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

Fukudome's "speech" inspires Team Dunn to victory

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox first intrasquad game started with Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome's pregame speech to Team Dunn, and Chris Sale taking the mound as a starter for the first time in a Sox uniform.

Nobody understood a word Fukudome said, but Team Dunn whooped it up anyway as it prepared to play a game it would win 8-4 over Team Konerko.

"The best part was the start, just the competitiveness and fun of having a scrimmage,'' manager Robin Ventura said.

"Yeah, that's a fun first inning. That was fun to see,'' Ventura said of Fukudome's speech, which came at the urging of Dunn who was promising a "secret motivational speaker" and touting his team as a huge favorite. "That's the stuff you look for besides the playing stuff, camaraderie you see already.''

Dayan Viciedo hit a hanging slider from Gavin Floyd over the left field fence for a grand slam in the first, and A.J. Pierzynski had two hits against Floyd including an RBI double. Chris Sale pitched two scoreless innings in his first "outing" as a Sox starter.

"Yeah, I've seen worse intrasquad games,'' Ventura said. "This had a lot of energy with them warming up and going back and forth. It was enjoyable. You can have these intrasquad games where guys go out there and not do anything but they put some effort into it, and we're looking forward to first real spring game [Monday vs. the Dodgers].''

Pierzynski batted second, a spot he might see a lot this season.

"Right now I'd like to have A.J. in there,'' Ventura said. "He handles the bat great. He's always a tough out. Not that he steals a lot of bases but he handles the bat and does the appropriate things. He's one of those guys who will hook it if you have to or put it the other way if they shift on him. Right now I like him right there.''

If likely leadoff man Alejandro De Aza gets on, that would give Pierzynski a hole to pull through with the first baseman holding the runner.

Ventura also said he prefers having Paul Konerko bat fourth. Konerko batted third a lot last season, but Ventura doesn't want him following Pierzynski. Neither are fast, especially Konerko, who is one of the slowest runners in baseball.

"I think Monday I'm going to bat him fourth,'' Ventura said. "I'd like Paulie to bat fourth. For him he probably feels more comfortable there.

"Once you put A.J. second you don't want to follow with Paulie and Adam. Get somebody in there who can outrun them.''

Viciedo played left field and Alex Rios played right.

"He's pretty good,'' Ventura said. "He's hot in left field.''

Ventura said he wants Viciedo to just worry about taking good swings and not worry about numbers.

"You want everyone to be run producers but for us you want him to make solid contact,'' Ventra said. "For a rookie you want consistency. Today he hit two balls hard and that's what you want to see. Not going to tell him he has to knock in a bunch of runs. He wants to do that anyway. It's staying consistent bat after at bat like that and we'll take what you get.''

Sale threw free and easy and took another staff in his transformation from reliever.

"Honestly, I came in here like a deer in the headlights. 'where am I going now. I was like a little kid. Hey Gavin, what are you doing now?' So just talking to Coop and the trainers, try to find something to get where I need to be. Not doing too much or doing too little."

Sale has to get used to taking his time warming for a start as opposed to rushing as a reliever.

"That was something I paid attention to, not firing from the word go,'' he said. "Just taking it nice and easy and really loosening it up because you have time. You're in no rush. That was nice to go out there and flip some in and start stretching it out and pick it up as it goes."

Sale heard players, who surrounded Fukudome in short left field, getting fired up while he was warming up.

"I heard it was Fukudome. He went out there and got the guys pumped up,'' he said. "It was awesome. I was out there throwing and they were screaming and cheering and I was warming up and missing everything."

Brandon Short had a three-run double, and Jared Mitchell an RBI single. Both are considered top prospects.
Dunn walked and scored and was called out on strikes against lefty Eric Stults.

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This page contains a single entry by Daryl Van Schouwen published on March 3, 2012 2:59 PM.

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