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February 2012 Archives

Sale easing into transition as White Sox starter

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- So far, so good for Chris Sale in his transition to being a starting pitcher.

The White Sox' prized young left-hander has impressed Robin Ventura in the early stages of spring training

"He has great stuff,'' Ventura said Wednesday. "For me, especially the live stuff and we had guys in there [facing him in batting practice]. It's not a comfortable at-bat for guys going in there left-handed.''

"He has velocity. His off-speed pitches are something else. I don't know many that I've seen that are better as far as the velocity and change to his off-speed pitch. Keep him healthy. That's the big thing. The sky is the limit and I'm excited to get him going."

Ventura hasn't announced his rotation plans for Cactus League games, which begin March 5 against the Dodgers, but Sale said he is scheduled to start against the Cubs on March 9.

Sale will be watched closely as he adjusts to the workload and routine of a starting pitcher. He feels great and likes the way the ball is coming out of his hand.

"I'm feeling really good, as far as my body and my mental state,'' he said. "It's all there and it's all clicking right now. I'm trying to find a way to keep using that.''

Last spring, Sale was walking through the wrong doors at Camelback Ranch finding his way around at his first camp. This year, he's one of the boys.

"I know where I'm going this year. I'm not walking out that [wrong] door anymore. Obviously, I'm more comfortable with the facility. The jitters aren't as high as they were last year. It was my first spring training, but the intensity is still there. The excitement is still there.''

Sale isn't waiting to cut loose on the mound.

"I was letting some go today. My philosophy is if you feel good, throw. No reason to hold back. Games are starting soon, the season is coming up quick. I would like to get as close to 100 percent, if not 100 percent, as fast as possible.

"[I need to] be the guy they need me to be. Show up ready to go every day and be consistent. I would like to show up to the ballpark every day and just find something that fits me well to be ready to go every fifth day and go out there and give it everything I got.''

White Sox, U of I team up for promotions

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Chicago White Sox Media Relations

The White Sox and the University of Illinois have formed a cross-promotional relationship where Illini fans will receive special offers to selected games, suites, group sales, and patio parties.

The White Sox also will play host to a special "Illini Day" on Friday, June 1 vs. the Mariners at 7:10 p.m. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in a pregame parade and wear their orange while enjoying a trademark fireworks display after the game.

"There are a lot of sports fans in the Chicago area, Central Illinois and Northwest Indiana who root for the Fighting Illini and the White Sox," said Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of marketing and ticket sales. "To build a bridge between Champaign and Chicago, bringing the fan bases together, makes sense as we both open our gates to allow more fans to enjoy our games."

"We are very excited to announce our relationship with the White Sox," UI athletics director Mike Thomas said. "We feel this will increase Illinois exposure in Chicago, and allow some great opportunities for fans to experience exciting baseball at U.S. Cellular Field."

In addition, the White Sox fans will receive special offers and incentives for Illini sporting events. To purchase tickets for "Illini Night" or for more information, fans should visit or call (312) 674-1000.

All that Paulie said: State of White Sox address

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Paul Konerko knows what's going on, and while his "we can be successful without making the playoffs" statement ruffled a few feathers, take note of the context in which he said it. Here is Konerko's 20-minute talk with media upon his arrival at Sox camp Tuesday:

Konerko: Success can be had without playoffs

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Paul Konerko arrived at spring training on Tuesday with his typically reasonable view of the state of the White Sox. Talking on a wide range of subjects, including the Sox' retooling with younger players and how strange it seems without Mark Buehrle around, Konerko dropped one sound byte that might not resonate well with Sox fans:

"I hope I don't throw anybody off with this, but this can be a very successful year without making the playoffs," Konerko said.

That said, Konerko made it clear that the Sox are not shooting for second place in the American League Central.

"I think you can start building something now,'' Konerko said. "Teams the last handful of years, it's been try real hard to win and you fail then come back next year and try again from a totally different angle. I think what is happening here is they're trying to build something that's a little more sustainable. My point is, if we go out there and compete this year and it doesn't happen that you see this with some other teams in the league that they kind of pick up the next year with that momentum that they built from the year before. That's why I said it could be successful. I'm not conceding anything. In today's game, there's way too many teams especially now there's another wild card spot.''

"There's a lot of 'ifs,' " Konerko said. "But again I don't think you have to sit there and say 'we're trying to win, we're trying to rebuild.' Who knows. Cleveland last year, not that they won the division, but all in all I think it was a very successful year. Cleveland just came in looking to see what they had. But I think this year, this team is different than a lot of teams we've had recently.''

Konerko and catcher A.J. Pierzynski are the two remaining players from the 2005 team. Mark Buehrle signed with the Miami Marlins during the offseason. When talking about Buehrle, Konerko appeared to be somewhat emotional.

"You know I've been here for an hour and a half but definitely not seeing Mark that's not ... I don't know what to say about that other than it doesn't seem right."

Buehrle joined manager Ozzie Guillen in Miami. Guillen left the Sox with two games to go last season, and Robin Ventura was a surprise hire as the Sox' new manager.

"There was definitely some times late in the year last year where there was probably games and days given away because of people worrying about things that were not related to the game of baseball,'' Konerko said. "I don't see that being an issue. I have a good feeling that no matter what happens this year, whatever our records winds up being, I think you can look at that record and say that's what this team did. That's the true measure of this group of guys.

"The last couple years and especially towards the end last year we were just giving away games. Big league players, you should be mentally tougher than to have that stuff bother you. And I think for the longest time we were as a group. And it's not the same group every year. I think it just all came to a head. But that's how things end. If it didn't go like that then no one would see a need to make a change. Some stuff like that has to happen to make a change.''

Ventura considers Viciedo in left field, Rios in right

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura is open to the possibility of yet another move for Dayan Viciedo, perhaps to left field.

Viciedo came up as a corner infielder and made a smooth transition to right field last spring to make room for Brent Morel at third base.

With Alejandro De Aza looking like the best center fielder, Alex Rios was thought to be facing a move to left. But Rios is inexperienced in left and Ventura sees Viciedo handling the move without much difficulty.

"He's a good athlete,'' Ventura said Monday.

"Alex had his best years in right.''

Ventura also said Adam Dunn might play more first base than he did last season, to give Paul Konerko some rest.

Nestor Molina in camp to make White Sox roster

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox gave up a lot to pry Nestor Molina from the Blue Jays farm system, so it's safe to say the right-handed strike machine is being watched closely in camp.

"He looks like he's throwing a ton of strikes, like knows what he's doing,'' Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said Monday morning. "His delivery is fine, he's quick to the plate, he gives you the impression his walks to innings will be good. Now I'm anxious to see him in games.''

Molina, acquired in the trade for closer Sergio Santos in a deal that surprised some because of Santos' credible performance in his first year as a closer and because of Santos' team-friendly contract, is a converted infielder as Santos was. He moved up near the top of the Sox' prospects lists when he changed teams.

If he makes the team out of camp, it would be as a reliever, although his future is in starting. His sights are set on starting his major league career as soon as possible.

"I would definitely be disappointed if I didn't make the team because I came in here with the mindset that I'm going to be on the roster,'' Molina, 23, said. "But if I don't make it, I'll work my butt off in the minor leagues and I know there will be an opportunity sometime during the season where I'll be able to move back up."

Molina best pitch is his splitter, his best asset his command. He walked 16 batters and struck out 114 in 130 innings combined in Class A and AA last season. He pitched 22 innings in AA, so he may need more seasoning at that level.

Here is a Molina scouting report from Baseball America in December:

"Prior to 2011, Molina had made just 77 career appearances, four of which were starts. Toronto had their sights set on giving him a chance to start, assigning him to the high Class A Dunedin rotation. He flourished in the move, throwing 130 innings between Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire while striking out more than a batter per inning and walking about one per nine. Molina has above-average command of a fastball that ranges from 88-93 mph. He originally tried to turn his slurvy breaking ball into a slider, but he has shifted to using a curveball now. Molina has a legitimate out-pitch in his splitter, and he also shows feel for a straight changeup. His secondary stuff doesn't jump off the page, but his fastball command helps it play up. He profiles nicely in the back of a rotation and will likely make his big league debut in 2012."

Gordon: There's a new Beckham in town

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Gordon Beckham's tough-love offseason talk with his father set him straight. The message was straightforward: Stop being somebody else and get back to being the Gordon I know.

"We talked it out, and [when I asked] 'What do you see?' he said what he saw was not me,'' Beckham said. "You can either act like the guy you've been acting like and roll over and die or be the guy you were and let it loose. It's hard to hear when your dad says he didn't recognize who you were. But it's what I needed to hear. I knew I needed to change. I changed.''

Beckham needs to get back to being the player he was as a rookie in 2009 when he batted .270 with 14 homers and 63 RBI.

"We're still waiting for him to take his game to the next level,'' general manager Ken Williams said.

The expectations from fans and media that accompany that past production can't be an issue for him, he said.

"It's not important,'' Beckham said.

Last season, Beckham batted .230. He had 147 more plate appearances than 2009 but hit 10 home runs and drove in 44 runs. He batted at the bottom of the order.

"I'm not worried about last year,'' Beckham said. "Everybody thinks I'm really worried about or want to think that. I had a bad year. It wasn't me. It's not who I am as a person and baseball player. I have to remind myself that's not who I want to be. I've rededicated myself to being me. I got back to doing that. It's nice to be back to where I've been.''

"Baseball wise, getting back to how I used to play. Just competing and loving to compete and playing with courage out there and not giving an inch. Off the field just being me.''

Beckham's confidence was gone last season. It's an absolute necessity for any athlete at any level. It was there on the field - he played outstanding defense at second base - but not when he walked up to the plate.

"Yeah I lost a little bit,'' he said. "That was the main thing I had to figure out. Back to being me. Me is not a tentative person. That's not how I roll.''

Much has been made of Beckham's swing. On Saturday, he talked about needing to be in a better "load" position, but on Sunday he stressed that hitting, for him, is more mental than mechanical.

"It's not my swing,'' he said. "More my approach and who I was being on the field. It's not my swing. My swing is fine. I've tweaked some stuff. But it's more about the guy who is swinging the bat.''

White Sox' Beckham knows what he needs to do

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Gordon Beckham said goodbye to his good friend and hitting coach Greg Walker. In Jeff Manto, change might be good for the White Sox second baseman looking to rediscover his swing.

"It's never bad to have a change,'' Beckham said after arriving at Sox camp early on Saturday morning. "Greg Walker is one of my close friends so it's going to be very hard to not be around him, have him around because he's such a good friend. He's happy in Atlanta and we're happy with Jeff and we're just going to go at it.''

Manto won't make or break Beckham. A different voice can't hurt.

"He doesn't have to do anything,'' Beckham said. "He just has to be there for us and bounce ideas off of us and encourage us and I think if he does that, he's doing his job because hitting coaches can't do anything but give us information.''

Beckham has an idea about what he needs to do.

"The main thing I did this offseason was try to get loaded up,'' Beckham said. "Just try to make sure I'm back to getting aggressive in terms of when I'm ready to hit, I'm absolutely ready to let it loose. In '09 I was good at getting loaded early and slow and early. That's something I sort of lost the last two years. It had to be more perfect. I've worked on getting back a little sooner, make sure I'm loaded and having lag in my bat. Having that makes you hit offspeed, bad pitches all that stuff. You can get fooled and still hit it hard.''

Beckham arrived a few pounds lighter than he did last spring, when he was "too puffy.''

"I worked out and made sure I was in shape,'' Beckham said. "I started hitting in early December to start figuring out what I need to figure out. I did some stuff that I thought was important to getting back to being me, hitting wise. There's no real specifics there. I thought I figured out some things I needed to figure out. I got back to where I was when I first came up.''

Rios, Dunn Beckham check in to White Sox camp

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Alex Rios, Adam Dunn and Gordon Beckham, the big-three pieces of the White Sox' bounce-back hopefuls group, arrived at Spring Training a couple days early on Saturday. The first full squad workout is Tuesday.

"I'm very excited, looking forward to starting over this year. I'm looking to having a productive year,'' Rios said at his locker before a sizable media group.

Rios wants to keep it simple. He said he doesn't want to get too bogged down in mechanics after struggling through a disappointing season in which he batted .227 batting average and .265 on-base percentage. He hit 13 home runs and drove in 44 runs.

"See the ball and hit the ball,'' he said.

This offseason, Rios went through his normal hitting routines and looked at video of his productive years. He batted .284 with 21 homers and 88 RBI for the Sox in 2010 and played in two All-Star games as a Toronto Blue Jay.

"I broke down my swing, tried to analyze everything,'' he said. "Tried to remember the things I did my good years.''

"You have to have fun and play the game right.''

Dunn did some hitting during the offseason after suffering through a dreadful 2011. He can't put it behind him fast enough.

"I worked on some things in the off-season,'' Dunn said Saturday. "Hopefully me and [hitting coach] Jeff [Manto] can get together and kind of go over some things and see what he wants me to do and how he wants me to approach the season. Kind of go from there. My main goal is to be ready for Opening Day and that's what I'll do.

Rios, who might play left field if Alejandro De Aza takes over in center with Dayan Viciedo in right field, said he's more comfortable in center and right.

"I have played right and center. I like those because that's where I've played. Left is different. But we'll see what happens.''

Rios' best month was September, when he moved his hands away from his body. He batted .307 with five homers and 11 RBI in the final month.

"The year that I had, it's not fun,'' Rios said. "It makes the year longer. It makes everything miserable. I'm looking forward to having a hot start and keep going. That will make it fun again.''

Molina, Castro make good first impressions on Ventura

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was a brief look, but manager Robin Ventura liked what he saw in some of the White Sox' new, young arms on the second day of camp Friday.

Ventura made a point of mentioning right-handers Nestor Molina and Simon Castro. Molina came from the Blue Jays organization in the Sergio Santos trade. Castro came from the Padres' minor league system in the trade for Carlos Quentin.

"It's nice to be able to see them throw and really see what your scouting department sees," Ventura said. "And going on the back field watching the catchers hit, to see young kids you haven't necessarily seen a whole lot of -- [Michael] Blanke, [Josh] Phegley, Tyler [Flowers] -- it's nice to see guys swinging the bat well."

Ventura, a left-handed hitter as a player, didn't seem to think he'd want to face left-hander Chris Sale after watching him throw.

"That's a bad matchup for lefties,'' Ventura said. "He looks great. He looks like he's throwing nice and easy and free. Obviously, the velocity is there, now he has to build up the strength.''

There are probably three spots open in the Sox bullpen with Sale moving to the starting rotation.

"That's the great part about going out the last couple days, you see some quality arms. Who knows how it's going to shake out, but it's nice to see the kind of arms we're coming into camp with. Maybe a little bit under the radar, but for us we're excited about them.''

Molina is ranked as one of the Sox' top prospects.

"I was very curious,'' Ventura said. "Obviously, going through our drills, he looked great. You see how athletic he is and you watch him go through his stuff and see how impressive he is. It's nice to see him on the mound. Just the way the ball comes out of his hand and how balanced he is, it's nice to see.''

Danks up for Opening Day start

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Robin Ventura was asked point blank who his Opening Day starter will be, he wasn't ready to discuss it on the first day of pitchers and catchers workouts.

"I'm not going there yet," Ventura said. "We're going to plan for that here in the next week or two before we get into games."

John Danks is the likely choice to face the Texas Rangers in Arlington on April 6. The only starter in the Sox rotation who has started on Opening Day is Jake Peavy.

Danks, who signed a $65 million extension during the offseason after going 8-12 with a 4.33 ERA last season, is up for the assignment.

"Yeah. I think everyone wants to pitch on Opening Day,'' Danks said Friday. "It's a fun game. It's a lot different than any other game in the regular season. It would be fun, but it's not my decision.''

Mark Buehrle, who left the Sox for the Miami Marlins as a free agent, started nine of the last 10. Last spring, Buehrle was campaigning for Danks to get the nod following Danks' 15-win season. Buehrle said it with an eye on the Sox future and his probable impending exit.

"He says some stupid stuff sometimes,'' Danks said. "You take what Buehrle says with a grain of salt. But I think any one of us five can go out there and give us a chance to win. After the first game, it doesn't matter what order we go in. Robin said it yesterday, our success this year will be based on how well we pitch the ball.''

Peavy will be 'highly disappointed' if he doesn't start 30

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - At 190 pounds, Jake Peavy came to camp 10 pounds lighter than last season. He needed to make things easier on his surgically repaired right ankle and his right groin.

He also stood before cameras and microphones on the day White Sox pitchers and catchers reported for spring training with the weight of a surgically re-attached lat muscle not weighing down his body and mind.

"My winter was outstanding,'' Peavy said. "To not have to go through a major injury rehabilitation. It was huge, it was fun. It was a good winter. The shoulder and stuff looks real good. I'm excited to get started. Today is a fun day.''

Oozing with typical first-day optimism and enjoying the vibe and anticipation that comes with a new manager, Peavy is eager to test his body now that it's a year and a half from the lat surgery. He said he would be "deeply disappointed" if he doesn't make 30 starts.

"I feel as healthy as I can possibly be on this day from top to bottom,'' he said. "I don't know what that is. I look forward to staying that way and not talking about health, talking about baseball.

" It's the first time I've been like this for a lot of springs to not have to answer injury questions. I hope we don't talk about any more of that, we talk about baseball.''

It was suggested to Peavy, who is in the last year of a contract that pays him a team-high $17 million in 2012 (the club has a $4 million buyout option in 2013), that the Sox might go as far as he takes them. That's a stretch, but Peavy is in the group of highly-paid players who need to bounce back after sub-standard performances.

"I will play a role but it's going to have to be a group effort,'' Peavy said. "We're going to have to have guys bounce back, myself included. Guys who have done big things at this level, and if we bounce back with good team effort we will compete. Everybody is talking about Detroit as they should be - Detroit won the division and did nothing but get better but there is nobody in this clubhouse is conceding a thing. We're going to show up starting April 6 and get after it.''

Peavy likes the Sox starting rotation, even without Mark Buehrle.

"[Buehrle] is going to be missed but we have guys on the staff who have done good things who can pick up the slack. It's huge for Johnny [Danks] to have the stability [with a five-year, $65 million extension] and being the guy here for the next five years. Gavin Floyd is as good as anybody, Phil Humber we saw what he's capable of. We're getting an absolute stud in Chris Sale [from the bullpen]. He's as good as anybody I want to say I've play with as far as raw, physical talent. Throwing him in the rotation and how he holds up is going to be huge. And me pulling the weight I'm going to pull. We have the pieces in here to win. It's just about showing up and doing it.

"It's a different feel. We're excited about [new manager] Robin [Ventura], what his staff brings to us. We have to play good team baseball, care about each other and make things happen.''

White Sox pitchers, catchers get it going Thursday

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Robin Ventura will address the media at camp on Wednesday, a day before pitchers and catchers have their first official workout of the White Sox manager's first spring training as a field boss.

This camp will have a different vibe without Ozzie Guillen, Ventura's former Sox teammate who left the club with two games remaining last season to take the job of managing the Miami Marlins. Also gone are coaches Joey Cora, Jeff Cox and Greg Walker. Bench coach Mark Parent, third base coach Joe McEwing and hitting coach Jeff Manto are the newcomers on the staff, joining pitching coach Don Cooper, first base coach Harold Baines, bullpen coach Juan Nieves and assistant Mike Gellinger.

"It was time for a change," team captain Paul Konerko said of the new regime. "That had run its course. Ozzie was a success, and if you told everyone when he was hired in 2004 that there would be some crazy, totally wild stuff and some fights with some guys, but one year we'd win the World Series, everybody would have taken it.

"It's been a success, but it also ran its course -- with Ozzie and the organization. It was time to move on, and he's going be happy where he's at [in Miami]. It will be interesting to see what Robin, Joe Mac and Mark Parent bring. It's been a slow, steady decline so this needed to happen. That's sports, it happens a million times, we just have to build it back up and get it right.''

The first full workout with position players is Tuesday.

White Sox sign free agent Kosuke Fukudome

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The White Sox upgraded their outfield defense and added a left-handed bat to their roster with the signing of free agent Kosuke Fukudome on Tuesday.

The Sox had been the only team in baseball without a free-agent signing this offseason. Fukudome, 34, the former Cub who spent the last two months of last season with the Cleveland Indians, agreed to terms on a one-year, $1-million contract which includes a club option for 2013. Fukudome will receive $500,000 in 2012. The Sox hold a $3.5-million option for 2013, including a $500,000 buyout.

"Kosuke adds to our outfield depth and gives Robin another left-handed bat to mix into the lineup based on matchups," said assistant general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. "He can play center field and right and provides flexibility to our roster."

Outfield defense was a Sox problem last season, particularly in left field and center.

Fukudome combined to hit .262 with 27 doubles in 530 at-bats between the Cubs and Indians last season. He hit eight home runs, had 35 RBI and scored 59 runs in 146 games. The Indians acquired him on July 28 for outfielder Abner Abreu and pitcher Carlton Smith.

Fukudome was a highly sought-after free agent before the 2008 season who chose the Cubs over, among other teams, the Sox. He made the All-Star team his rookie season but never lived up to his four-year, $48 million contract with these lifetime numbers: .260, 110 doubles, 42 home runs, 191 RBI, 262 runs scored and 299 walks.

For $1 million, this appears to be a good addition for the Sox. He will wear uniform No. 1.

White Sox were not serious players for Cespedes

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The White Sox, who have a successful history of signing Cuban players, were one of several teams to inquire about Cuban free agent Yoenis Cespedes but their pursuit never reached a serious stage, sources indicated Monday. The price for an untested player at the major-league level was too high for a team that cut payroll and is the only one in baseball without a free-agent signing this offseason.

The Oakland A's stunned the baseball world with Monday's signing of Cespedes, for four years and $36 million. Cespedes' visit to the Marlins last week and his declaration that he wanted to play in Miami, followed by a reported six-year offer from the Marlins, made Miami the likely landing spot for the five-tool center fielder. The Cubs were also thought to be a leader in the competition for his services, and the Sox were on the list of teams Cespedes said were interested.

The A's, who made a run at shortstop Alexei Ramirez before he signed with the White Sox, never came up until Monday.

"At the end of the day with all these big free agents, it comes down to the total package," Cespedes' agent, Adam Katz, said. "Sure, money and the economic package had something to do with it. But it's also about all the surrounding circumstances. And basically, this was a player who felt like this club wanted him more than anybody else."

Cespedes' signing would have generated some needed interest among the Sox' skeptical fan base. But again, in their current position and holding a number of bad contracts, they were not willing to stick their neck out on an unproven commodity.

"The tools are there,'' Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said last week. "But you never know what's going to happen. How's he going to handle major league pitching? How's he going to handle major league media? We don't know. There's a lot of ifs."

Dunn's swing bad in February? Of course it was

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Ozzie Guillen said he and former White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker knew they "had a problem" the first time they saw Adam Dunn's swing at spring training last February. The fact of the matter is Dunn has never found his swing until the end of spring training, and he appeared to find it at the end of camp last year.

When Walker first laid eyes on Dunn's swing, it was probably the first time Dunn had a bat in his hands since the end of the 2010 season. As always, Dunn hadn't hit during the offseason and never saw a reason to because he was always ready to go by Opening Day.

He appeared ready on Opening Day last season when he homered against the Indians' Fausto Carmona in Cleveland. Dunn was 4-for-14 (.286) with five RBI over his first four games when he went down with an appendectomy in Kansas City on April 6 and, for whatever reason, never recovered. There were other factors that likely entered into his woeful season, in which he batted .159 with 11 home runs -- 15 fewer than his previous full-season low. But a case can be made that the surgery and subsequent stoppage of his season set off the downward spiral.

Dunn wanted to come back sooner but returned to action six days after having surgery. General manager Ken Williams said in hindsight he would have held Dunn back longer and perhaps given him some minor league at-bats to get his swing back after the layoff. Dunn, one of baseball's most prolific home run hitters of all time, went on to have one of the worst seasons ever by a major leaguer.

On "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 Friday, Guillen said Walker approached him after watching Dunn's first hitting session in Arizona.

"He says 'We have a problem,' " Guillen said. "I say 'What? Spring training is only a couple of days [old].' He said, 'You've got to come out and see Adam Dunn's swing.' I said 'Don't worry about it. We've got a month and a half to get ready, go through spring training. Don't worry about it.' "

Guillen watched for himself the next day.

"I looked at his swing and I told [bench coach] Joey Cora going home, 'We've got a big problem,' " Guillen said.

Dunn was not concerned. He repeatedly told reporters during spring training that was his history, and that "eventually it will click. It always does.''

Because of his poor year, Dunn did some hitting this past offseason. Guillen (Marlins) and Walker (Braves) will both be elsewhere, giving Dunn a fresh start with new manager Robin Ventura and hitting coach Jeff Manto.

"It was painful to see Adam Dunn every at-bat and walk behind me with a long face striking out," Guillen said.

"People in Chicago, believe me, he tried everything in his power to get better. He just had a bad year. Hopefully he will bounce back."

White Sox take look at another quarterback

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There's something about quarterbacks that appeals to the White Sox, who are taking a flier on Mitch Mustain. The former USC and Arkansas QB did not play baseball in college but after he touched 90 mph in a tryout, the Sox signed him to a minor-league contract.

Mustain, a former national college football player of the year, is something of a fallen star. After going 8-0 as a freshman starting QB at Arkansas, Mustain transferred to USC but got stuck behind Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley. Things got worse when he was arrested (but not charged) for selling prescription medication. He had been taking medication for ADHD and stopped taking it, a mistake he now regrets for obvious reasons.

Mustain was preparing to play Arena League Football but took the opportunity in baseball instead.

"I haven't played in eight years, which, my age, it's going to be a little bit harder to get back into this," said Mustain, who is reporting to Glendale, Ariz., on March 8. "As time goes I figured this would be my one shot at it, and why not?

"The sky is really the limit as to where I can go, and what I can do. So that's exciting for me, and I look forward to getting out and just going for it."

Mustain joins a Sox list of former QBs that includes Joe Borchard (Stanford), Josh Fields (Oklahoma State) Clayton Richard (Michigan) and current Sox Adam Dunn, who was redshirted as a freshman behind Major Applewhite at Texas. Dunn decided to focus on baseball after he was asked to play tight end.

And let's not forget former strong-armed Bears lefty Bobby Douglass, whom Bill Veeck signed in 1979. Douglass pitched four games for the Iowa Oaks, allowing eight runs, walking 13 and striking out none over seven innings. Veeck, never one to let a publicity opportunity slip away, was impressed by Douglass' football arm and figured he was worth a try.

White Sox broadcast schedule announced

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White Sox Media Relations

The White Sox, Comcast SportsNet, WGN-TV, WCIU-TV and WSCR-AM 670 announced the team's television and radio broadcast schedules for the 2012 season on Wednesday.

Comcast SportsNet will televise 101 regular-season Sox games beginning with the season opener on Friday, April 6 against the defending American League champion Texas Rangers in Arlington at 1:05 p.m. CDT. CSN also will air Opening Day at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday, April 13 vs. the reigning AL Central Division champion Detroit Tigers at 1:10 p.m.

WGN is scheduled to broadcast 30 Sox games this season, beginning with the club's second game of the year, and first night game, on Saturday, April 7 at Texas (7:05 p.m.). WCIU will begin its 25-game schedule on Tuesday, April 10 at 6:05 p.m. at Cleveland.

Five White Sox games are scheduled to be broadcast nationally as part of the FOX Saturday Baseball "Game of the Week" package, beginning April 21 at Seattle (3:05 p.m.). ESPN will air the White Sox at Rangers game on April 8 as part of its "Sunday Night Baseball" schedule with coverage starting at 7 p.m. Additional Sox games may be added to the ESPN and FOX slates later in the season.

All CSN, WGN, WCIU, ESPN and FOX telecasts will once again be available in high definition. Game times and television networks are subject to change.

WSCR-AM 670, the Sox flagship radio station, will broadcast all 162 games. The on-air duo of former Sox pitcher Ed Farmer (play-by-play) and former outfielder Darrin Jackson (color commentary) will return to the radio booth.

Ken "Hawk" Harrelson and Steve Stone, entering their fourth year together in the White Sox television booth, will call 156 regular-season games on CSN, CSN+, WGN and WCIU. The seven games scheduled on Comcast SportsNet Plus (CSN+) will be available on CLTV in the Chicagoland area. Viewers in other areas should visit for specific channel locations. The first CSN+ telecast is scheduled for Monday, April 23 at Oakland (9:05 p.m.).

CSN will air the first game of the BP Crosstown Cup series at Wrigley Field against the Cubs on Friday, May 18 at 1:20 p.m. FOX will broadcast the middle game on Saturday, May 19 at 6:15 p.m and WGN will televise the finale on Sunday, May 19 at 1:20 p.m. When the series moves to U.S. Cellular Field, CSN will broadcast the first (Monday, June 18, 7:10 p.m.) and third (Wednesday, June 20, 7:10 p.m.) games while WGN will air the middle contest on Tuesday, June 19 (7:10 p.m.).

The Sox will start all weeknight home games at 7:10 p.m. Saturday home games will include both 3:10 p.m. and 6:10 p.m. start times with one 6:15 p.m. first pitch (June 23). Sunday afternoon contests are scheduled for a 1:10 p.m. first pitch. FOX telecasts, which broadcast locally on WFLD-TV, will begin at either 3:05 (April 21 at Seattle, May 5 at Detroit and September 8 vs. Kansas City) or 6:15 p.m. (May 19 at Cubs and June 23 vs. Milwaukee).

Johnson "shooting for stars" with White Sox

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Left-handed hitting first baseman Dan Johnson, who batted .119 in 91 at-bats for the Tampa Bay Rays last season, has been signed by the White Sox to a minor-league contract.

Johnson, 32, is best known for his two-out, two-strike home run against the New York Yankees on the final night of the 2011 regular season. It capped a seven-run comeback in an 8-7 Rays victory that clinched the American League wild card for Tampa Bay.

A career .235 hitter, Johnson's other home run in 2011 was a three-run shot against Sox lefthander Matt Thornton during the ninth inning on April 8. The Sox were leading 7-6 at the time, and Rays held on for to a 9-7 victory after they had trailed 7-4.

Johnson's flair for the dramatic extends further. Seven of his 11 Rays home runs either tied the score or gave his team a lead. He hit eight homers against the Rays' AL East rivals Boston and New York, including a tying shot against Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning of a September 2008 game in Boston. It was his first at-bat as a Ray, and the Rays went on to win.

Johnson, who was slowed by a wrist injury in 2011, declined an assignment to AAA Durham in October. He told the Tampa Tribune he believes he can make the Sox Opening Day lineup.

"I have to take it day by day, but that's the plan," Johnson said. "You don't play this game to shoot low. I'm going in there shooting for the stars."

Making the Opening Day roster will be a big enough challenge, even if Johnson's wrist is healthy. Paul Konerko is the Sox first baseman and $56 million man Adam Dunn is the designated hitter. The Sox are looking at Johnson as a possible backup and pinch-hitter.

Johnson batted .275 with 15 homers and 58 RBI as a rookie with the Oakland A's in 2005. In 2007 with the A's, he batted .236 with 18 homers and 62 RBI. He has also played one season in Japan.

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