Results tagged ‘ Triple-A Charlotte ’

Taking the fifth

After the minor uproar involving the entertaining ‘Where’s Bartolo’ saga from the past week, Bartolo Colon took the mound Thursday night for Triple-A Charlotte and actually threw the ball fairly well, according to manager Ozzie Guillen.

“The control was outstanding, his velocity was not there and he threw more breaking balls,” said Guillen of Colon, who gave up one run on two hits over five innings during the Knights’ 7-1 victory over Norfolk “That’s it. You know the way Colon is. He’s like, ‘OK, let me go out and do it.’ It was nothing impressive, but it was good.”

Guillen’s initial report on Colon, who walked two, struck out one and threw 40 of his 65 pitches for strikes, came from his son Oney, an employee of the White Sox organization currently located in Charlotte. Oney added that Colon threw some breaking balls on 3-2 pitches, a mixture of fastballs and off-speed offerings the White Sox wanted to see from the burly right-hander before Colon even was considered for a return to the Majors.

With Colon still a few starts away, though, Clayton Richard will remain in the White Sox rotation at the start of the second half. It looks as if Mark Buehrle will start the second half for the White Sox, followed by John Danks, either Gavin Floyd or Jose Contreras and then Richard. This alignment leaves three southpaws in line for the lefty-heavy Tampa Bay lineup at home and sets up Contreras for the four-game set in Detroit.

Richard lasted just four batters into the second inning of Thursday’s loss to the Indians, giving up six runs on four hits and three walks.

“Yeah, so far, we don’t have any choice,” Guillen said. “A lot of people talk about him, but when we talk about (John) Danks and (Gavin) Floyd, we were in (2007), we were not in the pennant race.

“We’re trying to get this guy under the belt, but in the meanwhile we have to win some games. We watched some video (on Richard), we don’t have any better choice. We have to see how Bartolo is doing, but for right now I’m supporting (Richard).”

As for Freddy Garcia, who is currently working out in Charlotte, Guillen doesn’t believe the big-game hurler is quite ready.

“I talked to him a couple of days about it,” said Guillen of Garcia. “I talked to Oney about it. He’s throwing the ball very well. But I don’t think Freddy has turned the corner yet.”

More on the return of Jose

It’s hard not too root for a guy like Jose Contreras, who made such a triumphant return from early season struggles by giving up just one hit over eight innings during the White Sox 6-1 victory over the Tigers in the nightcap of Monday’s doubleheader. Contreras is one of the more affable individuals you could hope to meet, inside or outside of the world of baseball.

So, there was Contreras, holding his 13-month-old son, Joseph, while taking postgame questions from the media. Both Contreras’ men had smiles on their respective faces, but only one of them was grabbing the microphone held by Comcast SportsNet reporter Chuck Garfein. Here’s a little hint: it was not Jose.

Contreras said that he worked on his mechanics during a five-start stint with Triple-A Charlotte. But most of all, he built up his arm strength a little further and regained the confidence that was basically knocked from him during his first six big league starts at the season’s outset.

The big right-hander even showed his nimbleness on the mound, by making a behind-the-back glove save of Ramon Santiago’s second-inning grounder and easily throwing him out at first. Contreras then showed his self-deprecating humor after the game.

“I didn’t catch it. The ball caught me,” said Contreras of the play, through interpreter Ozzie Guillen, Jr., drawing big laughs fromt the media.

“Physically I felt strong,” added Contreras of his rough start to the 2009 campaign. “But maybe the pitching and the pitch counts in Triple-A made up for the pitches I didn’t have in Spring Training. Physically I was fine, but the consistency of getting reps in was the big difference.”

Where does the rotation stand after Contreras’ start?

I have to believe that Bartolo Colon is going to be the odd man out, although Guillen certainly wouldn’t commit to anything Monday night. The White Sox are not going to a six-man rotation and both Clayton Richard and Contreras deserve to trot out there every five days.

More on Beckham

Could there be actually any more to write about Gordon Beckham? I think his rise to the Major Leagues has been fairly well chronicled over the past two days. And as the old Carpenters’ song goes, Beckham has only just begun.

Beckham’s strong Spring Training performance was important, not only to show Beckham was ready to play at the Major League level, but he also had a chance to bond with his future teammates. And even players such as Josh Fields and Chris Getz, who Beckham will be taking playing time from, especially Fields, have nothing but good things to say about Beckham.

“He’s a great guy,” said Fields of Beckham.. “I talked about it earlier, but it was inevitable he would be in the big leagues quick. He has been playing well. We’ll see what their plan is. I like him and will talk to him and help him out as much as I can. I don’t know if I’m necessarily the person to do that. But there’s no hard feelings or anything like that.”

“Gordon’s a great guy,” Getz said. “A very talented player. A bright future ahead of him.”

–Hitting coach Greg Walker doesn’t intend to reinvent the wheel in regard to Beckham’s approach at the plate. Walker plans to let Beckham go with what has been working for him at Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte this season, while being there for any questions or adjustments Beckham needs to make.

“We are going to let him play,” Walker said. “We’ll go up and ask him what he was doing in Birmigngham and Charlotte to get ready for games. But short of standing on his head to swing, we will let him do exactly what he has been doing.

“Everyone likes his talent, mechanics and attitude. Now, we will see how he handles the big leagues.”

– Getz was available to pinch-hit or pinch-run on Thursday. He expects to be back in the lineup Friday against Cleveland’s Carl Pavano, coming back from a mildy sprained right ankle.

–Here’s Fields take on potentially getting some time at first base, in a search to continue getting him at-bats.

“Last year, when I was considered the utility guy off the bench, I was classified as third base and first base,” Fields said. “They had me working there, but I have no experience at first. It might be like my left field debacle in 2007.”

Beckham arrives

The news was not accompanied by any trumpets blaring or an official proclamation issued by Mayor Daley. It was a simple announcement made after the White Sox loss to Oakland on Wednesday.

Gordon Beckham is coming to the Majors.

The White Sox top pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and the eighth pick overall will have his contract purchased from Triple-A Charlotte prior to Thursday afternoon’s contest and infielder Wilson Betemit will be designated for assignment. Beckham figures to get his primary playing time at third base but will see time across the infield and even as a designated hitter.

One thing is for certain–the White Sox did not call up Beckham to sit on the bench. He has a .326 average with 23 doubles, four home runs and 25 RBIs in 45 combined games this season between Double-A Birmingham and Charlotte. Beckham has a .322 average in 59 career Minor League games.

Trade particulars

Despite posting a 2.81 ERA over 10 starts for Triple-A Charlotte, Wes Whisler wasn’t exactly sitting around and waiting for his contract to be purchased prior to Saturday’s game against the Royals.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but you never know,” said Whisler, after arriving at Kauffman Stadium to begin the first Major League stint of his career. “I’m just going to go out there and control what I can control. I’m happy to be here and help out anyway possible.”
 
Whisler’s promotion was one of the offshoots from Friday night’s trade, with backup catcher Ramon Castro being sent from the Mets, with cash considerations, to the White Sox in exchange for right-handed reliever Lance Broadway. Castro, who was scheduled to arrive at game time, will wear No. 44, while Whisler will wear No. 46 on Saturday and No. 47 from that point moving forward.

Castro’s arrival could cut into playing time for starter A.J. Pierzynski, but White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said the team’s improvement in reserve they believe to have found in Castro certainly will not force a platoon situation.

“It’s not going to be my platoon catcher, but obviously it seems like this summer will be hot and humid, and we got to keep A.J. in the best shape we can get,” Guillen said. “We’re going to upgrade there. Nothing against Corky. Corky was great for us. No doubt he catches a good game, and he did his job on the field and off the field. We improved ourselves a little bit with Castro.”

This move once again shows how general manager Ken Williams is putting his team in the best possible position to compete in an overall American League race without a clear frontrunner. Whether Whisler remains with the White Sox past June 8, when Jose Contreras figures to be called up from Charlotte to start in one of the split doubleheader games against Detroit, remains to be seen.

Broadway actually heard the news first on Friday from Whisler, his roommate in Charlotte, when the lefty told Broadway he had been called up for the first time in his career. Broadway found out about the trade shortly thereafter, leaving their Charlotte apartment vacant.

“It’s sitting there, but that’s a good thing,” said Whisler of the Charlotte apartment. “I just never knew. I’m ecstatic about things, but shocked too at the same time.”

Beckham on the move

Gordon Beckham officially was promoted to Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday and will be in the Knights’ starting lineup on Thursday night in Columbus.

Let the predictions begin as to when the Minor League phenom arrives with the White Sox.

The team’s top pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft hit .299 in 38 games for Double-A Birmingham, with four home runs, 17 doubles and 22 RBIs. White Sox manager Ozzie  Guillen said that Beckham could have been ready for Triple-A competition out of Spring Training, but he applauded the choice of Minor League Director Buddy Bell to start Beckham with the Barons.

Guillen also liked the move of prepared talent through the White Sox system.

“I always believe when we think someone is good, move him up,” Guillen said. “A lot of organizations keep guys in the same place to be great just to trade him.”

Before people assume that the jump from Charlotte to the White Sox is a mere formality, remember that Guillen is in favor of Beckham spending a full season in the Minors. Guillen also cautioned that the move from Triple-A to the Majors will be the biggest challenge Beckham has to face.

At this point, the White Sox seem to be satisfied with Josh Fields at third base, Chris Getz at second base and Jayson Nix getting time at both positions.

Wise to begin rehab assignment

Dewayne Wise will begin a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Monday in Columbus, as the center fielder continues to recover from a separated right shoulder suffered while making a spectacular diving catch in a victory over Detroit on April 13. Wise does not expect to play on Monday and said that he will serve as designated hitter before getting into an outfield role by Wednesday.

Wise expects to be gone from the White Sox during their weeklong road trip to Anaheim and Kansas City. The Knights also visit Toledo at the end of this upcoming week.

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