White Sox

Ballantini: 'Peavywatch' kicks up a notch

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Ballantini: 'Peavywatch' kicks up a notch

Friday, March 4, 2011
11:00 a.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com
TEMPE Peavywatch has taken to the streets here on Friday, as rehabilitating Chicago White Sox fireballer Jake Peavy makes his first start of the season on the road vs. the Los Angeles Angels.

On Thursday, manager Ozzie Guillen kept the pressure low on his potential ace, while still tabbing Peavys outing as an important a moment as youll find in spring training.

Im not going to say tomorrow can be the biggest day of camp for us, because the only thing I expect is Peavy comes out of the game healthy, Guillen said. I dont care how he throws. Gauging his health gives us the opportunity to see what we can do, gives us the idea of how healthy he is. Right now, his health report is great. I dont want to put a lot of heat on Peavy but hopefully well see and itll be a good game for us.

Peavy insisted after his last heavy bullpen session on Tuesday that he didnt just feel strong for someone rehabbing from a unique, detached latissimus dorsi muscle injury, but that he doesnt feel like hes coming off of major shoulder surgery at all.

If we didnt talk about it all the time, I wouldnt feel like Im coming off of an injury, he said. I feel normal, just like I would any other spring training The injury monitoring is the biggest thing we are doing different than I ever have before.

Thursdays starter, John Danks, is just one of four rotation members who are eager to see Peavy back and healthywhether or not he surrenders the first hit by a White Sox starter this spring.

The no-hits thing is for fun, were all having a good time with it, but the most important thing is a healthy Jake, Danks said. For him to go out there and feel good, the results dont even have to be there. We just need him to feel good and healthy and come back as soon as possible, for sure. A healthy Jake, that makes a huge difference in our rotation.

Guillen echoed his laid-back leftys sentiments, but stopped short of calling his rotation the one to beat in the American League.

We have a great rotationon paper, Guillen said. Thats a plus, but its what you do between the lines, not on paper Today all I want is to see Jake Peavy walk off the field healthy. Results? The results will be better later, I guarantee you that.

Laid-Back Lefty, Redeux

Danks is as popular a figure as youll find in the clubhouse, part of the so-called Redneck Row that made a huge offseason addition in picking up the unique stylings of slugger Adam Dunn. But among the pitchers, Danks is the perfect foil.

Take yesterdays startduring his in-game interview in the clubhouse after he left the game, Danks was chided by a friendly expletive from Edwin Jackson after Danks joked that he was disappointed in his start because Im tied for the team lead in walks with Edwin Jackson. Just a few minutes later, Mark Buehrle gave Danks noise for his wild effort, pointing out that his own offseason pitching regimen has kept him sharp: Thats something you oughta be doing, Danks.

Even his own, younger brother in White Sox camp Jordan purportedly doesnt return his phone calls. Yet through it all, Danks is the happiest-go-lucky hurler in a pretty congenial rotation.
Overheard

Hitting coach Greg Walker, feeling the heat after a couple of subpar offensive efforts early, after Thursdays win: Hey, we won one!

Guillen, when asked if he was feeling itchy being the last team of spring training to get a win: I dont worry about that stuff. Ive earned my Masters in managing by now. Ive got a doctorateI dont worry about that stuff.

Outfielder Stefan Gartrell, having a friendly debate over fielding form with animated outfield instructor Daryl Boston in the dugout during Thursdays B-Game: You guys think whatever you wantI catch the ball! Have I ever dropped one?
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

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USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sunday marked the first surprise of White Sox spring training, courtesy of first baseman Jose Abreu.

“This year, I’m going to try to steal more bases,” Abreu said through a translator.

This might have sounded like a joke, but Abreu was completely serious.

On paper, he’s not exactly Rickey Henderson. In 614 career games, Abreu has only six stolen bases. However, the slimmed-down first baseman does have some sneaky speed. His six triples last season ranked third in the American League. So there are some wheels to work with.

“I like the challenge. I think that’s a good challenge for me. I’m ready for it,” Abreu said.

How many steals are we talking about? A reporter asked sarcastically if a 30-30 season is in the offing? Abreu didn’t exactly shoot down the possibility.

“Who knows? When you fill your mind with positive things, maybe you can accomplish them,” Abreu said. “The mind of a human being works in a lot of different ways. If you fill your mind with good things, good things are going to happen.”

The morning began with Abreu walking to the hitting cages with his Cuban compadres Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, who the White Sox signed last summer. He held his first workout on Sunday. At the White Sox hitters camp last month, Moncada took Robert under his wing, showing him the ropes, even telling Ricky Renteria, “I got him.”

But Sunday, Abreu was in charge, holding court with the three of them in the cage. Abreu watched closely as Robert hit off a tee, giving him pointers about his swing.

“I just like to help people,” Abreu said. “When I started to play at 16 in Cuba, I had a lot people who hounded me to get better. At the same point, I want to give back things that I’ve learned and pass that along to other people. That’s what I’m doing. I’m not expecting anything else. I’m just glad to help them and get them better.”

What kind of advice has he passed along to Robert?

“Since I came to this country, I learned quickly three keys to be a success: Be disciplined, work hard and always be on time. If you apply those three keys, I think you’re going to be good. Those are the three keys I’m trying to teach the new kids, the young guys,” Abreu said.

Abreu lost about 10 pounds during the offseason. He said he hopes to learn more English in 2018. He also arrived at spring training sporting a scruffy beard which he grew while he was in Cuba so he “could be incongnito.”

Abreu likes his new look. Moncada thinks he should shave it off.

“If the organization doesn’t say anything, I’m just going to keep it,” Abreu said.

Well, so much for that.

Moments after Abreu spoke with the media, Renteria told reporters that Abreu will have to “clean it up a bit.”

The two will find a compromise. Come to think of it, maybe Abreu and the White Sox should do the same about a contract extension in the near future.

Yes, he’ll be 33 when his contract expires in two years, but there have been no signs of a decline with his performance. Instead, Abreu is only getting better both offensively and defensively.

Heck, now he wants to steal bases, too.

After Renteria, Abreu is the leader of this team. He commands ultimate respect inside the clubhouse. He’s become another coach to Moncada, Robert and others. He’s a huge brick in the present and too big of an influence and cornerstone to not have around in the future.

“I hope to play my entire career in the majors with the White Sox,” Abreu said Sunday. “But I can’t control that.”

At some point, a decision will have to be made whether to keep Abreu or trade him. In the meantime, ask yourself this question: What will bring more value to the White Sox, getting a high-end prospect or two in return not knowing if they’ll ever succeed in the majors? Or keeping your best player, the heart and soul of your team, allowing him to show your future stars the way while they’re developing in the major leagues?

Seems like an easy decision to me.