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March 2009 Archives

Contreras and Colon put in place

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - According to pitcher Don Cooper, Jose Contreras and Bartolo Colon both checked out fine this morning after pitching on Monday.
Cooper said he had a chat with each and basically told them to forget the results from the game against the Angels and turn their attention to their bullpen sessions on Wednesday.
As far as where they are now being placed in the starting rotation, Cooper said that it was decided that Contreras will be the No. 4 and Colon the No. 5, putting them on schedule to face the Twins that opening weekend at The Cell.

Your 2009 White Sox

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LINEUP:

1. D. Wise - CF
2. C. Getz - 2B
3. C. Quentin - LF
4. J. Thome - DH
5. J. Dye - RF
6. P. Konerko - 1B
7. A.J. Pierzynski - C
8. A. Ramirez - 2B
9. J. Fields - 3B

BENCH:

C. Miller - C
B. Anderson - OF
B. Lillibridge - INF/OF
W. Betemit - INF

STARTING STAFF

1. LHP M. Buehrle
2. RHP G. Floyd
3. LHP J. Danks
4. RHP J. Contreras
5. RHP B. Colon

BULLPEN

Closer - RHP B. Jenks
RHP S. Linebrink
LHP M. Thornton
RHP O. Dotel
LHP C. Richard
RHP D.J. Carrasco
RHP M. MacDougal

And then there were 25 ...

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TEMPE, Ariz. - Official roster moves from this morning were RHPs Lance Broadway, Jack Egbert and Jeff Marquez were optioned to Class AAA Charlotte, while INF/OF Josh Kroeger and LHP Randy Williams were reassigned to minor-league camp. INF Jayson Nix was placed on the 15-day DL [retroactive to Mar. 27] with a strained right quad.
Jerry Owens was informed he was waived, but it won't be official until Wednesday.
The Sox currently have 27 on the roster, but Owens will make it 26. That leaves just the backup catcher spot between Donny Lucy and Corky Miller, but GM Ken Williams said before the game that it was Miller's gig.
So there it is, the roster is unofficially all set.

Wise is the man

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TEMPE, Ariz. - Dewayne Wise was called into the office this morning and told he will be the leadoff hitter and starting center fielder to begin the year. It will not be a platoon situation with Brian Anderson as first thought with Jerry Owens being waived.


Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the American League Central one week from Opening Day.

Evidently new Cubs right fielder Milton Bradley hasn't let go of his strong feelings about the Cleveland Indians, a team that parted ways with him in April 2004. After homering Sunday, Bradley pointed into the Indians' dugout. Manager Eric Wedge, whose turbulent relationship with Bradley led to his exit five years ago, was left shaking his head after Bradley's latest stunt.

The Minnesota Twins are feeling pretty good about their offense entering the final week of spring training. ''We have more depth than we've ever had in my memory,'' Twins general manager Bill Smith said.

The Detroit Tigers -- in the wake of losing hard-throwing reliever Joel Zumaya for maybe the first month of the season, are looking for bullpen help and they are said to be shopping outfielder Marcus Thames.

By Joe Cowley

Jerry Owens cleaned out his locker today after being told he would be waived. It won't be official until Wednesday.

Deathrace 2009: Cooper vs. Cox

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - The tortoise and the hare had nothing on what took place Saturday morning on the backfields of Camelback Ranch.
What started as trash talk surrounding the speed of pitching coach Don Cooper and third base coach Jeff Cox, turned into White Sox players enticing the two to settle it with a 50-yard dash and the promise of a reward waiting for the winner.
With Jermaine Dye acting as the starter, and Cox inexplicably deciding to run the race shirtless, it was on ... and quickly over, as Cox took a lead and never looked back.
As Paul Konerko put it, "Cox won by four feet, his breasts won by eight.''
There is video on the race, but the club is awaiting government clearance, fearing many who view it might have trouble sleeping at night.

Colon's stock up - Contreras' falling

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GLENDALE - Ozzie Guillen has to be feeling a little bit better about the Bartolo Colon situation, as the burly right-hander threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits, no walks and fanning four.
Colon was expected to just go three, but was efficient to say the least, throwing 43 pitches, 33 for strikes.
As for Jose Contreras, he's been shaky for a second consecutive start, still trying to find some consistency with his splitty.

Farmer and Jackson

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GLENDALE - I had a chance to finally sit in the booth with Sox radio broadcasters Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson on Wednesday, and I have to admit, I was impressed.
For only working seven games together this spring, they did a good job playing off of each other and were entertaining. Definitely something to keep an ear to this season.

Colon's first inning

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Bartolo Colon's first inning was efficient, to say the least, as he used six pitches to have a 1-2-3 inning. That inning included getting No. 2 hitter Orlando Cabrera to pop out to catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

In other pitching news, Mark Buehrle had a long-toss session before Wednesday's game, and said afterward that he remained on track to start the Mar. 31 Cactus League game against Colorado.

PHOENIX - The White Sox announced before the game with Oakland that they inked right-handed pitcher Gavin Floyd to a four-year, $15.5-million contract with a club option in 2013 that could make it a $25-million deal.
Under the terms of the signing, Floyd will get $750,000 in 2009, $2.75 million in 2010, $5 million in 2011 and $7 million 2012. The Sox hold the $9.5 million option in '13. What it does is also take away a possible arbitration hearing, with Floyd eligible for that after this season.
The bigger news was the Sox also approached left-handed pitcher John Danks with the same deal and he said no. Carlos Quentin was also offered an extension, and also did not find the timing right.
According to general manager Ken Williams, he told both Danks and Quentin "no harm, no foul.''
Bobby Jenks has not been approached for an extension yet, but Williams said that they are planning to approach players in stages - based on when they are eligible for arbitration.

Getz wins second base job

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - And just like that Beckham-mania is dead.
Following Saturday's 13-2 one-sided affair at the hands of the Cubs, Chris Getz was summoned by bench coach Joey Cora into the coaches' office for a chat.
At first, he thought the news was about to be bad, considering he thought Cora told him to "bring your stuff.''
"I was trying to figure out what I did wrong [Saturday] to be honest,'' Getz recalled. " 'Well, I signed some autographs, and figured I wasn't supposed to do that after such a bad loss.' I thought he told me to bring my stuff. I was like, 'What am I doing? Sprints?' Obviously, there was better news following.''
Yes, it was. Specifically, Getz was officially named the starting second baseman, outlasting the likes of Jayson Nix, Brent Lillibridge and of course, Gordon Beckham over the last four weeks.
"They sat me down, they were all in there,'' Getz continued. "They said, 'You're the second baseman, be ready.'
"I'm excited. I went into spring training battling for the job. It was my goal to win the job. This is when it really starts, really counts. I'm excited.''
Forget the fact that Getz was hitting .350 after a 2-for-4 effort in the Cubs loss, he also showed a slick glove at second throughout the camp, and more importantly, carried himself like he belonged.
But with the news of Getz winning the job, that also means Beckham's days in big-league camp are numbered. Not that he didn't open some eyes along the way.
A first-round pick from the University of Georgia last June, Beckham captured the attention of the organization, and even played his way into being a second base candidate for a bit, despite playing just 14 minor-league games after he was signed.
"I'm happy with what I did here,'' Beckham said. "I'm still here, still have some time. Chris is a great guy. It's never fun not winning a job. I don't know if I can remember not winning a job. I've gotten to know Chris, and he deserves it. It's his time to go up there and show them what he can do. I'm proud of him. I didn't have high hopes anyway, so it's not that big of a downer anyway.''
The plan for Beckham is to continue getting at-bats in Cactus League games, and then when he is sent down, he will likely return to playing shortstop every day - his natural position. If Getz is struggling once the games matter come April, however, don't be shocked to see Beckham get switched to second and waiting in the wings.


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon remains a viable candidate to break camp in the White Sox' starting rotation, pitching coach Don Cooper said today after watching the 35-year-old continue his comeback from offseason elbow surgery.

''We're still hoping for that and everything seems to be pointing in that direction,'' Cooper said. ''But we have alternatives if he doesn't. We have guys like [Clayton] Richard and guys like that if we feel he isn't throwing the ball quite up to snuff, we'll make the decision. If he needs more time, we'll give him more time, but right now, we're on schedule.''

Facing minor-league hitters from the Texas Rangers on a back field at Camelback Ranch, Colon threw 44 pitches, 35 for strikes. Velocity on his fastball topped out at 87 mph.

This after Colon made his Cactus League debut Monday, throwing only 22 of 40 pitches for strikes.

''Basically, another step forward,'' Cooper said. ''He threw three innings of [44] pitches. We have just enough time to get him ready if he continues to progress. He felt good all throughout the outing. We'll check him tomorrow morning. If he feels good, he'll be on a five-day work week. He'll pitch five days from now. We're not sure where yet, we haven't decided that. But we are heading forward.

''Better control, he's out there for three innings, everything is a little bit better. But we need more and we have to continue to climb.''

Any concerns about his velocity?

''Velocity? I mean how fair is it to judge somebody on velocity and command if it's his second time on the mound in a year?'' Cooper said. ''We're just trying to take it one step at a time and go inning by inning and he has been doing that so far.''

Viciedo sent to minors

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The White Sox made 12 cuts today, most notably sending third-baseman Dayan Viciedo to Class AAA Charlotte.


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- On a day that he missed his sixth consecutive Cactus League game because of back spasms, White Sox designated hitter Jim Thome took part in a simulated game -- getting dozens of hacks in the cage -- and pronounced himself ready to return to game action Wednesday.

''Everything's good,'' Thome said today. ''I'm ready to go and excited to play.''

Hitting coach Greg Walker spent the morning with Thome and said the veteran passed all of his tests with flying colors.

''Jimmy looked good,'' Walker said. ''He was having a really good camp before his back started bothering him. I don't even know what his stats are, but I know he felt dangerous. He hit some home runs, his swing was short, there were a lot of good things going on with Jimmy. Any time somebody has back problems, we don't take them lightly. But now that two or three days are over, it looks like it was just a little bump in the road.

''He's still got a lot in the tank. Jimmy Thome at 38 is still a bad boy. I'm expecting another big Jim Thome year, I really am.''

Colon's Monday outing

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Bartolo Colon continued his comeback trail on Monday, as well as showing that wearing black isn't necessarily slimming, as the right-hander took the mound in a Cactus League game for the first time in 2009.
Colon, who was signed to a $1 million contract with incentives that can earn him an additional $2 million in the offseason, got Royals leadoff hitter Coco Crisp to fly out to left field on just two pitches and then it was all down hill.
David DeJesus walked on six pitches, followed by an Alex Gordon RBI triple. Kansas City put a second run up on the right-hander with Ryan Shealy's sacrifice fly. Colon then got out of the inning when John Buck struck out looking.
Colon's velocity looked OK, but his location was all over the place in the 18-pitch first inning.
The plan for Colon, who is coming off of a cleanup surgery on his right elbow, was to pitch just one, but he came out for the second to get some more work in.
That he did, but not necessarily good work.
He walked Mark Teahen to start the inning, then Ross Gload singled. After getting to pop outs, Crisp had an RBI single to end Colon's afternoon. Of his 40 pitches, 22 were strikes.
Mark Buehrle relieved Colon, finding himself in unfamiliar territory as not only a reliever, but trying to clean up Colon's mess.

Position battle updates

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GLENDALE - With less than a month left in camp, here are how the key position battles currently stack up.

SECOND BASE

Where it stands after two-plus weeks of Cactus League play:

1. Jayson Nix {Last Wk #1) - Gets the benefit of the doubt because of an injured right quad slowing him down, but if Nix doesn't get healthy soon and start playing consistently, he will slide quickly. His .714 average in four games was impressive, however.

2. Gordon Beckham (Last Wk NA) - The talk of the camp was moved to second this week, and has put on a show. And while he has jumped to No. 2 in these rankings, the likelihood of him making a jump from a month of Single-A ball last season is still very unlikely.

3. Chris Getz (Last Wk #2) - Getz had a solid week, and is closing. After a slow start to his spring, he is swinging a solid bat and playing good defense.

4. Brent Lillibridge (Last Wk #3) - Flu-like symptoms slowed the speedy Lillibridge down, but even when he played he still strikes out too often and looks to be swinging for the fences. He's looking more and more like a utility candidate right now, but still lots of time to change some minds.

CENTER FIELD

Where it stands after two-plus weeks of Cactus League play:

1. Dewayne Wise (Last Wk #1) - Whether it's a B game or a Cactus League game, Wise remains the most consistent hitter of the three. He needs to get a few more looks in the leadoff spot to solidify his hold on the starting job, however.

2. Brian Anderson (Last Wk #2) - Considering the way Anderson finished last year, he's been a bit disappointing offensively so far this spring. His defense? Still the best in the organization.

3. Jerry Owens (Last Wk #3) - Forget the .192 Cactus League average, it's the three caught-stealing attempts that have people shaking their heads. Owens looks to be playing more not to get hurt than to win a starting job so far.

THIRD BASE

Where it stands after two-plus weeks of Cactus League play:

1. Josh Fields (Last Wk #1) - Besides some base-running brain farts, Fields has been doing everything the club could have asked from him this spring. He's fielding his position and hitting the ball. Of the three position battles, this one seems to be the most one-sided.

2. Dayan Viciedo (Last Wk #2) - Pitchers are starting to test the 19-year-old with breaking balls and off-speed stuff, and he has struggled at times. There is no question that he has raw ability with a higher ceiling than Fields on the offensive side. He did show better defense the last week, but is still a distant second to Fields for the starting job.

Game 9 - Another loss

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Manager Ozzie Guillen has insisted on several occasions that second-year infielder Alexei Ramirez was unlikely to be a top-of-the-order guy in 2009 because they didn't want to put too much on his plate.
They might want to think that over again.
Starting in the No. 2 hole on Thursday, Ramirez was 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

Other highlights from the loss to the Dodgers:

--Newly-signed free agent Manny Ramirez was introduced on the scoreboard during the second inning, as he waved to the crowd from the balcony of the Dodgers facility in left field.

--Carlos Quentin continued to show that his wrist his back, going 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a stolen base.

--Corky Miller has started to pull away in the back-up catcher race, homering in the fifth inning, and now hitting .625 on the spring.

--Brian Anderson was 0-for-4, but showed off his arm by throwing out Mark Loretta at home in the second inning.

--The hype surrounding Camelback Ranch has suddenly cooled, with the attendance announced at 5,594. About 3,000 more than actually appeared to be in the stands.

Viciedo to left field ... sooner than later

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PHOENIX - There is no question that Cuban rookie Dayan Viciedo has skills to play in the big leagues.
Further evidence of that was offered up on Wednesday, as the 19-year-old hit a two-run homer against Oakland, giving him two in the spring in just four games against major-league talent.
Still, from at least a hitting standpoint, the White Sox are taking a wait-and-see approach with him.
"When I go down my list of mechanics, he checks well on all of them,'' hitting coach Greg Walker said on Wednesday. "Physically he's a strong kid, mechanics are solid, and now it all comes down to learning his personality and how his brain works.
"We have to sit back and watch, see how he competes, how his mind works. Does he get down on himself, all this little things that make big-league players special. And with Dayan, we just don't know yet.''
Because of his slightly below average defense at third base, however, expect him to lose out this spring to Josh Fields.
The rookie made his first Cactus League error of the spring in the loss to Oakland, but it could have easily been No. 2 if not for a generous home scorekeeper last week in Colorado.
Viciedo did his best to downplay it.
"I feel good defensively,'' he said through interpreter Lou Hernandez after the 7-2 loss. "The one error happened, but defensively I don't have an issue. I'm not bad.''
That doesn't mean there isn't a plan in place for him.
With Jermaine Dye likely playing his final season on the South Side, the Sox would love to move Carlos Quentin over to right field - his more natural outfield position - in 2010, and then plugging Viciedo into left field, much like they did with Carlos Lee - another lumbering one-time third baseman.
Third is his home for now, but don't expect it to be a permanent residency.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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