Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

February 2011 Archives

Waltrip, NASCAR drivers hang with Sox

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Michael Waltrip's NASCAR team and drivers David Reutimann, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Truex visited the clubhouse Saturday morning, suited up in Sox uniforms and took part in baseball fun on the field. The Sprint Cup Series runs in Phoenix today.
Waltrip is a baseball fan but "Little League didn't go well for me,'' he said. "We had the best team and I played third base, and everyone in the infield made the All-Star team but me. I determined at a very young age that it was probably going to be important for me to make a living sitting on my butt."
Mark Buehrle, A.J. Pierzynski, John Danks, Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn seemed to enjoy having the NASCAR dudes around.

Buehrle: Opening day honor like All-Star appearance

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Mark Buehrle will start his ninth Opening Day for the White Sox, and the assignment is every bit the big deal it was his first time.

"It's a great honor,'' Buehrle said Friday before the Sox took the field for spring training workouts at Camelback Ranch.

The Sox open their season at Cleveland on April 1.

"It's like an All-Star appearance. A lot of people say it gets old, but I don't know how it can get old. It's a build-up from the off-season with all the off-season moves you make. It's the one game that's sold out. It's sort of like a playoff game and after that, it goes downhill because no one ever shows up. But it's going to be a great atmosphere, and I'll try to get us on the right foot."

Buehrle to start opener: Guillen

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -The White Sox inched another step closer to making the worst-kept secret in camp official, that Mark Buehrle will be their Opening Day starter.

''Well, my guy is Buehrle,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said Thursday. "If you talk to [pitching coach] Don Cooper, it would the same [decision], and I don't think [general manager] Kenny Williams will have a problem with that. I just can't make it official. It's Buehrle unless something drastic happens.

"I think it's a no-brainer.''

Buehrle has started eight openers, going 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA.

Edwin Jackson, John Danks and Gavin Floyd are slated to follow in the rotation with the No. 5 spot being held for Jake Peavy, although Peavy is a long shot to pitch in early April.

Peavy: 'Another step in the right direction'

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - In another encouraging sign of progress, Sox pitcher Jake Peavy threw a pair of 20-pitch sessions to live hitters on Wednesday, staying on the same program as other Sox pitchers.

With general manager Ken Williams, assistant GM Rick Hahn and other Sox brass watching from golf carts while pitching coach Don Cooper observed from behind the mound, Peavy threw more breaking pitches than he had in his first such outing on Monday.

"It was another step in the right direction,'' Peavy said. "I'm excited about it.''

"For him to just be out there...but now he's throwing the ball better,'' Cooper said. "He probably went up a notch in intensity. It's a credit to surgeons, a credit to Jake and a credit to Herm [Schneider] following through on all the things he is going through. We have more to climb but I don't think the climb could be going any better right now.''

Peavy, a former Cy Young winner who sits atop the team's payroll list at $16 million this season, missed the second half of last season after having surgery to repair a torn lat muscle below his right shoulder.

"Modern medicine has come a long way, for me to be able to have surgery for something like this,'' Peavy said. "You recall those days before [advanced] surgery, you weren't even sure if you'd ever be able to pitch again. Now you come back and throwing with some velocity, breaking balls and everything else, pain-free, I feel very fortunate and very blessed.''

Peavy felt normal soreness as most pitchers do during the opening week of camp. But he said the lat area felt good.

"I feel completely pain free. I feel normal,'' he said. "Obviously there is some stiffness and soreness, but I feel normal. That's something I haven't felt in quite a while.''

"He had better stuff, increased intensity and the ball was going more where the glove was,'' Cooper said. "Now, he is as tough a judge on things as anybody I have ever had. He will throw pitches that I like but he doesn't like. That's him. But I'm sitting back there liking everything. Whatever pitch he was throwing. It had a little more zip on it and it was going where he wanted it to go more often.''

Peavy to take mound again Wednesday

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Jake Peavy will take the mound again Wednesday morning to face live hitters at the Sox spring training facility at Camelback Ranch.
Peavy said Tuesday he felt normal a day after taking the mound on Monday, an encouraging sign for the righthander who is recovering from surgery in July to re-attach the latissimus dorsi muscle beneath his right shoulder.
Peavy took part in fielding practice with Sox pitchers on Tuesday, showing no signs of discomfort or duress.
"Obviously, like a normal pitcher, there's soreness," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I saw him move around on the field, bunt plays and he was moving very well. The question is going to be there every day, every time he's on the mound how he feels. He feels good, he feels comfortable and he's happy. That's all that counts."
Peavy is hoping to be in the starting rotation by mid-April at the earliest. The Sox have said they are in no hurry to rush him back.

Hemond recipient of Buck O'Neil Award

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Long-time White Sox executive Roland Hemond has been selected as the recipient of the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hemond is the second winner of the prestigious honor, given to an individual for extraordinary efforts to enhance baseball's positive impact on society. He will receive the honor in Cooperstown on July 23, as part of Hall of Fame Weekend.

Buehrle won't turn down Opening Day nod

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Although it hasn't been announced, Mark Buehrle is expected to start the White Sox opener at Cleveland on April 1. It would be his ninth Opening Day start, the most of any White Sox pitcher.
Had Jake Peavy been healthy and performed as the No. 1-type starter the Sox expected when they traded for him, he would likely be the one. Buehrle says John Danks might be more deserving based on his fellow lefthander's performances the last two seasons, but he won't turn down the honor.
"If they come to me, what am I going to do tell them, no?'' Buehrle said Tuesday before the Sox' first full-squad workout of spring training.
"If they gave me the option and said they were tossing between me and Danks I'd say go ahead and hand it to him. His last couple years have been better than mine. And they'll have a change here before too long, so if it was up to me and I had the option I would hand it off.''
This could be Buehrle's last fling with the White Sox. His contract expires after the season.
Danks said as long as Buehrle is around, he should be the Opening Day starter. He went as far to say that he wouldn't want to start ahead of Buehrle, out of respect for the veteran.

Peavy throws to live hitters

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jake Peavy threw off a mound to live hitters Monday, another early but good step for the White Sox pitcher who is trying to come back from surgery.
With general manager Ken Williams, manager Ozzie Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper among those watching the former Cy Young winner, Peavy said he threw his 40 pitches at about 75 percent, which is normal for pitchers this time of the spring. He even mixed in a few breaking balls and said he felt normal.
"It was another step in the right direction I think,'' Peavy said.
"I was putting a little bit more on the ball than I have the past times off the mound...Today, all in all, was a good day.''
Peavy will throw again on Wednesday. He had surgery to re-attach a torn lat muscle below his right shoulder in July and has progressed well through his off-season throwing program. He is slated to pitch in a Cactus League game March 4.
"I threw fastball, changeup. But like I said, putting more on the ball today than I had than in previous times off the mound, so obviously a nice climb today,'' Peavy said. "And we did that without any kind of pain or any setback. I was no different than any other guy. So tomorrow will kind of be a measuring stick to see where we're at, how the lat and the rest of the shoulder bounces back. I expect there to be soreness, but everybody in camp's going to be sore. I just hope it's the right kind of soreness and we don't have any setbacks.''

Rios: We're team to beat in Central

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Center fielder Alex Rios reported to camp a day early Monday, bubbling with optimism. He likes the White Sox' chances in what figures to be a competitive race in the American League Central.
"Oh yeah. Definitely,'' Rios said. "We're the team to beat. We have good additions to the team. The core is solid, and with the additions, we're even stronger. I think we're going to give a hard time to a lot of people out there."
Rios said he has no preference where he hits in a batting order that will plug in slugger Adam Dunn. Manager Ozzie Guillen said he'd like to see Rios bat third ahead of Dunn.
"I think this is the best [lineup] I've been [with],'' Rios said. "It's going to be good. I'm excited for it. I just can't wait to see how it's going to work.
"It's good when you keep the core of the team together. It's pretty good because everyone knows each other and when you add players that are going to impact the team, it's even better. We're looking pretty good right now. Let's see what happens."

Rotation (1-4) takes shape

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Gavin Floyd is slated to pitch the Sox' exhibition opener Feb. 28 against the Dodgers. Floyd will be followed by Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson and John Danks, a rotation that lines up Buehrle to start the season opener at Cleveland on April 1.
Danks would pitch third in the rotation to split up the lefties, and Jackson would pitch the second game at Cleveland on April 2 Floyd would be fourth in line.
The most intriguing planned spring start is for Jake Peavy, who is coming off surgery to re-attach a muscle below his right shoulder. Peavy will likely take the mound on March 4 against the Angels in Tempe, Ariz. Outings in early March are limited to three innings or less. Peavy would probably throw one or two innings if all goes well.
The Sox will play an intrasquad game Feb. 27.

Vizquel looks, feels good as gold

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Omar Vizquel, who turns 44 in April, arrived in camp looking as fit as a 24-year-old.
"It's really exciting for me to have another year,'' Vizquel said "I'm getting older and older and I question myself, how long will it be and when will it be the time. So far so good, man. I feel very, very good.''
The 11-time Gold Glove infielder is 201 hits shy of 3,000.
"I've given [3,000] a thought but it's going to be really hard,'' Vizquel said. "It all depends on what I'm going to do this year. Maybe if I get 80 hits, maybe I can push it for another year if I feel good.''

Guillen waiting on Flowers to bloom

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Almost everybody in the White Sox organization celebrated the re-signing of catcher A.J Pierzynski during the off-season. There were no fist-pumps from Tyler Flowers, though, whose chances of making the team took a major hit when the Sox' veteran was signed for two more years.
Flowers has been viewed as the likely successor to Pierzynski for some time, but his progress has been lacking, particularly at the plate. He batted .220 with 121 strikeouts in 100 games at AAA Charlotte in 2010, heightening the Sox' need to retain Pierzynski in their "all-in" attempt to contend for the AL Central title.
"If we go with the kids there you go,'' Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said."But our boss wanted to give us a shot to win and they thought AJ was the best guy and they signed AJ.''
As for Flowers, "I'm waiting for him,'' Guillen said. "I don't care what Tyler says. Or what Tyler thinks. We're waiting for him. When we brought him here, we thought he would be the catcher for this year. We don't think he was ready. I don't think he showed too much to say 'We're going to carry this guy.' ''
"If we go a different direction, that's a different thing. That's my opinion.''
Flowers has worked on changing his stride and a few other minor alterations.
"Just get better,'' Flowers said. "Everything else is out of my control. It's a matter of consistency.
"Obviously they brought A.J. back, with a veteran pitching can't blame them for bringing A.J. back.''
Ramon Castro looks entrenched at No. 2 on the depth chart. But Flowers, who came to the Sox from the Braves in the Javier Vazquez trade, came to camp to make a good showing.
"We're still waiting for him,'' Guillen said. "I'd like to see more out of him this year, I do. I don't think there is any reason why this kid isn't here right now.
"He played pretty good for us while he was here ... He's on the map. He's a guy we're counting on but in the meanwhile he needs playing time. He needs to play a little more to show what kind of player he is. Like I say, we're all still waiting for him to have great years and come back and help us to win games.''

Jordan Danks looks to impress...again

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen loves what he brings to the table, especially a glove that is generally considered the best among outfielders in the organization, but Jordan Danks remains a long shot to make the major league team.

Dunn embraces pressure

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Adjusting to being a designated hitter is Adam Dunn's biggest concern.

Sale sold on bullpen

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Chris Sale took the news that he will pitch in relief in stride.

Cowley: Danks said time will come for an extension

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alg_sox-danks.jpgGLENDALE, Ariz. - White Sox starter John Danks is still under Sox control through the 2012 season, but several failed attempts to sign him to a contract extension have been a head-scratcher.
Relax Sox fans, the lefty feels like there is still plenty of time for his name to be signed on a dotted line.
"We're not in a position where we have to get something done,'' Danks said on Wednesday, a day before Sox pitchers and catchers were expected into camp. "I'm going to still be here next year, so.''
According to Danks, the dialogue from both sides remains good, but it's more about timing than anything else. With the club looking to add the big bat of Adam Dunn, reinforce the bullpen and make sure to keep both A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko home, the timing wasn't right this past winter.
"I mean it kind of goes both ways,'' Danks said. "Yeah, we would have liked to try and have gotten something done, but there are other needs that needed to be done. I mean going out and getting Adam Dunn, going and bringing Paulie and A.J. back. There was other stuff that was way higher on the list than me, so I'm not losing any sleep over it. I'm happy and I think they're happy with where we're at, so we have plenty of time to get something done.''
Danks avoided arbitration by signing a $6 million deal this year, and could jump up to the $8-$9 million range in '12 if all goes well.
The Sox still have time on their side.

Tinkering with Ozzie's lineup

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At SoxFest last month, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he liked the idea of new designated hitter Adam Dunn batting third in his lineup, followed by Paul Konerko fourth and Alex Rios fifth.

Vick's fan club not for Buehrle

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Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle's biting comments about Eagles quarterback Michael Vick have caused something of a stir.

White Sox tickets on sale Friday

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Individual game tickets for Sox home games go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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