Even with three stories either already posted or soon to be posted on the White Sox site from today’s action, there was still a great deal of information that didn’t make the cut. Remember, the White Sox played a B Game against the Dodgers, while I was representing here in Tucson.
So, here’s a few more bits and pieces to go over, just hours before the first Cubs-White Sox clash of 2009. By the way, I predict 120 wins for both teams with the way Spring Training has started.
–I said this in my early Friday blog post, but Gordon Beckham is a baseball player. I don’t care if it’s Cactus League games, American Legion or the seventh game of the World Series. You just know upon seeing someone with that special ability. His play at shortstop to end the sixth inning on Tony Clark’s grounder, well.. I’ll let Paul Konerko describe it.
“That’s a big league play. If he makes that play, he can play in the big leagues for 15 years,” Konerko said. “Everyone on the bench thought it was a hit, and he comes in and makes it like it was nothing.”
Here’s my first prediction of 2009, aside from the 240-combined wins for the Cubs and White Sox and Michigan hoops winning the NCAA title. Beckham will play in the Majors before September callups. I just have a feeling.
–The early spring endurance award goes to Brian Anderson, who played all nine innings the last two games. He had two hits and scored two runs against Arizona and his defense is as good as ever in the outfield. Jerry Owens played all the way through on Wednesday in Tempe and then again on Friday. He laid down another nice bunt to start Friday’s game but was thrown out at first.
There’s little chance of an outfield featuring Owens, Anderson and DeWayne Wise playing out from left to right, as it did on Friday. But they certainly would track down a great deal of baseballs defensively. If nothing else, Ozzie Guillen got a chance to see all of the center field contenders in action, side-by-side, with Wise adding two hits and two runs scored.
–The back-up catcher battle could be an interesting one. Corky Miller had three hits Thursday at Hi Corbett Field and Chris Stewart had two hits, including a home run, on Friday. These two also are considered the best catch-and-throw candidates.
–Ben Broussard’s home run to open the 7th landed in the parking lot well beyond the right field fence. The blast was estimated at 483 feet by myself and ESPN’s Bruce Levine.
–Back in Glendale, Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks each fanned two in one scoreless inning of relief apiece, or so I was informed by Pat O’Connell. A healthy Linebrink also incorporated three split-finger fastballs into his Friday workload.
“That’s something I definitely want to do this year,” Linebrink told reporters. “I think I fell more into the fastball/changeup last year, whereas this year if I can be really consistent with that third pitch, it opens up a new dimension.
“I’ve always thrown it, but consistency’s always been an issue with that pitch. So we’re going to work on it, too. It’s tough in Arizona because it’s so dry that it’s hard to get a feel for that pitch, but we’ll keep throwing it and keep making it a part of the repertoire.”
–The White Sox apparently loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning against Jason Schmidt and the Dodgers, but the Dodgers asked to stop the frame because of pitch count. Too bad that move doesn’t work during the regular season.
–Aaron Poreda’s 2009 Cactus League debut came in front of an interesting array of spectators.
“I recognized that (White Sox general manager) Kenny (Williams) was watching and a lot of the coaches were there," Poreda told reporters. "There's fans, Joe Torre is over there on the Dodger side.
"And actually, the starting pitcher for them was , who I grew up watching the Giants as a big fan of his. I have his jersey and autograph. I was thinking, 'It's weird we were competing against each other.' But it was a great experience.''
--So, that about covers it. It's time to say good bye to Tucson and make the 2 1/2 hour drive back. Talk to you from Mesa, and as always, Go Blue!