Results tagged ‘ Scott Linebrink ’

Bonus notes from Wednesday

Here’s a few quick items from Wednesday’s 7-6 Reds victory over the White Sox, since A.J. Pierzynski’s speedy driving took center stage on the news front.

Kyle Cofield was touched up for five runs in one inning of work during the fifth, but none of them were earned. Gordon Beckham dropped an inning-ending force at second on a throw from Brent Morel, and Cofield took a while to get that third out. But manager Ozzie Guillen thought Cofield, who was acquired from the Braves in a trade for Scott Linebrink, threw well.

Brent Morel and Beckham both picked up stolen bases in the defeat. Guillen plans to run and run often with every starter who has the speed to take the extra base.

Guillen realizes his hitters are a little behind at the plate during this 0-3 Cactus League start.

“But it’s early,” Guillen said. “We’ll be fine.”

Finally, after Guillen’s postgame media session Wednesday, he humorously informed the Cincinnati AP writer how ‘The Missile’ nickname belongs to White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez and not Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman. Guillen coined that nickname during Ramirez’s first year in 2008.

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.

Saturday tidbits

The potential signing of free agent outfielder Johnny Damon had a direct effect on both Daniel Hudson and Andruw Jones.

If Damon had come on board, the White Sox designated hitter-by-committee plan would have been scrapped and a very determined Jones would have been searching for at-bats. Damon’s presence also probably would have reduced Ozzie Guillen’s pitching staff from 12 to 11, meaning a long relief spot would have been vacated, and Hudson would have started the season starting for Triple-A Charlotte.

To the credit of both these players, they kept any personal concerns to themselves in regard to these negotiations. They actually deferred to the good of the White Sox.

“That’s none of my business,” Jones said. “That’s the team looking to get better or doing what they need to do to get where we need to get. I don’t think about all of that stuff. I know I’m mentally ready and physically ready.”

“I’ve heard about it a lit a bit, and obviously it’s a great bat to add to the lineup,” Hudson said. “Whatever helps the team win, I’m all for it.”

Hudson and Jones can breathe a little easier, as Damon opted for a one-year deal with the Tigers, pending a Sunday physical. Jones’ roster spot is secure, but Hudson will try to parlay last year’s success into the seventh and final relief opening on the 2010 staff. If the soon-to-be 23-year-old has any nerves jumping around inside for his first big-league camp, they certainly aren’t getting through his calm exterior.

“My mindset is to throw as well as I can and make the decision really hard for them,” Hudson said. “It’s really out of my hands after that.

“I feel like no matter what the roster situation, if they feel you can contribute, they will make room for you,” Hudson said.

Hello, Old Friend: Jones played the 1998 and 1998 seasons with Guillen in Atlanta. So, suiting up for the White Sox manager in 2010 won’t present any sort of unexpected challenge.

“Everybody hears so much stuff about Ozzie. He’s a great guy and he knows a lot about the game,” Jones said. “I had an opportunity to play with him in Atlanta for a year and I learned a lot from him.

“He was always on my butt to go out there and produce every day. Now, to get a chance to play under him as a manager, it’s going to be a good experience. I think on paper, we’ve got a good team to go to the World Series and win it. It’s all about getting it together and staying healthy.”

Jones admits to having lost a step or two in regard to his one-time flawless defense in center field. But the veteran was almost defiant when stressing how he still can play the outfield if given the chance.

“The judgment of me not being able to go out there and play center field anymore, that was the big thing that motivated me more to get my legs right,” Jones said. “So if they put me out there, I’m going to get the job done.”

Camelback Changes: A once barren Camelback Ranch corridor, with the White Sox clubhouse and training room on either side, now features famous franchise historical photos on the far wall. They range from countless 2005 World Series celebratory shots to pictures of Mark Buehrle’s 2010 perfect game and 2007 no-hitter to the team’s trip to the White House last year. The faces of Buehrle and Josh Fields are blocked out by other players standing in front of them in that particular group shot.

Heavy Traffic Area: Lockers against the wall to the far left as you walk into the clubhouse line up as Paul Konerko, Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Omar Vizquel, Jake Peavy, Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks. That sector figures to be heavily populated by the media on a daily basis during Spring Training.

Crosstown Showdown: U.S. Cellular Wrap

John Danks already has earned the utmost respect from his teammates over three big-league seasons, and throwing seven scoreless innings as he did during Sunday’s 6-0 victory over the Cubs only increases that respect.

But Danks also stepped up and showed he had his teammates’ backs by hitting Ryan Freel to open the seventh. Carlos Zambrano already had hit Scott Podsednik and Dewayne Wise earlier in the game, with Wise’s situation causing words to briefly be exchanged between the two in the bottom of the sixth.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen would not go as far as to categorize Danks’ effort as a purpose pitch.

“It’s part of the game,” Guillen said. “I cannot say he hit him on purpose because that’s accusing people.”

When Danks hit Freel in the left forearm, Freel blew on the spot as if to indicate a lack of velocity or pain on impact as he ran to first. But Danks had the last laugh on this particular day.

“To be totally honest with you, I didn’t even see him,” Danks said. “He went to first base and fortunately, we were able to strand him. Whatever he did, that’s something you would have to ask him. It didn’t bother me a bit; I didn’t even see it.”

–This just in: According to a well-placed family source, Danks and Scott Linebrink combined for an all Round Rock, Texas shutout on Sunday. Linebrink, who fanned four in two perfect innings, graduated from Round Rock McNeil High School, and Danks from Round Rock High School. There’s some interesting trivia to amuse your friends.

–Danks made sure to spread the credit to catcher A.J. Pierzynski for Sunday’s victory.

“I didn’t shake A.J. once. A.J. did a great job, he always does,” Danks said. “I know that for the most part, I just have to follow his lead and try to hit his glove with whatever pitch he tells me to throw.”

Pierzynski pointed to Danks’ changeup as his outpitch against the Cubs.

“He kept getting swings and misses and weak ground balls with the changeups,” Pierzynski said.

–As Pierzynski was talking about Chris Getz’s steal of home in the clubhouse, Gary Matthews Jr. swiped home during the Angels’ game on one of the televisions on at the time.

–Guillen showed strong pregame support for the White Sox visiting clubhouse staff amidst Cubs’ allegations that there was a leak surrounding what was said during Friday’s Lou Piniella-Milton Bradley spat. Guillen also shared his thoughts on Mark DeRosa moving from Cleveland to St. Louis.

“It’s funny. Mark DeRosa was my backup (in Atlanta). Now he’s the most wanted guy in baseball,” Guillen said with a laugh. “I was the backup at shortstop and Mark was my backup. I think this guy can help a lot of people.

“He can play every position very well, he’s a great man in the clubhouse. You can play him second, third, you can hit him leadoff. He can do so many great things in baseball. I think Tony picked the right guy. I think he’s going to help him.”

–Finally, here’s Jermaine Dye’s take on the 2009 competition with the Cubs, which has one more makeup game at Wrigley Field on Sept. 3 or 10.

“This series is always great, especially for the city of Chicago and the fans and for us and the clubhouse,” Dye said. “It’s a great atmosphere.

“What a series for everyone. The city of Chicago – three great games and a lot of excitement going on. That’s what you like to see when two teams in the city are playing each other.”

–Actually, one final note. Here’s a closing aside from Wise on Zambrano hitting him after Getz swiped home.

“My thing is just go out and try to get the guy out,” Wise said. “Don’t get mad and throw at someone and hit them. Play baseball and try to get the guy out.”

Live from Detroit

Having Sunday off and with a day game Monday at Comerica Park, I decided to fly into Detroit early.

I know Detroit gets a bad rap nationally. For those of you who remember the comedy classic Kentucky Fried Movie, there’s a great Detroit reference in there that makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. But the truth is that Detroit is a very underrated city.

Anyway, my flight was delayed an hour once we boarded the plane because according to the pilot, the fuel gauge was not working right and the person on duty did not know how to read the backup gauge so they had to go find another mechanic. I’ll spare the airline’s name because this is such an utterly ridiculous situation.

So, for those keeping track, it was an hour sitting on the plane and then 41 minutes in the air. I arrived at the Renaissance in downtown Detroit and was stunned by the overhaul this place has undergone. New bar/restaurant in the lobby, new workout equipment. If you make the trip to Detroit, this hotel is a good place to stay.

Not many people were staying on Easter Sunday, though. In fact, I was told they were at five percent occupancy for a 70-floor hotel. That’s right–five percent. Business picks up quite a bit over the next few days.

As for the White Sox, the biggest story for me from the first week was Bartolo Colon. I know it’s one start, but the veteran was better than I ever expected. Actually, the pitching in general was impressive. Octavio Dotel might lead the American League in strikeouts without making a start. Ok, not really, but the starting five in the rotation and the back four of Dotel, Matt Thornton, Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks in the bullpen have been pretty much everything the White Sox wanted.

The one-two punch at the top of the order in Chris Getz and Josh Fields also seems to have great potential, and Dewayne Wise might just be a better fit at the bottom of the order. I realize White Sox fans wanted more than a 3-3 start at home, but the signs are there for a fairly bright future from just one week.

Before I sleep for a few hours, allow me to make one more point. I didn’t watch the Rock of Love finale because the hotel doesn’t have VH1, but I watched the final clips online. Lame is the word that comes to mind, although I picked Taya from the beginning. Hopefully, this is the last one, although there were some entertaining moments.
 

What a relief

The best news coming from Wednesday’s 2-0 loss, more so than Gavin Floyd’s tremendous performance, was the ninth inning pitched by Scott Linebrink. Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and Miguel Olivo all went down swinging, with the right-hander looking like the All-Star setup man from the first half of last season.

Matt Thornton also breezed through the eighth inning, giving the White Sox exactly what they want from their final four relievers over the first two games of the season. But it’s Linebrink who truly plays a key role in this equation, as shown by the bullpen’s downturn last year when he went down with shoulder soreness. With a healthy Linebrink, Thornton, Octavio Dotel and Bobby Jenks, not to mention Clayton Richard, the White Sox just might have the strongest bullpen in the American League.

Sure, it’s a little early to judge. But this unit certainly has that special look.

Shock the Word

That was a mantra used by Michigan’s Fab Five, the greatest group of collegiate hoop players (to never win a NCAA title), but it also applies somewhat to Jose Contreras today.

It’s really an amazing accomplishment and a testament to his strong will and even stronger work ethic that Contreras is scheduled to be back on the mound against the Mariners, just seven months after he suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon in an August 9 game against the Red Sox. White Sox athletic trainer Herm Schneider and his staff also deserve huge props for getting Contreras back and ready.

Barring any unforeseen wireless mishaps, I’ll get Contreras’ info on the blog as soon as possible.

Here are a few other notes from today:

–First base coach and White Sox legend Harold Baines celebrates his 50th birthday. Baines looks as if he could still get in a game and knock out a couple of hits. Happy Birthday to Baines.

–With all the talk about the center field battle and the handful of reserve roster spots, don’t forget Josh Kroeger. He had three hits in yesterday’s B Game and manager Ozzie Guillen once again raved about him Saturday afternoon.

“I really like what he does,” said Guillen of Kroeger, who also can play center field. “We are definitely going to get him more at-bats.”

Bobby Jenks, who celebrated birthday No. 28 yesterday, Sott Linebrink and Octavio Dotel combined to allow one run over five innings in Saturday’s B Game, with Jenks and Dotel throwing two innings apiece.

–John Danks, origingally drafted by the Rangers with the ninth pick overall of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, still has some friends over with Texas.

“You know, I do,” said Danks, who worked five innings against the Rangers on Saturday. “Just about every guy that came up to the plate gave me a little nod. I’ts fun to face guys I’ve known and played with.”

–Finally, it’s Selection Sunday. At just after 3 p.m. PT, I believe Michigan’s NCAA Tournament drought will come to an end. Yes, I hope to celebrate the Wolverines getting a 10th or 11th seed. After that forgettable football season, double-digit wins was celebration-worthy.

 

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