Results tagged ‘ Robin Ventura ’

Big Hurt’s unofficial list of thanks

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Here is the highly unofficial list of players mentioned by Frank Thomas during the final minutes of his moving Hall of Fame speech that lasted 17:45 today. We, as in myself and two or three other beat writers, must have listened to this part of the speech 15 times, and then it became an interesting deductive process to figure out the players. We eventually nailed it down. See if you can figure out the tougher references.

“One Dog, Rock, Grebeck, R.V., Ozzie, Joey, Pudge, Karko, Psycho Lyons, Bo, Ellis, Black Jack, the Deacon, Sugar Ray, Alex, Wilson, Bere, Roberto, Thiggy, James Baldwin, Billy Bob, Buehrle, Hot Rod – thanks for the program Hot Rod.

“D. Bo., Magglio, Carlos, Rowand, Jermaine Dye. He’s here today along with Aaron Rowand. Ivan, Phil, Paulie, Crede, Uribe, Charles Johnson, Sandy, T. Phillips, Harold, Melido, Howry, Foulke, Mike Jackson, Flash, Kenny, Sandy, A.J., Robbie, McElroy, Merullo, Spanky, Julio, Willie Chill, Singleton, Mouton, Davey, El Duque, Fordyce, Leifer, G. Bell, C. Everett, Danny Pasqua, D.J., McCaskill, Paul, Huff, Valentin, Abbott, Devereaux, Kammy Kam (mentioned him twice by accident), John Kruk, Sirotka, Magrane, Freeman, Krueter, Norton, Tartabull, D. Lew, Scott Eyre, Navarro, Bradford, Castillo, Mark Johnson, Garland, Lowe, Eldred, Graffanino, Marte, Bartolo, Cotts, Glover, Loaiza, Contreras, Freddy, Politte.

“I know it’s long. Sorry.

“Jenks, Lee, B.A., Podsednik, Blanton, Kiko, Duke, Gaudin, Harden, Haren, Kotsay, The late Joe Kennedy. He left us too soon and was a special friend of mine. Saarloos, Huston, Zito, Kendall, Melhuse, Swisher, Chavy, Crosby, Ellis, D.J., Scutaro, Milton, Kielty, J. Payton, Doc Halladay, Accardo, A.J., Downsie, Frasor, Rios, Casey, League, McGowan, Marcum, B.J., Towers, A. Hill, Vernon, Johnny Mac, Orlando, Reed, Raja and Big Red.

Reed and White Sox hang on to victory

CHICAGO – The word or words White Sox closer Addison Reed uttered when Boston’s Will Middlebrooks made contact on a ninth-inning fastball Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field are not suitable for family viewers.

“I might have yelled a profanity,” said Reed, who could laugh about the 2-2 pitch after the White Sox held on for a 6-4 victory.

“He did hit it pretty well,” Reed continued. “I think it was the wind that kept it in. It was an out, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters.”

Middlebrooks’ blast sounded like a homer upon contact. It looked like a homer as it took off for the center field fence. And with Mike Napoli on first base and severe thunderstorms on their way, it could have made for an extended evening into morning.

But Alejandro De Aza raced back near the wall in center and hauled in the drive for out No. 2. First baseman Paul Konerko made a diving stop and perfect toss to Reed on Stephen Drew’s hard-hit grounder to finish things off, but the late story of this one was the homers that weren’t.

During a seventh inning for Matt Thornton where the left-hander’s streak of 11 straight appearances without allowing an earned run came to an end, the Red Sox scored twice and once again appeared to have the shot to tie it when Jarrod Saltalamacchia connected with Middlebrooks on second. This time, it was left fielder Dayan Viciedo who drifted near the wall in left-center and made the inning-ending, wind-aided grab.

“You know, the way the wind was blowing, it’s not easy going to left or center when it cuts across like that,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I said it earlier, this ballpark the flags are almost the opposite. Those are hard places when it’s real windy like tonight.”

So, while the flags made it look as if the wind was howling out to left as the night went on, it actually was knocking down fly balls in that direction. That misdirection is why Reed never looks at the flags when he takes the mound.

“There’s balls that they hit that you think are pop ups and they fly over the wall,” Reed said. “Then Middlebrooks got all of it and they stay in the park. The wind must be circling around the stadium. I don’t know how it dictates like where it’s blowing. He hit it and he hit it well, but at the end of the day it stayed in the park.”

What started with a few terse curse words from Reed, ended in the 16th victory he had a hand in this season. And what was his reaction when the ball landed in De Aza’s glove?

“Just kind of a little smirk on my face and glad it stayed in,” Reed said. “A good feeling when I saw De Aza camp under it on the warning track.”

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 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 8: Almost Perfect

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The White Sox threw a perfect game against the Reds in their 4-0 victory Saturday. Well, perfect for 3 2/3 innings until Joey Votto doubled off of second pitcher in Hector Santiago, because of course the starting pitcher, Jose Quintana, wasn’t going over his limit during Cactus League start No. 1. Here’s a look at the game.

HOME RUN: Quintana couldn’t have done much more over three perfect innings. He only went to a pair of three-ball counts and needed just 39 pitches to get through three innings.

“You get our pitchers going out there, the guys you are familiar seeing, and Quintana goes out and looks great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He looks fresh and it’s nice to see him go out there and continue.”

TRIPLE: A couple of different aspects of Jared Mitchell’s game were on display Saturday. He blooped a double into center in the second off of Bronson Arroyo and his great speed left him with serious designs on third even though the ball didn’t bounce too far away, before he pulled up at second. And in the fourth, the left-handed hitter launched an opposite-field shot to left-center.

“You’re giving a guy like him that playing time and let him see what he can do and Mitch is a strong kid,” Ventura said. “You look at the tools that are there and there are a lot of tools to work with. He starts adding that in. It’s just a plus.”

DOUBLE: Conor Gillaspie produced his second homer in Cactus League action and his seventh RBI. He also played first without an issue, adding to his versatility.

SINGLE: The young middle infield combination of Carlos Sanchez and Marcus Semien each knocked out a hit, with Sanchez driving in a run. Jeff Keppinger returned defensively to third base, and Brent Morel handled two chances flawlessly as the starting shortstop for the day.

STOLEN BASE: Let’s give this honor to a fan late in the game who started a one-man chant of ‘Let’s Go Sox.’ When nobody joined in, he added “I don’t hear anybody else” and then the rest of the fans picked up the cheer.

CALLED THIRD: Quintana set the tone for the day with his three innings, but Santiago followed up strong. He allowed two walks and one hit over two scoreless innings, approaching this appearance like another start, even though he came in after Quintana.

JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: The Reds stole two bases, and Josh Phegley was charged with a passed ball. Very minor hiccups in an otherwise strong day for the White Sox.

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 2: White Sox fit to be tied

There are no shootouts in Major League Baseball to break a tie, and often times in Spring Training, there are no extra innings to do the same. So, the second of back-to-back games between the Dodgers and White Sox at Camelback Ranch Sunday ended in a 2-2 deadlock. Here’s a look.

HOME RUN: Let’s go with the man who actually hit the home run, Adam Dunn. The slugger said coming into Spring Training that he was going to be more aggressive early in the count, in an attempt to cut down strikeouts and raise his average, and there was Dunn driving out a 1-0 pitch from Peter Moylan to left for a two-run homer in the fourth inning Sunday.

“You know, it’s nice to get those,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Dunn’s blast. “If it lingers on too much, not having good at-bats, you are starting off battling from the negative. It’s nice for everybody to kind of get on the board and have a good at-bat. It feels nice to end your day that way too.”

Dunn’s job won’t change from driving in runs, and he won’t suddenly become a .280 hitter and watch his home run total drop to 15. But he’s taking the time at Spring Training to work on subtle improvements.

“There’s one little mechanical thing I wanted to work on, and I didn’t know how long it was going to take me this spring. I knew we had an extended spring,” Dunn said. “But actually I’m able to carry it over from the cage to the game so far. That’s a positive.”

TRIPLE: On his 35th birthday, Dewayne Wise tripled to right with two outs in the third off of Hyun-Jin Ryu.

DOUBLE: Little things continue to mean a lot to the White Sox under the Robin Ventura regime. In the third, Hanley Ramirez delivered a run-scoring single off of Erik Johnson to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead but Dunn cut off the throw home by center fielder Blake Tekotte and threw back to first, behind Ramirez, where second baseman Gordon Beckham was covering to tag out Ramirez, end the inning and cut short any continued rally.

In the second, backup catcher Hector Gimenez fired a perfect strike to Beckham to catch Andre Eithier stealing by quite a margin.

SINGLE: Alex Rios tripled before Dunn’s opposite field homer, giving Rios three extra-base hits in two games.

STOLEN BASE: When I asked Tyler Flowers for pitchers who had looked good during side bullpen sessions, he mentioned both Daniel Moskos and David Purcey. The two southpaws threw one hitless inning apiece.

CALLED THIRD: It was a solid debut for Johnson, who took advantage of an opportunity the White Sox are giving to their up-and-coming Minor League starters during this first week of Cactus League action. Johnson struck out two and gave up one run on four hits over three innings.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity,” Johnson said. “I just wanted to go out there and pound the strike zone and attack hitters and keep the ball down, let my defense play behind me.”

The native of Los Altos, Calif. also seemed to get a charge out of facing the Dodgers.

“Growing up in the Bay Area and watching the Giants growing up, I saw the Dodgers a lot,” Johnson said. “It felt good to go out at these guys and attack them. It was just another great opportunity today.”

JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: After a leadoff single by Steven Tolleson in the ninth, he was caught stealing with Trayce Thompson at the plate and pulling back on a bunt.

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.

Game 10: Floyd impresses in loss

Make it eight losses in 10 Cactus League games for the White Sox, who fell victim for the sixth time against National League teams. Here’s a look at what took place:

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Gavin Floyd looked regular-season ready with four strong innings thrown against the Padres. He fanned five, including Orlando Hudson, Chase Headley and Will Venable in the first, and didn’t issue a walk.

Addison Reed earned praise for his one inning from manager Robin Ventura, who said the closer’s decision won’t officially come down until the final week of Spring Training. Eric Stults and Brian Bruney, locked in a battle with Dylan Axelrod and Zack Stewart for the final two bullpen spots, threw scoreless innings and have been unscored upon in seven combined Cactus League innings.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Charlie Leesman continues to struggle this spring, facing only four batters in the fifth and not retiring any of them, before eventually being charged with four runs. Leesman features plus-stuff but hasn’t been able to harness it since his Arizona arrival.

UP NEXT: Chris Sale takes the mound for Cactus League start No. 2 on Wednesday at home against the Angels. Sale had a solid first start against the Cubs on Friday but was hard on himself for walking Junior Lake with two outs and nobody on base in the second and then giving up a 0-2 home run to Edgar Gonzalez.

MOMENT TO REMEMBER: Jordan Danks’ bloop single to left-center in the third. It wasn’t that Danks crushed the ball, although he did have a good at-bat, but it was more about Brent Lillibridge getting a great jump off of second and making a great read on the fly ball to score easily with nobody out. The White Sox will need to be aggressive on the basepaths, among many other intangibles, in order to be successful.

MOMENT TO FORGET: The Padres’ four-run fifth. Leesman’s struggles started the frame, but errors from Lillibridge and Jhan Marinez on a pickoff attempt contributed to the rally. The White Sox finally got out of trouble on a Marinez wild pitch that bounced back off the wall to catcher Hector Gimenez and allowed him to tag out Nick Hundley before he scored.

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