Results tagged ‘ Don Cooper ’

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 4: White Sox topple Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. – The Cactus League unbeaten streak continued for the White Sox, as they scored early and often against the Rangers. Here’s a look.

HOME RUN: Conor Gillaspie believes his first hit, a two-run single to left during a six-run third, was “kind of lucky honestly.” But there was nothing lucky about his two-run triple to right during a five-run fourth, giving the new acquisition four RBIs in the victory. Even with Jeff Keppinger sidelined defensively by a sore shoulder, the White Sox look as if they have a competitive situation at third base with Gillaspie and Brent Morel.

“Again, getting him in here and getting him at-bats, that’s the biggest thing right now,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Gillaspie. “He’s a little behind, not getting many at-bats over there. So it’s catching him back up. It’s a good short swing. He’s got a little pop too.”

TRIPLE: Hector Gimenez did a little bit of everything on Tuesday. He knocked out two hits, drove in a run and threw out Elvis Andrus trying to take second on a wild pitch in the first inning. It’s early, but Gimenez looks to have a plus throwing arm, backed up by his 43.1 percent success rate (22-of-51) of throwing out base stealers with Triple-A Charlotte last season.

DOUBLE: When the White Sox acquired Nestor Molina from the Blue Jays for Sergio Santos at the 2011 Winter Meetings, it sounded as if the right-hander could be in the Majors rather quickly i.e. that upcoming 2012 season. Molina instead tried to pitch through elbow pain and had a rough debut campaign with the White Sox in 2012. He took Step 1 to getting back on the right track Tuesday by throwing two scoreless innings.

“I concentrate on throwing strikes,” said Molina through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. “If I do throw strikes early on, I’m going to get a lot of outs.”

SINGLE: Josh Phegley helped complete the scoring with a blast to left in the eighth. Jared Mitchell and Marcus Semien each knocked out another hit, and Zach Stewart fanned three over 1 2/3 innings.

STOLEN BASE: Trayce Thompson actually picked up the White Sox first stolen base of the spring and scored two runs.

CALLED THIRD: After escaping a bases-loaded, two-out situation in his first Cactus League outing, Brian Omogrosso gave up two hits over two scoreless innings. Omogrosso’s most likely big league usage, either at the season’s outset or into 2013, is in long relief.

JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: Santos Rodriguez, who received high marks from pitching coach Don Cooper for the great arm he possesses, struggled in allowing three earned runs on three hits and two walks in just one-third of an inning.

Bruney, Lucy receive non-roster invites

Brian Bruney and the White Sox agreed to a Minor League contract and the right-handed reliever received a non-roster invitation to Spring Training as part of the deal.

Bruney, 28, posted a lofty 7.64 ERA over 19 games with the Nationals in 2010. He gave up 21 hits and walked 20 in 17 2/3 innings, but will have a chance to fill out the White Sox bullpen behind Matt Thornton, Sergio Santos, Tony Pena, possibly Chris Sale and a veteran arm who the White Sox eventually add. Bruney will be competing with younger pitchers such as Gregory Infante, Lucas Harrell and Anthony Carter.

From 2006-09 with the Yankees, Bruney posted a 12-3 record with a 3.25 ERA in 153 games. Bruney could turn into the low-risk, high-reward signing the White Sox seem to thrive upon, a hurler who pitching coach Don Cooper can work with to turn around. Bruney always has battled control issues with 173 walks issued in 239 innings.

Donny Lucy also re-signed via a Minor League deal with the White Sox and received a non-roster invite to Spring Training.

The catcher started the 2010 season with the White Sox when backup catcher Ramon Castro was sidelined with a bruised right heal. Lucy impressed the White Sox with his .333 average in seven games, but also did a solid job of handling the White Sox pitching staff. Lucy spent most of the campaign with Triple-A Charlotte, where he figures to play in 2011 if no other Major League team shows interest.

Week in Quotes

At the end of each week during Spring Training and hopefully beyond, I’ll try to give you a little flavor from the past seven days of White Sox action with some of the more telling or even humorous quotes. Here’s a look from the first week of action in Arizona, in no particular order.

1. “People talk about trade deadlines and offseasons and timing on things. We are always looking to take that next step to get us that much better. That goes for today and the trading deadline season. All that means is other clubs are more apt to want to do things and if something arises where we have a need, regardless of where that need is, we are going to try to fill it.”
–White Sox general manager Ken Williams on the team’s aggressive philosophy in pursuit of top talent.

2. “We do things right, then we are out of here quick. If we play around and we do the wrong thing, throw to the wrong bases, and don’t take ground balls seriously or run the bases seriously, we are going to be out there for a long time. The best we work, we out of here.

“I’m not going to babysit them. It’s not an instructional league. You are in the big leagues for a reason. I’m not supposed to teach you here. We are supposed to remind you about what goes on with baseball.”
–Manager Ozzie Guillen, explaining White Sox players will dictate how long they are on the field for practice each day.

3. “Make sure you take that young guy under your wing and show him the ropes.”
–Guillen to Freddy Garcia, whose Spring Training locker is situated next to 22-year-veteran Omar Vizquel.

4. “This is a different type of team. We are not the slugging White Sox that hit 250 home runs and go base to base. But that’s a good thing.”
–White Sox veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski on the change in philosophy on offense for 2010.

5. “I’m always asked that question and I just want to get as many at-bats as I can get. That’s what I’m looking for. Ozzie is the king of making that lineup and wherever he puts me, I’ll be happy.”
–Carlos Quentin on the ideal spot for him to hit in the lineup.

6. “It’s extremely strange. I talked to both a good bit this winter. They are dear friends for life, and I have a great deal of respect for them and their fabulous careers. But more than that, I have a lot of respect for them as people. I know the fans appreciate all they did for us. It was an honor to coach them, and when I retire and look back, those two are right up at the top of my list to be around.”
–Hitting coach Greg Walker on not having Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye in camp.

7. “I don’t want to bring up names, but you take Jermaine. I remember Jermaine telling me at the end of the year, ‘If I don’t like what I see during the offseason or I don’t get what I want, and that doesn’t mean money, it means just the situation and everything I want, I have no problem, I’m happy to not go play. I’ll maybe go during the season if someone asks me, but I’m content with that.’ I would say that would probably be my mindset, where I’m not going to force something if it’s not there because I have other things, I have a perspective of what’s important and what isn’t.”
–Team captain Paul Konerko, on possibly not playing after his contract runs out following this season if he doesn’t find the right fit.

8. “The bottom line is when you get [weather] like this, you have to be like the Marines – adapt and overcome.”
–Pitching coach Don Cooper, on making workout adjustments during a rare Arizona rainy period.

9. “Getting [drunk] every night. Let’s put it plain and simple. When I took a long, hard look at myself and saw where I was headed, at that point, I was headed in the wrong direction.”
–Closer Bobby Jenks, who came into camp in phenomenal condition, on why he stopped drinking during the offseason.

10. “Joey and everyone were praising him and saying how great he looks. He said, ‘I’m on a mission. I’m the best center fielder you have here.’ And Joey said, ‘Well, you should be there are only pitchers and catchers in camp.’ Line of the day.”
–Williams, at the start of camp, recounting a conversation between Andruw Jones and bench coach Joey Cora.

11. “If that thing offends anyone, beat it because I didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t need Twitter to let people know what I feel about this ballclub. I don’t need Twitter to let people know what I feel about this organization or Major League Baseball, period.”
–Guillen on the one-day Twitter-gate, after the entertaining manager started his own account, which is now up to 29,203 followers in less than one week.

12. “I’m really not a Facebook or Twitter guy. I’m a prime rib and baked potato guy. I hate to say that but it’s true. Maybe somebody should teach me.”
–Cubs manager Lou Piniella, when asked about the Guillen Twitter controversy.

13. “I’m ticked. We need to get the word out.”
–A smiling Mark Teahen on Guillen’s total of followers on Twitter surpassing the total for the followers of his popular dog, ESPY Teahen.

14. “I stopped pitching freshman year in high school. I closed then and used to throw hard.”
–Sergio Santos, who is making the successful switch from infielder to reliever with a fastball in the range of 98 mph.

15. “You mean Babe? Yeah. He’s a natural. Freaks like that just don’t happen. Don’t go looking for another Buehrle.”
–Scott Linebrink, when asked if Mark Buehrle, who hit his first career home run last year, would be the best candidate to follow Santos and go from pitcher to position player.

16. “I was happy to see him smiling and at peace with his decision and his family was around. I thought it was great. It was a great turn out from the Chicago media and it played well when it went out that night.”
–Williams on Frank Thomas’ retirement ceremony at U.S. Cellular Field.

17. “It was big for us. There were a lot of losing years. I got a chance to go to it, since it was in Miami, and I live there. They are still partying back there. That’s why it snowed in Louisiana.”
–Juan Pierre, on his beloved New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl.

18. “Good for the city? Try the whole state. It’s been a big party down there since it happened.”
–White Sox 2009 first-round pick Jared Mitchell, who played baseball and football at LSU, talking about the effect of the Saints’ Super Bowl win on New Orleans.

19. “They gave me an opportunity, and I didn’t put up numbers. So, this is where I find myself.”
–Cole Armstrong, once the White Sox catcher of the future, with a refreshing look at now being in camp as a non-roster invite.

20. “I still feel like I’m a productive player and feel like I can contribute, but teams want me as a backup player, and that’s something I’m not ready to do. I feel undervalued, basically. I don’t think I have to go out there and prove anything to anyone. My numbers the last five or six years show I can help someone.”
–Dye, speaking to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, concerning his shock to still be without a Major League job.

(Personal Bonus): “No, Merkin. I’m the animal whisperer and got that animal to lie down in front of me.”
–Pierzynski, showing off of a special calendar featuring the big game hunted on an African safari he took with Aaron Rowand and their wives. The response was to my question as to whether the mammoth animal in front of him really was dead.

Cooper expects step up in 2010 from Jenks

Pitching coach Don Cooper tempers his look to the future with the fact that the White Sox still have two games remaining to play to complete the 2009 campaign.

But Cooper already has started putting together thoughts about individual improvements to benefit the whole staff in 2010, and one of those targets is closer Bobby Jenks.

“Bobby needs to pick up next year with a better season than he had this year,” said Cooper, when asked to assess the White Sox staff prior to Friday’s series opener in Detroit. “Bobby has run into a few things this year.”

Jenks battled through problems with kidney stones this season that were basically out of his control. He also was shut down last week with a strained right calf. Cooper mentioned an ongoing back issue, though, that might have contributed to Jenks’ 3.71 ERA and 29 saves in 35 chances–still good numbers but not equal to his lofty previous standards.

“Bobby has had a little bit of a back issue for two years and we can’t put our finger on exactly why,” Cooper said. “It’s kind of a freak thing. And Bobby had the calf thing.

“We have to look into somehow, someway trying to avoid two of those things because I don’t know if there’s much you can do about kidney stones. We have to try to look into each individual guy and what can we do to put them in better position so we don’t lose their availability.”

The White Sox closer, who has 146 career saves in 168 opportunities, could once again be the subject of offseason trade rumors. He figures to get an increase through arbitration from his $5.6 million salary in 2009, and the White Sox have another viable closer option in Matt Thornton. But Cooper is operating under the assumption that Jenks will be back as his last line of pitching defense, looking for ways to strengthen his attack.

White Sox weekend pitching alignment

Just for official clarification, from White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, Jake Peavy will start the series opener Friday against Detroit. Freddy Garcia will pitch Saturday night’s contest. Daniel Hudson is expected to start the 2009 home finale.

About that Metrodome state of mind

Minnesota’s three-game sweep of the White Sox earlier this week now stands as nothing but a not-so-distant memory after this strong series effort against the Yankees. But when the White Sox visit the Metrodome again later this season, in what could be a crucial three-game set with huge American League Central title ramifications from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, Scott Podsednik already is asking for an adjustment from his team.

“We really need to change our mindset in the Metrodome,” Podsednik said. “We read a little bit in too much of how we perform there in the past. We psyche ourselves out.

“So, just change our mindset and attitude going in there. We kind of put ourselves behind the eight ball going in there before we even play the games. It was nice to try to erase what we did on the road, to come back and bounce back the way we’ve played here.”

The White Sox have a 4-17 record in their last 21 games played at the Metrodome, so Podsednik’s comments hold great merit.

–Remember, you can find me now on Twitter @scottmerkin.

–Freddy Garcia threw five scoreless innings Saturday night for Bristol, allowing one hit, and striking out two without a walk. Pitching coach Don Cooper believes Garcia is close to being ready to help the White Sox.

“He’s not that far off,” Cooper said. “We started a plan with him. He’s done well on the plan set up. But we don’t want to rush that plan near the finish line. He’s not far from being done.”

Garcia moved to Bristol with Class A Kannapolis embarking on a road trip. Speaking of Kannapolis, Jared Mitchell’s average has dipped to .286 in the midst of a 1-for-14 slump. Mitchell was the White Sox top pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

No lefty in the bullpen

Matt Thornton returned to Chicago Monday to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter, leaving the White Sox without a left-handed reliever to combat Minnesota’s Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel. Southpaw Clayton Richard, who still could move to the bullpen even after two stellar starts, was not available following his eight inning stint on Sunday in Detroit.

Pitching coach Don Cooper also is not with the team, returning home to deal with family matters.

Garcia makes return to the mound

Freddy Garcia is scheduled to make his first Minor League rehab start Sunday evening for Class A Kannapolis, at home against Rome, marking the truly official opening of his second time around with the White Sox.

Garcia threw two bullpens for the White Sox last week and is expected to throw two or three innings for Kannapolis. After watching Garcia throw last week, pitching coach Don Cooper mentioned how it might take the right-hander just four or five starts to get ready to help the White Sox.

Rotation alteration?

Friday’s second-game start for Bartolo Colon at Comerica Park could have some interesting ramifications beyond the fact that a solid outing could lead the White Sox back into a first-place tie with the Tigers.

If Colon pitches well, there’s a good chance he’ll move back into the starting rotation as the team’s fifth man behind Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Jose Contreras. Clayton Richard, who has a 60-40 chance to start Sunday, according to pitching coach Don Cooper, would move to the bullpen.

“Yes, Clayton would go to the bullpen,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I need a lefty in the bullpen. Hopefully we will have Danks to throw on his normal days. That’s what we think.”

Cooper said they would know more about Danks and the troublesome blister on his left index finger later on Friday. If he’s healthy, Danks would go Monday at the Metrodome. If he’s unable to go, Danks could go on the disabled list retroactive to July 18 and Carlos Torres could come back up to replace him.

Guillen also pointed out as to how Colon will not be judged by Friday’s performance alone in regard to his rotation re-entrance.

“I don’t want to say Colon is going to throw one game and see what happens,” Guillen said. “That’s not fair. But he has to bring more to the table. We need him or someone else to step up and pitch good in that spot.”

Colon could not be used out of the bullpen, in Guillen’s estimation. Richard would give the White Sox a second left-hander with Matt Thornton.

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