Live from Tempe
The 2009 Cactus League competition is officially underway for the White Sox and here are some highlights from the first two innings of Wednesday’s game in Tempe, Ariz.
–Jerry Owens opened the game with a perfectly-placed drag bunt single fielded by first baseman Kendry Morales. You couldn’t ask for better execution.
In the second inning, though, Owens popped out to third baseman Brandon Wood with the bases loaded and one out. As manager Ozzie Guillen pointed out before the game, the leadoff hitter is only guaranteed to lead off once after the National Anthem. After that moment, he also has to be able to hit in the clutch and drive in some runs.
–Josh Fields showed speed absent from the past two years when he beat out an infield grounder to shortstop Hainley Statia with one out in the second. Fields also made a slick play on Mike Napoli’s grounder leading off the second.
–Clayton Richard threw strikes and kept the ball down. We haven’t talked to him yet, but judging by the goals he told me about yesterday for his first start, I’m guessing the southpaw will be pleased with this opening effort.
–Chris Getz twice moved well to his left to handle ground balls. Jermaine Dye and Owens made nice running catches in the outfield, both running into the wall after the fact.
Another side note: The field where the White Sox took batting practice Wednesday morning is about 10 miles away from Diablo Stadium. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. It just seemed that way in the 80-degree heat.