Results tagged ‘ John Danks ’

Game 17: Angels knock out Danks

TEMPE, Ariz. – An Angels’ lineup featuring Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo, among others, could do damage against many pitchers even at the top of their game. In Thursday’s 12-4 White Sox loss, it was John Danks and his road back to the Majors that got taken down over 3 1/3 innings. Here’s a look.

HOME RUN: Tyler Flowers feels good at the plate and backed up that Thursday morning analysis with a strong game at Diablo Stadium. Flowers drew a walk in the third off of Jason Vargas after being down 0-2 in the count and scored, doubled to center in the fifth and lined out to center in the seventh.

TRIPLE: Although he’s not front and center in the roster picture, outfielder Blake Tekotte hit the ball hard Thursday. He tripled home one run, marking his second Spring Training three-bagger, and then added a second RBI with a ninth-inning sacrifice fly.

DOUBLE: Jordan Danks didn’t start Thursday’s game but knocked out two hits and drove in a run as a replacement for Dewayne Wise. It was Wise who drove home the team’s second run with a sixth-inning homer off of left-handed throwing Scott Downs.

SINGLE: A single for Hector Gimenez in the ninth leaves him at 9-for-16 for the spring. All nine hits have been singles.

STOLEN BASE: As the leadoff hitter in the fourth inning, the left-handed hitting Adam Dunn tried to lay down a bunt on the first pitch from left-handed throwing Vargas. The bunt attempt went foul. Dunn, who has 406 career homers, launched the next pitch toward the left field stands but it was hauled in against the wall by left fielder Vernon Wells.

CALLED THIRD: Danks worked 3 1/3 innings, which represents his longest 2013 Cactus League outing to date, and felt good despite allowing six earned runs on seven hits. He focused on the changeup, using it to strikeout Howie Kendrick and Trumbo in the first, but did so in part because that pitch was working the best for him.

He also benefitted from facing as strong of a lineup as the Angels.

“For me especially, I need to see lineups like this down here. Just because more than anyone else in camp, I’m needing to see reactions, and how guys are taking pitches,” Danks said “I just need to kind of get it going a little more — some of these other guys can go out there and just get their work in, and certainly I’m doing the same thing. But I’m hoping to see progress each time.

“I don’t feel like I can really do that unless I’m facing big league hitters. Without a doubt, that’s one of the better lineups we’ll see this year. Wish it could’ve gone a little better.”

White Sox manager Robin Ventura pointed out the good news is that Danks is not hurting, although the White Sox would like slightly better results from their left-hander.

“Once you start getting knocked around a little, it kicked in and he picked it up a little bit,” said Ventura of Danks. “Even though it’s Spring Training, you’d like to see a little bit better than this.”

JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: The White Sox are 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position over their past two losses. Jhan Marinez also was touched up for four runs on one hit and three walks in the seventh, but they were all unearned because of Tekotte’s dropped fly ball in center.

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 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.

MRI shows mild strain for Peavy

A MRI taken on White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy at Rush University Medical Center Monday afternoon revealed a mild strain of his right groin (adductor). Peavy left Sunday’s start against Detroit after four innings due to this injury, and he will be evaluated on a daily basis.

Ozzie Guillen said before Monday’s series opener with Seattle how he wasn’t automatically ready to view Peavy as a disabled list case simply because of Peavy’s early departure. He also didn’t mind Peavy trying to pitch through the pain on Sunday, although Peavy admitted afterwards the groin issue and his inability to use his legs during the fourth contributed to Detroit’s six-run inning.

Peavy was working on five days rest after pitching Monday in Boston, when he first felt the pain grab in the groin area. He was flip-flopped with John Danks, though, having Peavy move to Sunday and Danks start Monday.

Williams calls for Opening Day Blackout

Ken Williams has a special request or, better yet, a challenge for White Sox fans to be carried out on April 5, and it involves their choice of clothing worn to the game against the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.

The White Sox general manager would like to see the return of the Blackout.

“No better time to start than Opening Day,” Williams said.

This ‘back in black’ solidarity first was shown on the South Side during the one-game American League Central home tiebreaker against the Twins on Sept. 30, 2008. The 1-0 White Sox victory, behind Jim Thome’s solo home run and John Danks’ eight scoreless innings, sent Ozzie Guillen’s crew to the playoffs against the Rays and was deemed by many in attendance to be every bit as exciting as the 2005 playoff victories.

To this day, the contest was known as the “Blackout Game.” Fans all wore black shirts and waved black towels, followed by black shirts and white towels at the Rolling Blackout first game against the Rays.

Williams would like to set the tone for what could be a special 2010 campaign with the help of the White Sox support system.

And with the forecast calling for 62 degrees and partly sunny on Monday, the weather shouldn’t preclude black from being worn.

“Opening Day is always electric and I don’t know how these things happen,” Williams said. “But if our fans really want to turn up the heat on our opponents and fire up our guys, they will rally together and pick certain dates or against certain opponents and black it out.”   

Beckham not going anywhere

During a weekend at home in early August of last season, I remember one of my esteemed colleagues asking Ozzie Guillen about rumors of the White Sox reportedly putting in a waiver claim for Toronto outfielder Alex Rios.

“Who?” Guillen responded, knowing full well who Rios was, but seeming to be somewhat surprised by this bit of personnel news involving his team.

Two days later, Rios joined the White Sox in Seattle.

There’s no question Guillen runs the White Sox. He makes the day-to-day decisions about the lineup and serves as the true face of the franchise. But by Guillen’s admission, because of his candor and honesty with the media, sometimes he finds out about moves orchestrated by general manager Ken Williams right before they happen.

Guillen might say there’s no move to be made or the team doesn’t have interest in a certain player, and to his knowledge it’s an absolutely true statement at the moment, and in 48 hours, that individual is part of a five-player deal sending him to Chicago.

I’m sharing this little vignette because Guillen was questioned after Tuesday’s B game with the Dodgers about the possibility of Gordon Beckham being moved for a high-end performer, in this instance, San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez. And Guillen’s response?

“We plan to have Gordon for a long time,” Guillen said. “I don’t see why people still talking about it.”

In this case, Guillen knows exactly what’s going on. Gordon Beckham is going nowhere but to second base for the 2010 season and probably many, many years to come.

From the time Beckham was drafted in 2008, he was compared by the White Sox to having Michael Young-like potential. That potential translates into 200 hits, 40 doubles, 20 home runs, 100 runs scored, 80 to 90 RBIs and a .300 average, offensively, on a yearly basis, and solid defense in the field. And remember, Young is one of Guillen’s favorite players not wearing a White Sox uniform.

Trading Beckham as part of an Adrian Gonzalez trade, as a purely hypothetical example, makes little sense for the White Sox. You are basically getting rid of one franchise player for another who might only be in Chicago for two years. I’m not demeaning Jayson Nix or Brent Lillibridge, both capable players and would-be hypothetical replacements at second, but Beckham is a special force.

Williams has shocked people before and he might again. Let’s say, in that hypothetical mode, Williams decides to go after a big left-handed bat through the trade market, i.e., Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Adam Dunn, etc. I’m more interested as to what the White Sox decide to do with Daniel Hudson, who clearly is the talented young pitching every team covets, or a rising catching prospect such as Tyler Flowers, with veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the last year of his contract.

Until further notice, though, let’s stop talking about Beckham going anywhere. He is one of the few near-untouchables on the White Sox roster.

“When we get something done, we let people know what’s going on about the real thing,” Guillen said. “Right now, the expectation about this guy and that guy, I like the team we have. We have a general manager who keeps things quiet, thank God. And when he makes deals, it’s for a reason.

“Every trade the White Sox want to make, people think they’re going to make with the White Sox is Gordon, (Gavin) Floyd and (John) Danks. Those names are going to come up. And we have to deal with that every time they talk about White Sox trying to make a deal. We got to stay on our toes.”

Teahen, White Sox agree to three-year deal

The White Sox third baseman of the present also became their third baseman of the immediate future when Mark Teahen and the team agreed to a three-year, $14-million contract on Tuesday, avoiding arbitration.

Teahen, 28, who was acquired by the White Sox from Kansas City on Nov. 6 in exchange for Chris Getz and Josh Fields, will earn $3.75 million in 2010, $4.75 million in 2011 and $5.5 million in 2012. Teahen was eligible to become a free agent following the 2011 season.

During the 2009 season for the Royals, Teahen hit .271 with a career-high 34 doubles, adding in 12 home runs and 50 RBIs in 144 games. He started 99 games at third base, 31 in right field and three at second, but at this point, looks to be anchored at third for the White Sox.

Tuesday’s announcement leaves the White Sox with five arbitration eligible players in Bobby Jenks, D.J. Carrasco, Carlos Quentin, John Danks and Tony Pena.

Perspective on pursuit of top talent

Here’s a little interesting side note attached to covering Ken Williams during the Winter Meetings or during really any high-traffic period where trades are the focus, whether it’s the offseason or the non-waiver trade deadline. Williams never has been afraid to pull the trigger on a big deal, make that an extremely big deal, and he’s never been afraid to listen on potential inquiries.

No player is off-limits, although some are less likely to be moved than others. Factoring in all of these particular circumstances, and it’s easy to see how the White Sox are linked to many a big-name player.

Earlier in the week, I was talking to Williams and asked him about Jake Peavy. Williams said the two had talked and that Peavy was fired up and ready to go for 2010. He said the purpose of this call to his new ace was to sort of pick Peavy’s brain about a former teammate, getting a feel as to what fit he would have in the clubhouse.

When I asked Williams if that player in question was San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez, not expecting any sort of direct answer, Williams paused and then gave me a “No comment.”

Let’s move ahead to Monday, the first official day of the 2009 Winter Meetings, and jump to the half-way point of Williams’ 20-minute session with the media. Check out this following interaction.

“If you didn’t have Jake Peavy, would you be in on Roy Halladay?” a reporter asked Williams of the Toronto ace, who is known to be on the market.

“No comment,” Williams responded with a smile.

“Are you in on Roy Halladay?” another reporter asked.

“No comment,” Williams answered, still smiling.

Either Williams is trying to acquire both Gonzalez and Halladay, judging by the similarity of his responses, or the White Sox general manager has become Major League Baseball’s consummate poker player. Before the Halladay press conference is planned at U.S. Cellular Field, though, remember the right-hander has a full no-trade clause, has expressed a desire to stay in Florida for Spring Training and would probably cost the White Sox either John Danks or Gavin Floyd, along with prospects such as Jordan Danks, Daniel Hudson and/or Tyler Flowers, as a purely hypothetical talent package in return.

And there’s no guarantee Halladay would be anything more than a one-year rental, set to earn $15.75 million in the final year of a three-year, $40 million deal. Of course, I’m taking a huge leap based on two simple words from Williams, who would have probably asked about Babe Ruth’s availability if he was running a team at that point.

Then again, it’s easy to dream about the big catch when Williams is at the helm, even though he readily admits the team is in a financial holding pattern. One reporter I was talking to on Monday night said he never would count out the White Sox.

As for the potential pursuit of Juan Pierre, the Dodgers want a starting pitcher in return for the leadoff man/outfielder and the White Sox would want a sizable portion of the $18.5 million owed him over the next two years to be picked up. Doesn’t sound like a fit.

Talk of tiebreakers

The first comment made to Ron Gardenhire during his opening interview session of the American League Division Series Wednesday at Yankee Stadium was an offer of congratulations for Minnesota’s great win over Detroit in Tuesday’s thrilling American League Central tiebreaker at the Metrodome.

At that point, the Minnesota manager sort of patted his heart and smiled, as if to humorously indicate the ticker barely survived Tuesday’s excitement. But it didn’t stop Gardenhire from talking about a game that will live on a long time in his memory.

“I was so proud of both teams last night for the way both teams never quit and kept getting after it,” Gardenhire said. “I told (Detroit manager) Jim Leyland after the game that was one of the best games I’ve ever been involved in.

“Just watching two teams butting heads and going after it and never giving up and all the ups and downs. It was just fantastic baseball.”

Gardenhire and the Twins are no stranger to this sort of win-or-go home type of contest. In a game that was every bit as exciting as last night’s memorable affair, Minnesota came up short to the White Sox in a 1-0 final that gave the South Siders the 2008 AL Central title. That contest featured great pitching by John Danks and Nick Blackburn, Jim Thome’s mammoth home run for the game’s only run and a pinpoint throw by center fielder Ken Griffey, Jr. and an even better catch and tag by A.Z. Pierzynski to nail Michael Cuddyer at the plate

There was one problem with that contest in Gardenhire’s mind. Well, two if you factor in the final. The home field was decided by a coin flip, which went the way of the White Sox, although Minnesota had the better 2008 head-to-head record.

“Last year, I didn’t really particularly like it because of a coin toss,” Gardenhire said. “I thought that really (stunk). This year, you went on head-to-head and we got the ballgame at home which kind of helped us out.

“I don’t recommend everybody playing 163 games every year. It would be a lot easier to go the different route and do what the Yankees did or some of the other guys. Just play 162 and then you’re in the playoffs. But, you know what, it’s character — I mean it’s kind of mind-boggling. It shows a lot of character.”

Minnesota shortstop Orlando Cabrera agreed. Cabrera has played on the winning team in each of the last two AL Central tiebreakers and gives the Twins’ victory a slight edge.

“By far, that was the most emotional and intense game I’ve ever seen or played in,” Cabrera said. “And I’ve played in and watched a lot of games since I was a kid in Colombia.

“It was unbelievable. I never expected the Detroit Tigers to play that kind of game, especially the way they have been playing for the last eight games. I was really impressed with them. We put on a good show.”

Thursday tidbits

Stop me if you’ve heard this tale before.

Bartolo Colon is out of action, on the disabled list with soreness in his right elbow, this time. And Ozzie Guillen is not really sure where the burly right-hander currently is rehabbing.

“No, he’s not here,” said Guillen with a laugh. “That’s hard to find out. That’s the hardest question you ask me, where is Colon?”

Guillen doesn’t see Colon pitching for the White Sox “in the next 20 days” because he has to go on rehab assignments again. Don’t look for Colon to work for the White Sox again this year, unless Jose Contreras continues to struggle, not with Jake Peavy and Freddy Garcia coming back from injuries, and Minor Leaguer Carlos Torres probably providing the same level of efficiency as the veteran.

–Shortstop Alexei Ramirez will return to the lineup on Friday against Cleveland and southpaw starter Jeremy Sowers. Ramirez conceivably could end up hitting ninth against right-handed pitchers, with Guillen not wanting to put the left-handed hitting Chris Getz and Scott Podsednik back-to-back in the lineup.

Gordon Beckham stays in the second spot until further notice.

“Every time we change the lineup, I try to get the guy hot,” Guillen said. “The day I did it with Ramirez was just because he was swinging the bat better, and plus batting second he’s going to see better pitches. That’s why I did it there. Right now, I’m going to give the most at bats to my best hitter.”

–Asked before the game, Guillen found it hard to name a season-long MVP for his team.

“Wow. They’re not playing that good. They’re not playing that bad,” Guillen said. “I think this month, Beckham. I think PK (Paul Konerko) and JD (Jermaine Dye) are playing unbelievable.

“They’re playing well. And the pitching staff, even with Mark Buehrle doing what he did, I think Matt Thornton. Matt has been our savior. There’s no doubt about it. Matt is having a tremendous year.”

–Here’s a couple quotes from Mark Buehrle, who seemingly did his one millionth post perfect game interview today on the Waddle and Silvy show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.

On the recently concluded Mark Buehrle Appreciation Series:

“To me, it’s kinda weird because you don’t usually get appreciated until you retire,” Buehrle said. “They actually asked me to throw out the first pitch one game. I told them I’d still catch it but I don’t care to throw out a first pitch until I’m retired. It’s hectic and I’ve obviously been doing a lot of stuff. But it’s been well worth it.”

On the ramifications of the Peavy deal:

“Obviously, the (Padres) kept coming up and telling him he had to be moved,” Buehrle said. “But I think (John) Danks and Gavin (Floyd) and I have talked and if not this year then for next year we’re excited when he’s healthy and gets back having us four guys from the start of next season.

“Hopefully, he comes back healthy this year and we can get back in the playoffs and it’ll be a fun run. But we got some good things to look forward to the next couple of years.”

On how he would like his next perfect game celebrated:

“By not talking to the media,” Buehrle said. “Is that possible?”

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