonight‘s Phil and his sons Anthony (NBC Chicago) and Dan (WGN-TV and the popular vocal group Straight No Chaser)–will sing the national anthem.

Opening Day Seats No Longer Available

Seats for next Monday’s opener have been sold out. A very limited number of standing-room only tickets to the game are available at the U.S. Cellular Field Ticket Office. Tickets do remain available for the remainder of the homestand (vs. Kansas City and Seattle, April 3-7).

Rios Not Concerned

Alex Rios said tests revealed no structural back issues, just muscular. He said he still feels a little pinch, but is much better today and he anticipates playing in the Milwaukee exhibition games Friday and Saturday and being ready for Opening Day. He stressed several times that there is nothing to worry about and that he’s not concerned.

Roster Moves

The White Sox made the following moves prior to today’s game against the Rangers:

* Placed LHP John Danks on the 15-day disabled list (retro to March 22) to continue his recovery from left shoulder surgery.

* Placed LHP Leyson Septimo on the 15-day disabled list (retro to March 22) with a left shoulder strain.

* Reassigned LHP David Purcey to minor-league camp.

Bring Gifts

Thoughtful pitcher Gavin Floyd certainly brightened the mood in the coaches’ locker room this morning when he popped in the door with a box of a dozen donuts.

No one was hurt in the ensuing melee, and one unnamed bench coach happily ate two Boston Crème-filled donuts.

“Boy, that’s an easy group to buy for,” I said to Gavin as we walked out of the room.

“He’s a Sports Star, But He’s Also Your Friend”

A look at the remarkable impact being made by Sox pitcher Dylan Axelrod:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWnSfkZ95gg

Quote of the Day

Rick Hahn on Jeff Keppinger’s ability to fall out of bed and hit: “As he puts it, his favorite position is the batter’s box.”

Play(s) of the Day

Right fielder Brandon Short had to corral a blown-away umbrella in the third inning of today’s game. The umbrella flew down onto the field from the main concourse, interrupting play before Short grabbed the invader to loud cheers from the crowd. The very next inning, Short got more applause from the Sox fans in the stands when he hit a three-run homer to give the Sox a lead they never relinquished–and in the ninth Angel Sanchez and Short hit back-to-back roundtrippers. Dayan Viciedo hit a three-run shot of his own in the Sox’s five-run sixth.

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Indians at Camelback Ranch-Glendale in the Sox’s final Cactus League game of the Spring (2:05 p.m., Chicago time). Matt Zaleski will start for the Sox, Carlos Carrasco for the Tribe.

Did You Know…

…that ESPN’s Sport Science named Jackson, who was a Heisman Trophy winner at Auburn and an All-Pro with the NFL’s Los Angeles Raiders in addition being an MLB All-Star, the Greatest Athlete of All Time.

Photo of the Day

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Brandon Short: What a Day!

Close, But…

Thursday, February 28, 2013
 
Today’s News
 
No Victory This Time
 
The White Sox (3-1-2) dropped a close 4-3 decision to the Brewers today at Maryvale, their first loss of the spring. Gordon Beckham and Tyler Saladino each singled in a run, Josh Bell smashed a ninth inning solo homer and Alejandro De Aza collected two singles. Starter Scott Snodgress gave up a pair of runs, including a homer, on a pair of hits in three innings–in an outing that pleased Robin Ventura. Dylan Axelrod gave up a lone hit in two scoreless frames and Zach Stewart and Matt Lindstrom each blanked the Brewers in their one-inning stints.
 
Did My Eyes Deceive Me?
 
No, that was indeed Brent Morel who came in to play shortstop in the fifth inning.
 
“I grew up playing shortstop all my life, high school, college and played about 25 games at Charlotte, it’s fun to be out there again,” Morel said after the game. “My goal is still to play third base everyday, that has to be your mindset, but if they want me to play other positions in order for me to break camp on the 25-man roster, I’ll do anything for that.”
 
Not Bad, Not Bad at All
 
Heading into today’s game with the Brewers, the White Sox led the Cactus League in triples (six) and on-base percentage (.399), were second in average (.317 and slugging percentage (.532), third in runs scored (42) and RBI (40) and fourth in home runs (seven)…Sox pitchers ranked second in the CL opponents average (.238) and fourth in ERA (4.20)…Seth Loman was tied for second in the CL with six RBI, ranked third with a 1.000 slugging percentage and is tied for third with two homers.
 
Everybody Loves Minnie
 
White Sox legend Minnie Minoso was honored today by the Bronzeville Scholastic Institute, receiving its Lifetime Achievement Award. The students honored Minnie’s legacy by preparing an array of presentations exploring the African-American roots in Latino heritage, including the discrimination Afro-Latinos sometimes faced by being Black and speaking Spanish.
 
Quote of the Day
 
New bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen, who once held the single-season major league record for saves (57) as a member of the Sox, on the makeup of the bullpen: “Potentially we could have one of the best in baseball. I really believe that. We’ve got power arms and we’ve got a good mix of veterans and young guys.”
 
Play of the Day
 
Sox rightfielder Keenyn Walker nailed the Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy at the plate for the third out of the fourth inning after Lucroy attempted to score from second on Caleb Gindl’s single.
 
Tomorrow’s Schedule
 
White Sox vs. Cleveland at Goodyear (2:05 p.m., Chicago time). Chris Sale makes his first spring training start vs. the Indians’ Justin Masterson. 
 
Starting lineup: De Aza, cf; Beckham, 2b; Rios, rf; Dunn, 1b; Viciedo, rf; Gimenez, c; Morel, 3b; Jordan Danks, dh; Marcus Semien, ss.  
 
Did You Know…
 
that White Sox non-roster invitee Steve Tolleson, an infielder, is the son of former major league infielder Wayne, who played for the Sox (1986) during his10-year major league career.
 
Photo of the Day
 
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Minnie and Principal Leandra Khan of the Bronzeville Scholastic Institute.

A Tie That Almost Feels Like A Win

Monday, February 25, 2013
 
Today’s News
 
A Classic Comeback
 
In the end the White Sox played their second tie game in two days, 9-9, but it feels much more satisfying than it might sound. Down 9-2 to the Giants heading into the eighth inning, the White Sox staged a remarkable seven-run rally, highlighted by lefthanded-hitting first baseman Seth Loman’s three-run monster shot that tied the score at nine. Among the other highlights in the inning were Josh Phegley’s run-scoring double and Josh Bell’s ground-rule double that scored a pair, The Sox were behind 9-0 when Jared Mitchell tripled in two runs in the sixth to get on the scoreboard. They finished with 12 hits.
 
Envious
 
While in Scottsdale for today’s game against the Giants, I took this photo of the World Series trophy that was front and center for San Francisco fans to enjoy. I want that feeling again.
 
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A Familiar Visitor
 
Chris Singleton, who patrolled the outfield for the Sox from 1999-2001 and was Ed Farmer’s radio partner in 2006-7, dropped by the dugout prior to today’s game. Singleton, who has been at ESPN since leaving the Sox booth, is the lead baseball analyst for the network’s radio coverage.
 
All Eyes on Rienzo
 
The press box in Scottsdale was full of Japanese media today to scout Sox righthander Andre Rienzo, who starts for Brazil against Japan in the WBC opener for both clubs this weekend.

 
Birthday Celebration
 
In what became a fun White Sox tradition, Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and the Sox’s Kevin Hickey celebrated their mutual February 25th birthday each year by going out to dinner and invited Harold Baines and trainer Herm Schneider to join them. The popular Hickey, who passed away last season at 56, will not be forgotten. The group is planning to get together again this year and they’ll leave an empty chair for Hick.
 
It Has to Be Some Kind of Record
 
Because of the unusual circumstances, readers of the White Sox Media Guide will find recently departed infielder Lars Anderson’s bio while newly acquired Conor Gillaspie is nowhere to be found. Anderson, if you’ll recall, was picked up on waivers from Arizona on February 1 and designated for assignment last Friday to make room for Gillaspie without ever seeing any game action. Bad timing, the guide had already been printed. The story doesn’t end there. Anderson is now a Blue Jay, though the Toronto media might be well-advised to get a copy of the Sox guide for info on Lars. The Blue Jays guide is printed as well. 
 
Speaking of the Sox media guide, here’s the cover:
 
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Quote of the Day
 
Promising pitcher Erik Johnson, yesterday’s starter, on pitching with the big club: “I look at it as an opportunity every day to go out and play with the best guys out there–especially in this clubhouse. They’re very welcoming and they want to make sure all the younger guys feel welcome in the clubhouse and on the field.”
 
Play of the Day
 
Loman’s three-run blast, his second bomb in three spring games.
 
Tomorrow’s Schedule
 
White Sox vs. Texas at Surprise (2:05 p.m., Chicago time). Nestor Molina starts for the Sox vs.Yu Darvish.
 
Did You Know…
 
…that Molina, tomorrow’s starting pitcher, began his professional career in the Blue Jays organization as an infielder-outfielder before becoming a full-time pitcher in 2009?
 
Photo of the Day
 
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Happy Birthday Mr. Chairman!

Sox, Dodgers Tie as Dunn Goes Deep

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Today’s News


All knotted up after 9
While the White Sox enjoyed a blowout win yesterday, they engaged in a pitchers’ duel this afternoon as the game was called after nine innings with the score tied 2-2. Adam Dunn accounted for the pair of Sox runs with a two-run, opposite field homer off of the Dodgers’ Peter Moylan. Dewayne Wise and Alex Rios both tripled. Erik Johnson started for the Sox and gave up one run on four hits in three innings and struck out two.

Sox notes of note
How welcome was yesterday’s 9-0 whitewash of the Dodgers? It was the first victory for the Sox in a spring opener since 2004….Matt Thornton threw a 35-pitch bullpen session this morning under tough conditions (cold and windy) and reported no pain…Many clubhouse eyes were focused on the Daytona 500 before today’s game…As a result of the chilly weather Harold Baines said he was wearing everything in his locker except one light jacket–and he was considering putting that on.
Danks confident he’ll be ready and Peavy’s passion for the game
A couple of must-reads from Rick Morrissey of the Sun-Times and Scott Merkin of whitesox.com.

A brush with greatness
So it’s 35 minutes before our spring training opener on Saturday, and I am sitting in the White Sox dugout on the first base line waiting for pregame festivities to start.  Literally, I am the only one there and I am minding my own business.  The reason I am there, if you ask, is to help organize our team for on-field introductions at 12:52 p.m. … you know, simple stuff like Robin first, coaches and then starting lineup.

Out of the corner of my eye, I sense someone in a Dodgers uniform walking into the dugout.

“Is Robin here yet?’ he asks.

I turn an immediately recognize that it is Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.  Behind him, I see lots of autograph seekers and hear people calling his name.

“Not yet,” I say.  “He’ll be here is a couple minutes.”

Mr. Koufax started to talk.  Fine by me. (editor’s note: I did meet Mr. Koufax one spring in Vero Beach, Florida, when I was a kid.  My dad and I were walking down a sidewalk in Dodgertown when here came Mr. Koufax walking toward us.  He was very pleasant but, of course, he doesn’t remember me.)

So of course I start small talk with Sandy Koufax.  I ask him how he’s doing (fine), where he’s staying down here (West Valley), where he lives (up and down the East Coast depending on the weather) and why in the world are “you guys” throwing Kershaw and Greinke at us this early in the spring … since there is a long way to go.

He laughed a little and then explained that he liked to go nine innings once or twice each spring so that he had dealt with the soreness issue before the season had even begun.  “I didn’t care about the first start,” he said.  “I was concerned with how I’d feel going into the second.  Back then, we didn’t have playoffs.”

You either won the pennant or you went home, he explained, so every start mattered.

After about 10 minutes, Robin showed up to a big smile and hug from Koufax.

“Back when I was with the Dodgers,” RV said, “we used to sneak off and play basketball with Sandy.”

(Sandy, by the way, went to the Universithy of Cincinnati on a hoops scholarship).

Basketball?  With Sandy Koufax?  That would have made him about 65 back then (Sandy, not Robin).

“Guy could play.”

Truth.

Another true story … maybe

Former White Sox pitcher Grady Hall was in camp on Saturday to say hello and he re-connected with former teammate Mark Parent.

“We played together in the Dominican one winter,” Hall said of the Sox bench coach.  “His nickname down there was ‘Grande Lama.’”

“Grande Lama,” I laughed, almost choking on my lunch.

“Nothing to do with the Dali Lama,” Hall corrected.  “It had to do with a sponsor and of course, he’s the Grande Lama.”

Quote of the Day

Coop on pitching: “Anytime you shut someone out, you’ve done something,” he said referring to yesterday’s win. “Every game no matter spring training or regular season, there are always going to be 10 balls hit hard. It’s what happens to those 10.”

Play of the Day

Dunn’s first homer of the spring.

Tomorrow’s Schedule
White Sox vs. Giants in Scottsdale (2:05 p.m., Chicago time). Starters are Hector Santiago for the Sox and Madison Bumgarner for San Francisco. Also scheduled to pitch for the South Siders are Addison Reed, Nate Jones, Donnie Veal, Jesse Crain, Matt Lindstrom, Andre Rienzo and Zach Stewart.
Starting lineup: Alejandro De Aza, cf; Brent Morel, 3b; Jeff Keppinger, dh; Paul Konerko, 1b; Dayan Viciedo, lf; Alexei Ramirez, ss; Jared Mitchell, rf; Tyler Flowers, c; Carlos Sanchez, 2b.

Did You Know…
…that Dewayne Wise, he of The Catch, celebrates No. 35 today? Happy Birthday!
Photo of the Day
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White Sox Legends Day was celebrated this afternoon at Camelback Ranch.  Pictured from l to rt. Rudy Law, Jerry Hairston, Sr., Steve Stone, Rich Dotson, Harold Baines, Ron Kittle, Floyd Bannister, Daryl Boston, Ron Karkovice, Bobby Thigpen and Robin Ventura

Sox vs. Sox in First Intrasquad Game of the Spring and Buddy Bell Talks About Top Sox Prospects

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Today’s News

Here are the highlights from today’s first Sox intrasquad game at Camelback Ranch: Team 1 (major league starters) nipped Team 2 (mostly minor leaguers), 4-3, in a 5 1/2 inning contest. Team 1 was paced by Brent Morel (double, RBI, run scored) and Blake Tekotte (triple, RBI). Simon Castro gave up a lone run in two innings of work. Josh Bell (single, RBI) and Jared Mitchell (RBI, HBP) collected RBIs for Team 2, while Leyson Septimo pitched one scoreless inning. Here was the scene at today’s game:

Assistant GM Buddy Bell Reviews Sox Prospects

On 2012 No. 1 draft pick Courtney Hawkins: “One of the reasons we sent Courtney up to (Class A) Kannapolis is that we wanted to get him in an environment that was faster than (Advanced Rookie) Bristol. The (high Class A) Winston-Salem thing tricked us because he did so well. As it turns out, no matter what level we sent him to he actually kept getting better and better and that’s a testament to how talented he is. It also showed us the kind of makeup he has and that he’s a tough kid who gets better as the lights get brighter, which is great for moving up the ladder and eventually getting to Chicago. We’d like to get him to Double A (Birmingham) by the end of the year. In saying that, if he doesn’t get to Double-A it’s not that big of a deal.”

On 2009 No. 1 pick Jared Mitchell:  “As (last) season went on, he got healthier…He, for me, probably looks better than anybody in camp right now in terms of body and progress. We had him in the instructional league last year for about 10 days and he kind of tweaked his hitting approach a little bit. His balance is really good right now and I’m really anxious to see what he does in a game. He’s probably one of our top five guys in the organization when it comes to competing. This kid competes like crazy, right now he’s as impressive as anyone we have in camp. He’ll start the season at (AAA) Charlotte.”

On who is the one prospect to have the kind of year Carlos Sanchez had in 2012:  ” (Infielder) Joey DeMichele. “We drafted him out of Arizona State and he’s a really interesting guy. We’d like to think of him kind of like (Jason) Kipnis of Cleveland, because he can run a little bit, has some pop in his bat and is a high-energy kid…We’re kind of on the fence whether he starts at (A) Winston-Salem or (AA) Birmingham. We’re also looking for (Tyler) Saladino to have a (good) year as well. He’ll start at Birmingham.”

On promising prospect Trayce Thompson:  “He’s going to start in (AA) Birmingham. We expect really good things from him. He’s another guy who looks really good, he’s always had a terrific body but he’s starting to get his man strength in his shoulders and legs. Obviously, he’s had two really good years and we want to be careful with him because kids with power, they seem to come a little later, especially outfielders.”

Kenny Williams on CNBC

Kenny, who was named to the annual list of 100 influential African-American leaders by thegrio.com, appeared on CNBC discussing the business of Major League Baseball and building a championship team. Click on the link to see the interview.
video.cnbc.com/gallery/?play=1&video=3000149023

Behind the Scenes with Coop and Herm

Here’s an interesting conversation among CSN’s Dan Hayes, Sox pitching coach Don Cooper and head trainer Herm Schneider. Click the link below.

http://www.csnchicago.com/blog/dan-hayes/how-sox-keep-their-pitchers-healthier-everyone-else

Sox Notes of Note

Dan Plesac and Ken Rosenthal from the MLB Network are onsite today as part of the net’s tour through team spring training sites.  Check out the coverage tonight on MLBN.

Jake Peavy, the Padres’ Chase Headley, the Reds’ Brandon Phillips and the Dodgers’ Andre Ethier took part in a photo shoot for GQ Magazine last night at the Camelback Ranch – Glendale ballpark.  The photo spread is scheduled to run in the May issue of GQ.  “At least I wasn’t alone,” Peavy joked this morning.  I told him it would be a little tough in May to run all around the state of Alabama buying all the copies of GQ … then again, maybe not!

Chris Sale Q&A Conference Call With Sox Fans, Part II (First Part Appeared in Wednesday’s Post)

Would you ever want to learn how to throw a knuckleball  “I don’t think I quite have an arm slot to throw a knuckleball. I’ve always messed around with it growing up.  It’s funny you mention this because I play catch in the off-season with my dad who can throw a pretty good one, and he always gives me crap about it because he has a better pitch than I do. I don’t see it in my future, but if it comes down to it I wouldn’t be opposed to learning it.”

Going into next season, is there added pressure in the American League Central Division with the recent additions among teams?  “I wouldn’t say it’s added pressure. I think it’s added motivation to be honest with you. It motivates us to live up to who we are and what we do. This is a team effort, but it takes a group of 25 individuals putting everything they have into one collective group. We have guys in here that put it on the line and we all play for each other. That’s the main thing and that’s what we did last year and it worked well. I don’t think we’re going to sit here and say we have more pressure on ourselves, I think we have more determination going into this year. It’s not going to get any easier from this day forward. We all know that and we expected that. We’re ready for it.”

What do you believe you or the team can do to improve upon last year’s performance?  “You set out every year to be the best you can be. For myself, personally, I don’t like to set goals or a bar for myself because sometimes you don’t reach that bar and you get down on yourself and get disappointed.  Also, say you reach that bar, you kind of give up. You say ‘I’ve met my goal so I can cruise in from here on out’.  For me, I want to be as consistent as I possibly can and do everything I can to help the team win. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m going to rattle out this many wins and this is going to be my ERA, but obviously I’m going to take into account what happened last year and work on things I didn’t do so well and sharpen the things that I did do well and see where it takes me.”

Who is the toughest challenge you had in the batter’s box last season?  “I have to go with Billy Butler from Kansas City. It seemed like every time I faced that team, if I gave up five runs, he had three RBIs. He, for the most part last year, owned me. I’m very disappointed to say that. He’s just a good hitter and he hits the fast ball well, and it seemed like he had a little bit better eye than he had in the past.  He took me deep a few times last year and in previous years. He seems to be the one guy that gives me the most trouble at the plate.”

As White Sox fans, are we ready to say that we have one of the best starting rotations? “Well, I’m hoping you guys are saying that. We’re all definitely excited to see where this goes and how it plays out. Not only do we have an unbelievable group of guys, but we have some great talented athletes. I think getting Johnny (John Danks) back and having him healthy is huge.  I was throwing in the cage next to him today and I’ve been throwing bullpens next to him for the last couple times and he’s looking really good. He’s very confident. You can tell he’s got that step back and is happy to be here. He’s working hard and he’s doing everything he can. That’s going to be fun to see. As a group, we’re all excited. We all pull for each other and we push each other; we have friendly rivalries. We all sit down and talk about pitching. We might be good on paper, but we’re a tight knit group as well, both in the clubhouse and off the field. We’re all pulling for each other and that’s the best part. We don’t get jealous.  We’re all rooting for each other and have each other’s back. There’s an open line of communication between us and we’re bouncing ideas off of each other. I hope you’re as excited as we are because we’re thrilled to get this year started.”

Do you know when your first live appearance will be on the mound in Spring Training?  “Our first game is coming up on Saturday, but I’m not 100 percent what day I’ll be throwing.  I’m still talking with Coop about that. I don’t think I’m going to throw in February or start a game in February.  We’re bouncing ideas off each other and we’ll see where it goes.”

Quote of the Day

From the Sox clubhouse: “If I tell you it’s Christmas in July, hang the stocking.”

Play of the Day

GM Rick Hahn interrupted a conversation today by saying, “wait until (Blake Tekotte) triples.”

On the very next pitch, you guessed it, Tekotte tripled to right field.

I told him to save them for when they count.

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox players will go through a media session tomorrow morning with Kevin Sullivan, former White House Communications Director (and huge Sox fan, by the way).

Did You Know…

Jeff Keppinger led his University of Georgia team to the College World Series in his junior season with a .389 BA, 18 homers and 73 RBIs? He hit .444 in the CWS, including a triple and a two-run homer off of former major leaguer Mark Prior, then pitching at USC.

Photo of the Day

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Sox GM Rick Hahn is shown here taping a segment with CSN’s Dave Kaplan for tonight’s “Chicago Tribune Live.”

Weather Gets in the Way of Baseball in Glendale, Chris Sale Talks to the Fans and Ron Kittle Finds a Sox Fan in the Strangest of Places

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Today’s News

Bad Weather

Rain, wind and cold abbreviated today’s workout, but John Danks was able to throw under the covered batting cage–his third throwing session of the spring.

Cameras Rolling

Several Sox players took part in a commercial shoot today and it went without a hitch. Details will follow in the coming weeks.

Sale Answers Sox Fans’ Questions on a Variety of Subjects

Chris Sale spent part of his day today interacting with Sox fans. So much good info came out of the Q&A session that I’ll be posting in two parts. Part I is below, Part II tomorrow. Here are the first six questions and Sale’s responses:

How have you adjusted to pitching to Tyler Flowers instead of A.J. Pierzynski? “There really is no adjustment. With catchers you just kind of throw to the mitt; it just might be on a different hand. Tyler has been great and I’ve already thrown to him a couple of times out here. We’ve communicated back and forth quite a bit, whether it’s pitches, movement, what he sees I’m doing differently, stuff like that. He kind of helps me out in a coaching standpoint too because he’s looking straight at me with my mechanics and my hand and my delivery.”

How do you calm yourself during stressful moments on the mound? “When things start happening and moments start to build up and you find yourself at the peak of the game, the best thing you can do is just slow it all down. Step off, take a couple of deep breaths, and flush any of the negativity out that could possibly happen instead of going into that situation saying, ‘I hope I don’t get hit, or I hope this, or I don’t want this to happen.’ You kind of talk yourself into ‘Hey I’m going to make this pitch; I’m going to get out of this.’ You have to self-motivate, but at the same time don’t hype yourself up too much because this game can get fast on you in a hurry and can unravel pretty quickly. The more you can slow it down and pace yourself the better off you are.”

How has the arm held up after throwing so many innings last year? “So far, so good. I actually took a little more time off this off-season from throwing. I probably took an extra three weeks to a month off from throwing, moreso than I usually do, because I wanted to give it a rest. Last year was a long year and obviously that was the most innings I’ve ever thrown. There at the end I might have fizzled out a little bit because I had been throwing a lot and was still learning how to get back out there every fifth day.  Now that I’ve gone through that and know how I’ve felt the beginning, middle, and end and all the way in between I can kind of adjust accordingly. This year, I can help myself, not really beat what I did last year, but get through the year a little bit more complete than I did last year.”

How did you gain the weight this off-season? By eating a lot of pizza? “Obviously I ate my fair share of pizzas; I won’t sit here and lie to you. The biggest thing for me this off-season is I got a trainer and saw him five days a week. He got me in a program that helped me build leg strength, core strength, etc. I actually just started eating better, eating a bit healthier too. I learned how to grill this off-season, so I was whipping up steaks, pork chops, chicken and ribs. I feel like eating those types of things is better than going to McDonalds and grabbing two Big Macs and a large fry.”

How is the team chemistry so far compared to last year? “Honestly, it’s about the same. We have pretty much the same core group of guys back, and the guys we’ve brought in have meshed awesome. It’s the same feel, same vibe from last year. We’re laid back, everyone is friends with each other and we all have a good time. We all hang out together while we’re here, and then we’ll leave and go grab lunch or hang out at one of our houses. We’re a bunch of grown up men who are friends and play baseball and hang out off the field too so that’s the good thing about what we have going here. I can truly say every day I come in I have a good time and enjoy the people that I work with. Not everyone in the world can say that, but it’s nice to have that here.”

What are your thoughts on Peavy saying you should pitch on opening day? “Everyone knows what my standpoint on that is. It would be a tremendous honor to me and that’s obviously something you dream about. I would appreciate it more than anything, but where I’m sitting I feel like that’s (Jake Peavy’s) role. He’s not only a leader on our pitching staff, but a leader of our team. With what he’s gone through and what he’s done and how he’s gone about his business throughout his career it’s hard to sit here and say I think I deserve to pitch over someone I look up to. It’s kind of like saying you’re the man of the house when you’re still living in the house with your dad. I have all the respect in the world for him and that’s why I truly believe he’s our leader to go out there, but it makes me feel a lot more confident to hear him say those things about me.”

Quote of the Day

From former Sox slugger Ron Kittle, weighing in from Mexico: “I found a lone Mayan Sox fan at the ruins of Chichen Itza at Mayan Temple.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

The Sox will play an intrasquad game tomorrow morning.

Did You Know…

…that popular White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider, entering his 35th season with the Sox, was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands?

Photo of the Day

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The weather was inclement today at Camelback Ranch (top), but look what was happening in Tucson, the Sox’s former spring training home (photo courtesy of a tweet from pro golfer and Northwestern product Luke Donald).
 

Picture This: It’s Sox Photo Day at Camelback Ranch

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Today’s News

Annual Rite of Spring

Today was Photo Day at White Sox camp, the one day each spring when photographers from Major League Baseball, the team and all the various licensees (think baseball cards, products, etc.) snap early morning photos of our staff and players.

Setup begins the day before and folks, including many from my staff, arrive veeeerrry early in the morning.  We have an early-to-rise camp, so while we say Photo Day starts at 7:00 a.m., guys started going through our line closer to 6:20 a.m.  By 8:40 a.m., the dust had settled.

Here is an image from the day …

 

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MJ

While we maybe had 8-10 different stations today, you can imagine what Photo Day was like when Michael Jordan was in camp, something like 40 stops by my recollection.  And Jordan’s response to photographers was always classic:  “If I only get two free throws, then you only get two shots too.”  And after two clicks of the camera, he moved on …

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Robin on Matt Thornton Being Slowed Down by Elbow Soreness

“He just said it (the elbow) didn’t feel right. We have so much time down here, I think it’s safer to slow him down and get him out of drills and make sure he’s comfortable with it before he continues on…You’re concerned every time a guy has that. I don’t know what  level it’s at right now. Again, the beauty of being down here so early is you can give him this time off and he can catch back up if there’s nothing wrong with it.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

Rain, wind and cold weather predicted for Glendale.

Did You Know…

…that Sox reliever Donnie Veal is a cousin of former NBA All-Star and current Sacramento, CA mayor, Kevin Johnson?

Photo of the Day

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The Sodfather: Only with the White Sox would our world famous groundskeeper Roger Bossard sneak into line on Photo Day with his trusty rake. I told him he needed a new pullover.

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