Results tagged ‘ Camelback Ranch ’

Game 10: Danks for the comeback

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The story of Monday’s 6-2 victory for the White Sox over the Giants was John Danks’ return to game action after Aug. 6 arthroscopic surgery, John Danks’ successful return to game action and then John Danks feeling good about his successful return. But there was more to the action at Camelback Ranch then John Danks. Here’s a look.

HOME RUN: It’s only one start. Just like it was only one bullpen session and then just one live batting practice. But Danks continues to leave the White Sox hopeful that he will make a significant and important contribution to the 2013 season.

Danks threw two-plus innings Monday, using 35 pitches, of which 27 were strikes. He hung a changeup to Joaquin Arias in the first inning but it was also the third changeup he threw in that particular at-bat. Danks was upbeat and smiling postgame, pretty much the same attitude he’s featured since SoxFest. The true test will be how Danks feels Tuesday after this effort, but if it’s “all good,” as Danks said Monday, then the Diamondbacks on Saturday become his next target.

“We had that start point and now… . It was fun actually, we were talking about a couple of game situations there,” said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper of Danks. “He hung a changeup to the one guy and that was it. Could not have went any better.”

TRIPLE: Jeff Keppinger made his second start at third base, after the White Sox limited him early to the designated hitter role when he dealt with a sore shoulder. Keppinger showed no rust in the field and even less at the plate, with two singles off of Ryan Vogelsong and a third off of Matt Cain. Keppinger is 7-for-15 during Cactus League action.

DOUBLE: Dewayne Wise’s three-run homer capped a four-run fourth and held up as the game-winning hit. What’s more important is the left-handed hitting presence Wise brings to this lineup, not to mention solid defense in all three outfield positions.

SINGLE: Blake Tekotte tripled among his two hits and scored a run. Alexei Ramirez doubled home Tekotte. Angel Sanchez singled and scored a run, and Josh Phegley knocked out his third Cactus League double.

STOLEN BASE: The definition of utility player has been Brent Morel during Spring Training. He has played third base, shortstop and got in at first base during Monday’s victory.

CALLED THIRD: From the fifth through the seventh innings, Donnie Veal (three) and Simon Castro (five) combined to strike out eight of nine hitters.

JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: Hard to find fault in this one. White Sox hitters even finished 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Game 1: White Sox 9, Dodgers 0

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The White Sox could not have had a better opening to Cactus League competition with Saturday’s 9-0 whitewash of the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.

Fourteen hits for the White Sox, three hits allowed, contributions across the board.

“That’s why you have intrasquad games,” said a smiling White Sox manager Robin Ventura, referring to the team’s rough instrasquad action on Thursday. “Get that out.”

Here’s what will be a regular look at the standouts and missteps for each White Sox contest in Arizona.

HOME RUN: Dylan Axelrod would be classified as the White Sox seventh starter, but he certainly set the tone for other starters Saturday. He simply threw strikes over three scoreless innings and breezed through the first two quick enough that he got a third.

“He’s one of those guys who wont dazzle you with the radar gun but he’s a smart pitcher,” said Ventura of Axelrod. “He comes out and just finds that way to keep people off balance.”

TRIPLE: The Tyler Flowers’ era officially began with a bang, as he launched the White Sox first Spring Training home run on a drive Gordon Beckham said was one of the hardest baseballs he had seen hit.

Flowers laughed at the hoopla over one prodigious clout to left, stressing there’s more work to be done.

Kudos to Flowers for bringing up the great effort turned in by Axelrod, pointing up again how Flowers’ role is handling the pitchers first and offense second.

DOUBLE: Brent Morel has returned to action, looking a little more like the Morel from 2011 as opposed to the player held down by back issues all of last season.

Morel played third, batted second and knocked out a single in his second at-bat. The key for Morel, who felt his back was back on track as far back as an interview he did with MLB.com in late November, is how he responds the day after game action.

SINGLE: Alex Rios picked up where he left off as the team’s top offensive player in 2012 with two doubles. Gordon Beckham hit the ball hard twice, including a RBI double in the second off of Clayton Kershaw. Dayan Viciedo delivered a two-run single in the third with the hit coming on a two-strike pitch.

STOLEN BASE: The name Seth Loman doesn’t often get mentioned among the White Sox top prospects, as he didn’t crack MLB.com’s Top 20 list. But the left-handed hitting first baseman has some definite power, with 115 career Minor League homers. Loman launched one to right for a two-run homer in the ninth to cap off the scoring.

CALLED THIRD: Zach Stewart picked up where Axelrod left off Saturday, throwing two perfect innings of relief. Both men figure to start the 2013 season as part of the Triple-A Charlotte rotation.

JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: It’s hard to find fault in a total team effort like Saturday. Brian Omogrosso emerged unscathed in the eighth and threw the ball well, but he did issue three straight two-out walks to earn the only small blemish on an otherwise near-perfect day.

Cactus League business as usual for Buehrle

Mark Buehrle’s wish is that he feels just as good during his franchise-record ninth Opening Day start on April 1 in Cleveland as he did during his first Cactus League start Tuesday against the Brewers.

Buehrle threw two quick innings, retiring four hitters on ground ball outs and striking out Brandon Boggs among the six Brewers faced during Milwaukee’s 3-1 victory at Camelback Ranch. The smiling veteran southpaw felt there was another one or two innings in him, but then again, Buehrle makes that same statement after his first start every spring. It really doesn’t take him more than two starts to get ready.

“You should have just got me before the game,” said Buehrle, joking about his quotes not really changing from year to year at this time. “You’re down here getting your work in to get prepared for the season.

“Obviously it’s a little too long for myself. It could be shorter. But it is what it is and you come down here and get your work in, build your arm strength and fill up innings.”

And count Buehrle in mid-season form regarding the fun he has with the media after a low-key start such as this one. Buehrle quipped how he wanted to petition Major League Baseball to have his one strikeout Tuesday added to last year’s regular-season total to give him an even 100 for 2010.

He also comically poked fun at the team’s lack of offense in Game 2 on the Cactus League ledger, with the White Sox locked in a scoreless tie when he departed, costing him an all-important chance at victory on the first day of March.

“We had our big boys going, and all we needed was one run,” said Buehrle, pausing with a wry smile for laughter from the gathered media to subside. “A little bit of run support, guys. Let’s go.”

Be careful where you park

It’s four days into White Sox Spring Training, and Sergio Santos already has vowed revenge on Matt Thornton.

Not revenge, mind you, in a Tony Soprano or Michael Corleone sort of way. This is more about one-upsmanship through practical jokes between two friends and teammates.

Thornton took an early 1-0 lead in this Spring Training category between hard-throwing relievers courtesy of a Saturday morning maneuver. It seems as if Santos arrived slightly earlier than Thornton for workouts at Camelback Ranch and parked his white BMW along a fence close to the facility where veterans often park. Santos would be considered a veteran, beginning his second big league season, but with numerous other parking spots open, Thornton took it upon himself to find Santos’ car a new location.

“I moved his car as far out as I could,” said Thornton with a wry smile.

“After my workout and breakfast, I looked outside and my car was missing,” Santos continued, in comic disbelief. “Only one guy made a comment to me and that was Thornton.”

A little while later, Thornton was doing an interview when Santos approached the southpaw and simply asked “Where is it?” with a laugh. Thornton admitted no knowledge of the missing car. MLB.com is happy to report Santos eventually found his car at the farthest regions of the players’ parking lot.

Now, the wait begins for Santos’ counterstrike.

“He’s lucky there’s no way to get it in front of the doors to the clubhouse or I would have blocked the doors to the clubhouse with it,” said Thornton, clearly having fun with the execution of his joke.

“Of course, because I showed up early and some spots were open, I parked on the side anyway because it’s easier and quicker,” Santos said. “But there will be payback. I have to figure something good for him, but I guarantee there will be payback.”

Castro leaves the game

White Sox backup catcher Ramon Castro was hit by a Russ Ortiz pitch in the top of the fourth inning and exited Wednesdays game with the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. The Ortiz pitch grazed the top of Castros helmet. He was replaced by Donny Lucy.

Putz cautiously optimistic

J.J. Putz’s first appearance with the White Sox couldn’t have been laid out before hand much better.

The right-hander followed Mark Buehrle to the mound in Friday’s 8-3 loss to the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch and faced the heart of the Dodgers lineup. Putz retired Matt Kemp on a ground ball to third baseman Jayson Nix, struck out Andre Ethier swinging, gave up a Manny Ramirez single and then struck out James Loney to end the inning.

But a cautiously optimistic Putz wasn’t about to celebrate this little bit of success, as he works his way back from elbow surgery for a bone spur that prematurely ended his 2009 season with the New York Mets.

“We got a long way to go still – just got to keep building arm strength,” Putz said. “What I was most happy with was being able to throw strikes with all my pitches. I was able to throw my split over for a strike, backdoor slider and fastball to both sides of the plate, which is the most important part.”

This first significant injury to affect Putz’s stellar career remains in the back of the reliever’s mind. So, it’s easy for Putz to get almost too concerned about normal issues popping up during Spring Training.

“I’m probably overly cautious,” Putz said. “Any time I get a little sore or something, I kind of over-exaggerate in my head what it is. That’s going to probably be the hardest part getting back from having surgery. But so far everything is working in the right direction.

“Here’s the thing – you always get sore and achy in Spring Training because you’re doing stuff you haven’t done for six months. (But) in my mind it’s more magnified because I am coming off surgery. I probably felt like this the past 10 years every time on March 5. So it’s just a matter of getting it out of my head.”

Next up for Putz is one inning Monday against his original team from Seattle.
 
“I think we’re going in the right direction,” Putz said. “We got another four weeks to go, so we can keep building.”
 

Guillen bids boss a happy birthday

Jerry Reinsdorf celebrated his 74th birthday on Thursday, joined by former Illinois governor Jim Edgar and some of Edgar’s family at Camelback Ranch for White Sox workouts.

To commemorate the milestone of a man he considers a second father, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen made a special birthday request of his boss.

“Yeah, I asked for a plane. I need to go to Miami and I asked for a private plane to go there,” said Guillen with a laugh. “I don’t even know how old he is. Seventy-four? God bless him, because I don’t think I’m going to make it to 74.

“I said to Jerry, ‘Look at me and I hope to be 74 and still walking around like you, have the mentality you have, have the life you have,’ and I know the money’s not gonna be there. But it’s amazing.

“One guy I’m praying to stay alive the most is him,” Guillen said. “I love Jerry, and he knows it. He’s like a father to everyone here. I think the respect, the love we have for him – I’m glad to work for the guy. He means a lot to me.”

Guillen went on to explain the positive influence Reinsdorf has had on his life.

“He’s not just my boss,” Guillen said. “The reason I have a great life and the reason why I really take care of all my family (is) because of him. He means a lot to us. I thank God for my dad but I think my real dad is Jerry. He spent the most money (on) me. My dad gave me a couple dollars – Jerry’s made me rich.”

And what connects Guillen, a baseball-savvy entertainer, to a more low-key and accomplished businessman such as Reinsdorf? Guillen summed up that connection in one simple word.

“Honesty. There’s one thing about Jerry. Every time I wear this uniform, Jerry knows I give him 100 percent,” Guillen said. “I told my family this: ‘You put a difference between making another $2 million a year with another ballclub, I’d rather stay here with Jerry.

“There’s one thing for sure – Ozzie’s not going anywhere as long as Jerry (doesn’t) leave, unless they fire me, then that’s a different thing. I don’t think anybody out there (has) enough money to buy myself to go someplace else.

“As long as Jerry’s (here), I don’t think I’m going to walk away from here for any reason,” Guillen said. “For (lifestyle) or better money or better team or better town. As long as Jerry is still alive, he can count on (the fact) I’m going to be here for him.”       
 
 

Be prepared

During the final days of the 2009 regular season, Ozzie Guillen made it abundantly clear as to how White Sox players were expected to come ready to play from the first day of Spring Training, 2010 in mid-February. Don’t use that time at Camelback Ranch to first get going.

Those same strong comments were made by general manager Ken Williams during his last chat with the media and by White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in a talk with the players before batting practice on the final home weekend. Simply put, the White Sox brass was not going to tolerate another sub-par year such as the one just completed.

Apparently, a few weeks away from his team’s 79-83 finish haven’t softened Guillen’s stance on this particular topic.

“Kenny and Jerry made it clear to everyone–come ready to play in Spring Training,” said Guillen during a Tuesday conference call, in which he discussed the team, as well as Gordon Beckham’s selection as one of the 2009 Sporting News Rookies of the Year.

“We expect to win next year, like we expect to win every year,” Guillen said. “So, they better be prepared.”

Guillen’s conference call response came at the end of a question concerning Freddy Garcia. The veteran right-hander, who closed out his 2009 campaign with seven quality starts in his last eight trips to the mound, had his $1 million 2010 option picked up by the White Sox.

The starting rotation alignment has Garcia currently penciled in at No. 5, a hidden luxury when considering Garcia’s vast pitching knowledge and big-game success. But despite Garcia and Guillen basically being family members, Garcia won’t be cut any extra slack if he shows up to Glendale out of shape.

“Freddy know what he have to do, and if he’s not ready for Spring Training, then we make a move,” Guillen said. “I’m not going to babysit him. But he has to stay strong for him, not just for us. Just work hard and take care of himself. Freddy won’t have any problem.

“Everyone has that same responsibility. Jerry made it clear. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. If you are not prepared, we will find another home for you.”

The gang is all here

For those wondering about those wide-ranging rumors regarding the White Sox possibly acquiring Melky Cabrera, Gary Matthews, Jr. or even Juan Pierre as the team’s leadoff man/center fielder, manager Ozzie Guillen seemed to squelch that talk following Thursday’s 3-1 loss to Arizona at Camelback Ranch.

No, we're not going [outside]," said Guillen, when asked if talk came up centering on names not in camp during the staff's daily meetings. "I don't want that to happen, I don't like that to happen. If we have to go outside the organization right now, gosh, I'm not going to say we're in trouble, but as a ballclub we have enough guys here to resolve that problem.''

So, it looks as if the final two roster spots for position players, assuming Brian Anderson is on the roster, will come from the group of Dewayne Wise, Brent Lillibridge and Jerry Owens. At this point, the White Sox will not take on any more payroll, which rules out a number of potential outside options, unless the offering franchise picks up a bulk of the contract.

 

Birthday bash

It might have been a day late, but the White Sox had a nice birthday tribute to first-base coach Harold Baines before the team hit in the bottom of the first of Monday’s game against the Royals. The public address announcer at Camelback Ranch informed the crowd of Baines’ 50th birthday being Sunday, and the crowd followed with a nice ovation.

Gordon Beckham, the subject of a practical joke earlier this camp when he inadvertently asked “Who is Harold” while talking to A.J. Pierzynski about Baines, brought a cake for Baines on to the field. A group of fans then serenaed Baines with their rendition of “Happy Birthday” later in the game, to which Baines tipped his helmet.

Manager Ozzie Guillen, one of Baines’ closest friends, comically applauded Baines’ longevity after Monday’s game that seemed like it took 50 years to complete.

He’s a lucky man; he made it to 50,” said Guillen with a laugh. “I hope I make it to 50. If I keep living the life I lead, 49 will be good enough.” 

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