Results tagged ‘ Camelback Ranch ’

Thome update

Ozzie Guillen believes that Jim Thome will get a few at-bats Tuesday, after being out of action since he was scratched from last Wednesday’s starting lineup with tightness in his back. Thome would take the hacks back at Camelback Ranch, with the White Sox traveling to Tucson on Tuesday.

“But he feels better, and it’s a day-by-day thing,” said Guillen of Thome. “We got a lot of games left. I don’t worry about him. I want to make sure.”

Contreras, Colon on schedule

Jose Contreras will start Sunday in Peoria against the Mariners and Bartolo Colon will start Monday at home against the Royals, after they each threw their second successful bullpen session of 50 pitches on Thursday at Camelback Ranch. White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said the veteran hurlers will each work one or two innings.

This and that

–DeWayne Wise tripled and homered in four at-bats, while Chris Stewart and Sergio Santos both went deep during the Dodgers’ 6-4 victory over the White Sox in Monday’s ‘B’ Game. The White Sox did not bat in the bottom of the ninth because Los Angeles ran out of pitchers. Franklyn German hurled two scorless innings, while Lance Broadway gave up one unearned run and fanned three in two innings.

–Jeff Marquez is scheduled to throw during Tuesday’s day off, probably working against Minor League hitters on one of the White Sox back fields at Camelback Ranch.

–Aaron Poreda worked four innings in relief on Monday, giving up one run and striking out three. This effort follows a strong three-inning stint last Wednesday in Las Vegas against the Cubs.

The big left-hander remains in play for that final spot out of the White Sox bullpen.

“(White sox pitching coach Don Cooper) is going to continue to work with him,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of Poreda, the team’s top pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. “Hopefully, we get the best out of him and see what happens at the end of Spring Training.”

–Brent Lillibridge returned from a bout with the flu and played shortstop in the game against Cleveland, with Chris Getz playing second. Jayson Nix remains out of action with a sore right quad.

Getz’s three-run, inside-the-park home run hit in the second showed me he’s get a second gear speed-wise that I didn’t really get a chance to see last year. Getz shows good patience at the plate, and although Guillen does not want to add more pressure to what he already has, could Getz be a leadoff hitter? I think he could.

–Is this something–the White Sox are 0-5 against American League teams and 6-2 against the National League during 2009 Cactus League action.

–My original pick was Teya to win Rock of Love: Charm School Bus or whatever it’s called. I think Mindy is closing fast.

 

 

 

Colon and Contreras update

Judging simply by the sound of Barolo Colon’s pitches during Monday’s live batting practice session at Camelback Ranch, the White Sox might break camp with a veteran starting rotation in tact.

Colon and Jose Contreras have numerous tasks in front of them before being deemed ready for the 2009 regular season, but Monday morning was another in a long line of steps forward. Each hurler threw two 20-pitch innings, facing Minor Leaguers such as Miguel Negron and Matthew Inouye. Colon stayed with fastballs and change-ups, breaking off a few curves, while Contreras threw all of his pitches, from all angles.

Remember, Contreras is coming back from a ruptured Achilles, while Colon is coming back from offseason surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow. So, from a purely throwing standpoint, Contreras is ahead of Colon. That gap appears to be closing judging by the zip on Colon’s pitches.

There will be another batting practice session for the two on Wednesday and then possibly live game action this weekend. Having Contreras and Colon ready instantly gives the White Sox a very deep pitching staff, with Clayton Richard and Jeff Marquez moving to long relief.

With a B Game going at the same time, manager Ozzie Guillen did not join pitching coach Don Cooper to watch Colon and Contreras throw. Gordon Beckham batted twice while I was watching the B game and had four hits–just kidding. He had one hit and drove home a run with a ground out.

By the way, for you boxing fans, Rock Newman, Riddick Bowe’s former manager, was in attendance at Camelback Ranch on Monday. We had a brief discussion about the “fan man” fight, which I attended in Las Vegas in 1993, when a man paraglided into the ring during a Bowe-Evander Holyfield fight. That “fan man” has his own Wikipedia page, which is kind of sad.

 

Grand Opening

Camelback Ranch plays host to its first official contest Sunday afternoon, appropriately between the Dodgers and White Sox, with the first pitch scheduled for 2:05 p.m. CT.

Jordin Sparks, a Glendale native and American Idol winner, will sing the National Anthem, punctuatd by a fly-over by four F-16s from neighboring Luke Air Force Base. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and managers Joe Torre and Ozzie Guillen will participate in ceremonial first pitches.

Count Guillen as one of the many who is most excited to break in the new ballpark.

The only thing I can say is I was first at three different fields,” Guillen said. “I was the first at new Comiskey Park, the first at Sarasota and now this one. It either means you are getting old or you have been around the same organization a long time.

I think it’s going to be great. With the Dodgers, 50 years since the last World Series (in 1959, between the two teams). I feel proud to be part of that. I’m always pleased when baseball gets better and better.

“You can see baseball moving forward when you build a new facility like this one for Spring Training,” Guillen said. “Hopefully, I’ll be around long enough to enjoy this complex a little while. And hopefully, I no manage long enough to move somewhere else. It’s going to be a special day for the White Sox organization and we have to enjoy it as much as we can.

Mark Buehrle gets the start for the White Sox, before he heads home to Missouri for the birth of his second child and first daughter.

 

 

Beckham, meet Baines

Welcome to the big leagues, Gordon Beckham.

The White Sox top pick from the 2008 First-Year Player draft was the subject of his first team prank on Monday, following a Sunday batting practice session when he reportedly asked A.J. Pierzynski “Who is Harold Baines?”

Joey Cora, the White Sox bench coach, was the evil mastermind of this put on, live from Glendale, beginning with what he called a game of “Who am I?” after making the morning announcements before team stretch.

“Maybe a couple of you guys know exactly who this person is. He’s a special person,” Cora said. “This person is ranked 18th in games playd, all-time, in Major League Baseball.

“No. 26, ALL-TIME, in Major League Baseball, in at-bats,” said Cora, emphasizing all-time for effect. “No. 28, ALL-TIME in Major League baseball, with 1,628 RBIs.

“Total bases, 33rd ALL-TIME in Major League Baseball. Forty-first in hits, ALL-TIME, with 2,886 hits. Fiftieth, ALL-TIME, in extra-base hits, with 921.

“It’s unbelievable,” Cora added. “This guy should be in the Hall of Fame.”

At that point, general manager Ken Williams chimed in.

“He was clutch, too, wasn’t he?” Williams said.

And, then Cora produced the exclamation point for the joke.

“By the way, a lot of you guys who have played at Cellular Field, whoever hasn’t played there, there’s a statue in right field of this guy,” Cora said.

Cora held up a black and white copy of a photo of Baines standing next to his statue and asked, “I wonder who it is? Let’s take a crack at it.”

Somewhere around half-way through the set up, Beckham saw the joke coming his way and didn’t flinch when answering, “Harold Baines.”

Baines and Beckham shook hands, and Baines signed the picture for the phenom. But the prank was not complete without Jermaine Dye encouraging Beckham to explain how this situation originally began.

“I knew who Harold Baines was,” Beckham said.

“Maybe you didn’t,” Pierzynski and Brian Anderson responded.

“A.J. asked why I was No. 80, and I said, ‘I don’t know. What number do you think they should have given me?’” Beckham said. “A.J. goes, ‘I thought they were going to un-retire Harold’s number for you. And I said, ‘Who’s Harold?’”

Clearly, Beckham won’t ask that question again.

“Now, I know,” Beckham said with a smile.

Beckham might want to share that information with a fan at Camelback Ranch, who greeted Baines on his way to the practice fields Monday by announcing, “Good morning, Jermaine.”

 

Exploring Glendale

Thought I would share with you my Monday adventures with Danielle and Stacy from the White Sox community relations department in an area of Glendale called Westgate. Think of a glitzy, sort of in-your-face type of shopping complex like you would find in Las Vegas, only without gambling and the Kardashian sisters. At least, they weren’t at our restaurant, and trust me, I always look.

As for the restaurant we visited, the food was not really good enough for me to recommend the place–although it was just one visit. There was one sort of interesting service moment, when I ordered my entree and then asked the waitress about also getting a side dinner salad. Little did I know, salad came with the entree so she actually brought two for me.

Clearly, it was my mistake, but when I told her I wouldn’t have ordered another salad if I knew one came with the meal, she looked at me, smiled and said, “Awww.” As they say in the game of baseball, she clearly owned me. But she also took the salad off the bill.

We followd up dinner by visiting an establishment called Saddle Ranch Chop House, where I watched a White Sox staffer ride a mechanical bull. My goal is to tackle the same challenge before I leave Arizona, although my two brothers are taking bets as to what I injure if I actually go through with it.

If you make the trip here for Spring Training, and I encourage everyone to do so to see Camelback Ranch, if nothing else, Westgate seems to be a nice evening venture after baseball. Just be careful of the parking crunch if the Coyotes are playing, since the stadium is bascially attached to the complex.

I also would liked to extend a belated Happy Birthday wish to my friend, Katie, and my Facebook friend, Denise Richards.

 

 

 

 

Thome talk

My apologies for accidentally skipping a day blogging from glorious Glendale (I still miss Tucson, but Camelback Ranch becomes more impressive every day I’m there).

I had fully intended to blog when I arrived back at my spring condo last night, but first laid down on the couch and started watching the 20 worst divorces of all time on the E channel. By the way, how is the Paul McCartney divorce not No. 1? The dude has Beatles money and no pre-nup. Anyhow, I fell asleep at 6 p.m. and woke up disoriented around 11 p.m. I should have blogged then, but I was just trying to figure out where I was at the time.

Anyhow, to borrow a line from WWE announcer Jim Ross, business is about to pick up at White Sox camp. Thursday marks the official day for all position players to report, meaning it’s also the first full squad workout and the first Ozzie Guillen speech of Spring Training. From what I’ve been told, since the media isn’t allowed in the clubhouse during these meetings, Guillen’s humorous but direct dissertation would sell millions on DVD.

We had a chance to talk to with Jim Thome today, and it was interesting to hear him recognize how the end of what I think is a sure-fire, Hall-of-Fame career might not be that far away. I would guess three years would lock up 600 home runs for Thome, allow his young son to gain a greater appreciation for what dad does and give Thome three more chances to win that elusive World Series title.

I had the chance to speak with Thome a few times during the offseason, and he talked then about just taking one year at a time and thoroughly enjoying the present season to the fullest instead of thinking about 2010. That plan certainly hasn’t changed, but on Wednesday, he sounded as if a little more thought had been put into the final stage of his illustrious run.

Along with being one of the nicest humans you’ll ever meet, what really impresses me about Thome is how much he truly enjoys his life. I wish I enjoyed my life half as much as he does. If more people took Thome’s positive approach, there would probably be less crime in the streets or at least fewer people honking and yelling when the car in front of them fails to go on green (one of my pet peeves).

Thome also uses his vast baseball fame to help others, which holds true for MANY players and personnel throughout the White Sox organization. I’m sure that charitable aspect of Thome’s life will continue, even when baseball is done. As a side note, anyone who has never attended the Joyce Thome Benefit for Children’s Hospital of Ilinois, in Peoria, hosted by Thome and his wife, Andrea, should do so immediately–like January, 2010, immediately. Great event and a great cause

Thome might not be a .280 hitter anymore. But you can write in pen today that barring injuries, Thome will hit at least 35 home runs and drive in at least 90 in 2009.

 

 

 

A little spring color

A few priceless quotes always fall just short of finding their way on-line, even on a day when we have four new stories at whitesox.com. So, I’ll try to share them with you as frequently as I remember. Here’s today’s batch:

–”I think they got him so I wouldn’t be the fattest pitcher on the staff,” Mark Buehrle’s quip about the free agent signing of Bartolo Colon.

–”I can see Caracas from my house,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen’s commentary on the rather long distance he has to travel to go from his Spring Training house to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.

You know, I often wonder how Ozzie would do as a stand-up comedian because he’s one of the funniest people I know. But I think his skills are more geared for Improv.

And finally:

–”I’m old and fat and slow and we are in a youth movement. So, I have to look young a little bit,” White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski on reporting a couple of pounds thinner than last year, when he came to camp in great condition.

 

A few other points of interest:

 

–Thought I had a scorpion in my place last nigt. Turned out to be a water bug. Yeah, not even really close.

 

–Didn’t see a second of Michigan’s big win today, but I figure four more wins gets the Wolverines in the NCAA Tournament. Could seven Big 10 teams really qualify?

 

–Did Friday the 13th, Part 186, really make $42.2 million at the box office this past weekend? Did anyone see it? I don’t know about you, but after the first one, they all seemed like unintentional comedies to me.

 

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