Results tagged ‘ Jared Mitchell ’

Game 15: Sale sails through five

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Low-scoring pitchers’ battles are unusual bordering on unlikely in Arizona, but Monday’s 3-1 victory for the White Sox over the Rockies fit into that category. Here’s a look.

HOME RUN: It’s as rare to see a Cactus League complete game as it is to see a torrential downpour in the desert. But Chris Sale was on that pace Monday, needing just 32 pitches to complete three innings and 50 over five. He struck out two, didn’t issue a walk and allowed one run on three hits over five-plus innings and 58 pitches.

“He looked great,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Sale. “He got it going and stretched it out today, going into the sixth. He feels good and looks fine.”

“Every time that I go out there, my goal in mind is throwing strikes and attacking the zone,” Sale said. “I didn’t walk anybody. So, that’s where I want to be.”

TRIPLE: Another Cactus League game, another long home run for Paul Konerko who served as the designated hitter Monday. Konerko now has five long balls and has been making solid contact since Day 1.

DOUBLE: Jared Mitchell finished 0-for-2 with a walk at the plate on Monday but showed off other parts of his skill-set. Mitchell swiped second in the second and then made a nice running catch against the left field wall to start the fourth on a blast by Eric Young. Mitchell won’t break camp with the White Sox but certainly has impressed with his Spring Training play.

SINGLE: Gordon Beckham knocked out two hits. Angel Sanchez, who started at shortstop, tripled, singled and scored a run.

STOLEN BASE: If you arrived late for this particular contest, you potentially missed a good portion of the action. The time of game was 2:13.

CALLED THIRD: Ramon Troncoso turned in another strong outing, with the veteran reliever finishing the victory via a scoreless ninth. It might be tough for the right-hander to crack the White Sox opening bullpen alignment, barring injury, but he gives the team another strong option if needed.

JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: The White Sox could have scored more than one run in the third if not for Jordan Danks getting picked off third by Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba with runners on first and third, nobody out and Adam Dunn at the plate. Dunn then gave Sale a chance for early postgame stretching, when the left-hander had to contort to catch Dunn’s throw on Todd Helton’s inning-ending grounder to first in the fifth.

Game 12: Rough day for the pitchers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Saturday’s 11-9 victory for the Diamondbacks over the White Sox had the feel of Opening Day in Chicago, if only for that fact that game-time temperature was 50 degrees. Here’s a look at the action.

HOME RUN: Without even asking Paul Konerko, it’s safe to say that the White Sox captain won’t base anything on Cactus League results. But the fact remains that the first baseman has been hitting the ball hard through the first 13 games of action: including the exhibition with Team USA. He singled in his first at-bat Saturday, giving him seven straight at-bats with hits, and then after lining out to center, launched a three-run homer in the fifth. Konerko is hitting .409 to date.

TRIPLE: Jared Mitchell continues to impress this spring, adding a triple and single to his resume in Scottsdale and raising his average to .450. He also showed more signs of his great speed with a stolen base.

DOUBLE: For the White Sox to take off this season, they are going to need better production from Alexei Ramirez. It’s a fact Ramirez has talked about, despite having a pretty good season statistically in 2012, commensurate with his past production. Ramirez showed his run-producing ability with a two-run double in the second among his two hits.

SINGLE: Josh Bell continued his strong spring with a two-run homer off of Brandon McCarthy in the second. Jeff Keppinger added two hits, raising his average to .476.

STOLEN BASE: The “getting in my work” theory applied to Matt Thornton’s afternoon, as he allowed six runs on five hits over two-thirds of an inning. Thornton laughed about being lucky that the White Sox don’t face Arizona this season but even better news for the left-hander is that the game took place just 10 minutes from his family’s new home. After a rough day of work, it was at least a short ride back to the family.

CALLED THIRD: It was a rough day for the pitchers, but Hector Santiago pitched well over two scoreless innings. He struck out two, allowed two hits and walked two. Nestor Molina also had a solid day at the B Game loss to the Indians, throwing three scoreless innings with one strikeout.

JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: John Danks struggled during his second Cactus League start, but as Bill Murray once said in the movie Meatballs, it just doesn’t matter. Well, it matters because as Danks said, he never likes getting hit around. But right now the process is far more important than the results in Danks’ comeback from Aug. 6 arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Danks’ location just wasn’t there on Saturday.

“It just will take time for Johnny to get sharper and get that control you need to do it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s not happy with today either. You just keep working on it. I think he’s going to get it. Right now it’s just not there.

“He goes out and gets stronger each time. Again, it’s not what he wanted but we’re going to see what it looks like tomorrow and the next day and go from there.”

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.

Game 3: Another Day, Another Tie

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Rick Hahn Cactus League era is starting to look just like the Chicago Blackhawks’ NHL record. Three games for the White Sox with Hahn as the new general manager, one win and two ties.

Monday’s deadlock was almost like a victory for the White Sox, who trailed 9-0 after three against the defending World Series champions from San Francisco. But the White Sox scored two in the sixth and seven in the eighth to forge the 9-9 break-even point. Here’s a look.

HOME RUN: It’s commonly believed that the White Sox will go as far as their pitching staff will take them. That statement means relievers as well as starters.

Late-inning relievers Matt Lindstrom, Jesse Crain and Nate Jones and closer Addison Reed combined to throw four innings and allow one hit while striking out five. Not a bad start.

TRIPLE: Brent Morel came into camp brimming with confidence, buoyed by a healthy back and knowledge of the on-field ability he possesses when he’s healthy. Monday’s effort continued to show that not taking Morel could be the White Sox toughest Spring Training decision. Morel lined a solid single to right off of Madison Bumgarner in the first and made a slick catch on Angel Pagan’s line drive in the bottom of the frame. Morel’s back also survived what has been described as a fairly hard infield at Scottsdale Stadium,

DOUBLE: This comeback was brought to White Sox fans by the organization’s Minor League system, albeit against Giants’ Minor Leaguers. Keenyn Walker and Josh Phegley had big hits in the seven-run eighth, setting up Seth Loman’s game-tying three-run clout off of Brett Bochy.

SINGLE: Paul Konerko knocked out two hits in three at-bats. Jared Mitchell tripled home two runs.

STOLEN BASE: Ok, Loman just turned 27 and has next to no chance to break camp with the White Sox. But give the young first baseman credit for his prodigious power. He has two homers in three games, and they’ve traveled an approximate combined distance of 900 feet. Monday’s blast hit the awning over the fan deck in right, beyond the bullpen.

CALLED THIRD: Neither Hector Santiago nor Andre Rienzo had the afternoon they wanted on the mound. That’s the somewhat bad news because after all, these statistics never make it to the back of baseball cards. It’s all about the work. The good news is they are ready to for their next trip to the mound, which for Rienzo, will be Saturday for Team Brazil in Japan at the World Baseball Classic.

Game 3: Peavy gives happy all-clear after start

Make it three up, three down for Robin Ventura as White Sox manager in Cactus League competition. Here’s a look at the important factors behind the 10-6 final in favor of Milwaukee at Camelback Ranch Wednesday.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Jake Peavy felt good.

Yes, I repeat, the White Sox right-hander, scheduled to make the second start of the 2012 regular season in Texas, felt no pain—anywhere.

“I did, I did, I really did,” said Peavy of feeling good during his two innings of work. “I can’t help but have a big smile on my face.”

“You want to win the game,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of one of the silver linings from Wednesday’s setback. “But it’s good seeing Jake go out … . Good velocity.”

Brent Lillibridge continues to show himself as the utility infield favorite by playing a solid second base and knocking out one hit. He also swiped a base, presenting a solid right-handed hitting alternative at the top of the White Sox lineup.

Jared Mitchell launched his first Cactus League home run during the White Sox three-run fifth inning, and Brent Morel finished with two hits.

“He has had good at-bats,” said Ventura of Mitchell. “His confidence level coming in his at-bats, you like what you see. He’s making a good impression.”

WHAT WENT WRONG: Sure, it’s only three games into Cactus League play, but the White Sox middle relief spots could end up being a war of attrition. Nestor Molina, who is a long shot to break camp with the team, got hit hard Monday by the Dodgers, while Dylan Axelrod and Zach Stewart combined to give up six runs on six hits over four innings Wednesday, with three walks and two strikeouts. Eric Stults helped his cause with a scoreless frame against the Brewers.

WHAT’S NEXT: Hector Santiago can strengthen his case for a middle relief job during a start against the Rangers Thursday afternoon in Surprise. Gavin Floyd, Will Ohman and Addison Reed all will pitch during a morning B game, also in Surprise.

MOMENT TO REMEMBER: Peavy’s genuine happiness after Wednesday’s outing. It wasn’t exactly a celebration befitting a playoff clincher, but White Sox fans are hoping for about 35 healthy postgame smiles from Peavy this season.

MOMENT TO FORGET: A couple of fly balls hit off of Peavy and Axelrod, looking somewhat routine at first, ended up carrying over the outfielders for extra-base hits. It’s good to remember how hard it is to judge pitching during Spring Training in Arizona, which is what makes it tough to pick a final two or three pitchers somewhat based on performance.

Game 2: Danks gone a little wild

Robin Ventura stayed winless through two Cactus League games following the Angels’ 6-2 victory Tuesday at Diablo Stadium. Here’s a quick look at the breakdown:

WHAT WENT RIGHT: After striking out twice on Monday, Gordon Beckham ripped two solid singles to left in Tuesday’s setback. It goes to show that Cactus League results aren’t nearly as important as the process to get there.

“After yesterday, you come back and you work on things and get him a little more aggressive,” said Ventura of Beckham. “He looked great.”

Matt Thornton threw a scoreless inning in relief, striking out one and giving up Albert Pujols’ double. Ventura praised Thornton’s work and then sarcastically took a jab at the pitch selection to one of the game’s top players.

“He realized Albert can hit a fastball down the middle,” a smiling Ventura said of Thornton. “So we got that out of the way.”

Keep an eye on Nate Jones, the fifth-round selection from the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. The right-hander who fanned 67 in 63 1/3 innings for Double-A Birmingham last season struck out three over two innings on Tuesday. Jared Mitchell also served a ninth-inning single to left.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Call it a good day of work for John Danks, who threw almost 50 pitches in two innings. The fact that almost half of those pitches were out of the strike zone made it a bit of an erratic work day for the southpaw.

“I’m just trying to throw the ball and make the ball do what I want it to do,” Danks said. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t very sharp today.”

The team finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position for those keeping track of such statistics two games into spring, and Brian Omogrosso was touched up for three runs on four hits in one inning of relief.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jake Peavy goes full throttle 19 months after surgery to reattach his lat muscle when taking the mound against the Brewers on Wednesday. Peavy is scheduled to start the second game of the season in Texas.

MOMENT TO REMEMBER: Trayce Thompson and Gordon Beckham both picked up stolen bases in Tuesday’s loss, as the White Sox were much more aggressive on the basepaths. The White Sox don’t have a highly-touted Minor League system, but they do have young athletes who seem to be learning the game.

MOMENT TO FORGET: It’s a toss-up between two: John Danks snapping his glove in frustration on a throw back from Tyler Flowers after walking Bobby Wilson in the first, showing even Spring Training can draw anger, or Beckham’s name spelled as Beckman on the Diablo Stadium scoreboard during his two trips to the plate.

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.

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.

Postgame commentary

The White Sox will honor the 50th anniversary of the 1959 World Series team, a group that lost to the Dodgers, prior to Thursday’s series finale. Luis Aparicio, Jim Rivera, Billy Pierce and Jim Landis are some of the players from that team scheduled to be in attendance.

But leave it to Ozzie Guillen to lend his interesting, yet somewhat bizarre, and always humorous take on the planned ceremony.

“They’re still alive?” said Guillen with a laugh, drawing a laugh from the media during his press conference following Wednesday’s 10-7 win. “I see Billy everyday. Every time I see Billy, he’s Mr. White Sox.

“I think what they did was nice. I hope they invite me when they celebrate the 2005 team. If I keep managing this ballclub, pretty soon I’m not going to be alive, but it’s always nice to see those people back in uniform, back in town.

“But we see those guys every time,” Guillen said. “Just name it. We see them everywhere. We sign autographs at the zoo, they’re behind us. That doesn’t surprise me.”

–Asked to describe how Josh Fields has handled his move from starting third baseman to utility player, team captain Paul Konerko offered the following analysis.

“Classy. Awesome. Hard-worker. Does all that is asked of him,” Konerko said. “It was nice to see him rewarded tonight.”

Fields earned a start at third base on Thursday with his three-hit, two home run effort on Wednesday.

“Dads say it as far back as in Little League: Hit and you play,” Field said. “I felt good about my at-bats and my swing.”

–I was asked this question tonight during the game, and I’m looking for a little help from the White Sox fan base in finding an answer.

Jared Mitchell, who was the Outstanding Player at the College World Series and the White Sox top pick in the 2009 First-Year Player, has won a football and baseball title at LSU. How many other collegiate players can make that same claim? I’ll hang up and listen for your responses.

While the White Sox had to be thrilled by Mitchell’s performance, No. 1 Texas fan John Danks didn’t seem all too excited about the Longhorns’ loss.

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