White Sox

Danks swept away like a novacaine hurricane

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Danks swept away like a novacaine hurricane

Sunday, April 3, 2011
Posted: 2:36 p.m. Updated: 4:31 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com
CLEVELAND With the way he pitched on Sunday, Chicago White Sox starter John Danks might be hoping that another root canal goes awry.

Danks, who spent an hour in a dentists chair during yesterdays game having an old root canal fixed, struck out the first four Cleveland hitters and punched out eight en route to six innings of mostly smooth sailing.

Dankss one rocky moment, while hurling under showering skies, came on a single pitch, a flaccid 89 mph, first-pitch fastball to Orlando Cabrera that the garrulous second sacker deposited deep to Quicken Arena.

I felt good, Danks said. I felt like I was in command pretty much the whole game and made a couple of mistakes that hurt us It was a 0-0 fastball, just trying to get ahead. For most of the game, I was able to do thatit was just a bad pitch, and OC hit it pretty well.

For White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, the momentum of the game changed in the fourth inning, when Alexei Ramirez popped out on a bunt attempt and Carlos Quentin and A.J. Pierzynski were tripled off of second and first, respectively.

The game changed, totally changed, with the bunt, Guillen said. If we put the ball down with the bunt, maybe it would have been a different ballgame. John made only one bad pitch. He pitched very well. He continues to pitch like that, he will win a lot of games.

The Indians added five insurance runs in both the seventh and eighth innings, upping the final to 7-1.

Cabrera improved to 3-6 in his career vs. Danks, with two home runs and five RBI.

Before OC cracked wise on Danks, things were looking sunny for a White Sox sweep of Cleveland. Chicago broke out to a 1-0 lead in the third when Omar Vizquel, starting in the finale in front of the fans who adored him for 11 seasons, stroked his 2,800th career hit. The 43-year-old scored two outs later, on a base tap by Paul Konerko.

The White Sox had designs on an opening-season sweep but had to settle for two of three. Now its on to Kansas City for a short two-game set in hopes of starting the campaign with wins in four of five.

We dont want to lose, Danks said. We want to win every game. But on a personal standpoint, I felt great out there. It felt like I had pretty good command. I was able to throw all of my pitches for strikes and really dictate most of the counts.

We dont have to regroup, it was just one bad game, Vizquel said. We just have to stay sharp and come out and play the right way in Kansas City.
Peavy Watch

Down in warmer, drier locales than sloggy-chilly Cleveland, rehabilitating starter Jake Peavy threw four innings of simulated baseball at Camelback Ranch, throwing 59 pitches and reporting no ill effects.

I do feel a lot better going through this process, he said. The throwing sessions and the treatments with anti-inflammatories have a lot to do with this recovery.

Peavy is recovering from latissimus dorsi surgery last July and has made a swift comeback from that surgery, which reattached a back muscle that had freed itself from the bone.

I did feel stronger, he said. Certainly I could tell I started fatiguing in the fourth, but I did feel better than I did on Tuesday during a 20-pitch side session.

Peavy said that his main aim in his first true action since an 83-pitch outing at the Oakland As on March 19 was commanding his fastball.

There are a lot of young guys swinging in the simulated game, and I could get a lot of swings and misses, he said. But pitching is about fastball command, and thats where it starts.

The confident ace pitched just the first inning from a windup, working from the stretch for his final three frames.

Pitching out of the stretch is where you make your biggest pitches, he explained. You want to feel comfortable in the stretch.

Peavy is next due to start on April 8, for AA Birmingham at Montgomery, where he will stretch himself out longer, with goals of 75 pitches and five innings.

I look forward to the rehab starts and having more adrenaline.

Toof-er

Danks pronounced his ailing tooth OK after the start, feeling no ill effects of root canal cleanup done just 24 hours earlier.

Its all rightIm staying on top of the medicine, said the affable lefty. Im fine. I didnt even notice it out there.
Oh man

The Indians scored five garbage runs late in the game, but the contest shifted from nailbiter to rout on the left arm of Will Ohman, who has struggled in two outings so far this season and will pack a 27.00 ERA for Kansas City tonight.

Theres No concern, he said. Bother? Definitely. I mean, it sounds clich, but Ive been doing this for a while, and its a bad stretch right now. It stinks. But its not something that carries over for the season.

We only have so many guys out of the bullpen. I expect him to do better.

(Pitchout, first)

He do a lot of things. He pitch out twice. First base, he couldnt get there on time.

In his typically wry fashion, Ohman had a good bead on what he was doing wrong on the mound.

Yeah, when you throw the ball over the middle of the plate, guys hit it, and thats what it was, Ohman said. When I left the ball up, they hit it, and when I left the ball over the middle, they hit it Im completely healthy, on the same page with the catcher, just not executing.

As much as White Sox fans may be cringing over the possibility, Ohman is eager to get back on the field and chip away at his four-digit ERA.

Absolutely I want to get back on the horse, he said. It stinks because its early, and you dont want to start off like this. I had a chance to keep us in the ballgame today, thats what I wanted to do. But if this was two bad games in a row in August, it would be exactly the same: Frustrating, but not worrisome.

I did get him right back out there after a tough Opening Day outing, Guillen said. Thats the reason he went back out today. Hopefully, we get him straightened out I worry about players losing confidence, and thats the worst thing that can happen. We are only carrying 11 pitchers. We cant have somebody up every time he pitches. We dont have that luxury.

Doubly troubling for Ohman is the fact that hes one of the new arms in the bullpen, having signed a two-year, 4 million deal with Chicago this winter.

Any time you change teams you want to come in and start off right, he said. Nobody ever wants to be the guy thats not getting the job done.

Triple-play trouble
Guillen joked that he had never hit into a triple play because whenever he came up with two men on base and nobody out, he left the game for a pinch-hitter. But he wasnt joking about how badly Alexei Ramirezs popout on a sacrifice bunt, leading to a triple play, hurt his team.

We are 0-2 bunting, and thats not good, Guillen said. We are going to hit with this lineup, but those little things, we have to do. Its impossible to go perfect, but I expect better things. Our little game has to be better.

Guillen argued the call initially, thinking the ball might have hit the ground before first baseman Carlos Santana snagged it. But upon replay, the manager thought the right call was made.

I thought it bounced first, he said. It was a very close play, so I had to go out there and check it out.

The jefe did sympathize with Pierzynski and Quentin, who were caught standing on second and third as the diving play was made.

I dont know, nobody knows what to do, Guillen said. I was screaming from the bench, and I dont know what I was saying: Stay thereno, come here. But I think that triple play changed the game.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Volstad, Santiago show capability as rotation alternatives, but White Sox still have starting-pitching mystery this weekend

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USA TODAY

Volstad, Santiago show capability as rotation alternatives, but White Sox still have starting-pitching mystery this weekend

Chris Volstad and Hector Santiago combined for one of the best outings by a White Sox starting pitcher this season.

These weren’t the names anyone expected to fit that description when the season began. But with struggles all around from James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, here the White Sox sit as they approach the one-month mark of the 2018 campaign.

Reynaldo Lopez has been excellent, no doubt about it, and Fulmer has turned in a couple nice outings, including in Monday’s win over the visiting Seattle Mariners. But against that same M’s lineup Tuesday afternoon, Volstad — who lasted 4.1 innings in a 1-0 loss — became the first White Sox starter this season not to issue a walk.

It was an important outing for Volstad, as well as for Santiago, who followed him up with 3.1 shutout innings of his own. The duo showed they’re both capable of serving as reliable fill-ins in a White Sox rotation that got a hole punched in it Monday, when Gonzalez went to the disabled list.

Shields, Giolito, Lopez, Fulmer. Those guys aren’t going anywhere. But should Gonzalez remain on the DL for an extended period of time, it doesn’t seem as if the White Sox need to be searching for options.

“Volstad and Hector both did a nice job. I thought they gave us plenty of outs, they gave us plenty of opportunity,” manager Rick Renteria said after Tuesday’s game.

But that doesn’t mean the South Siders are out of the starting-pitching woods for the remainder of this week. Shields will go in Wednesday’s finale with the Mariners. Giolito and Lopez are set to pitch in the first two games of a five-game road series against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

But Saturday presents a mystery, one that doesn’t seem to have an easy answer.

Thanks to that opening-weekend snow-out, there’s a doubleheader Saturday, and while Fulmer is in line to start one of those games, who will start the other? The White Sox will get a 26th man for that day, and that spot is typically given to a spot starter brought up from Triple-A. But given the White Sox current situation on the 40-man roster, there aren’t many options, meaning a player might need to be outrighted in order to make room for a spot starter.

Let’s get this out of the way first: It seems unlikely that Michael Kopech will make his major league debut in a spot start during an April doubleheader in Kansas City. Yes, Kopech has been good in his three starts with Charlotte, sporting a 2.40 ERA with 21 strikeouts. But he’s got just six total starts at the Triple-A level, and the White Sox have made it abundantly clear throughout the last several months that the necessities of the big league team during this rebuilding season and Kopech’s readiness for the majors are independent of one another.

It makes no sense to potentially cut short Kopech’s development at the Triple-A level because the big league rotation needs a spot starter.

The options, however, are limited.

Of the seven players who have started games for the Knights this season, two are on the big league roster right now (Volstad and Chris Beck), one is Kopech and one has a 9.75 ERA (T.J. House). One is on the 40-man roster, Ricardo Pinto, who made his first start at Charlotte on Tuesday. Pinto, though, would be on short rest Saturday.

The other two are Dylan Covey, who turned in a 7.71 ERA with the White Sox last season, and Donn Roach, who has made two career major league starts, most recently giving up four runs in 3.1 innings in a spot start for the Cubs in 2015. Covey and Roach have 2.95 and 1.88 ERAs at Charlotte, respectively. But the White Sox would need to make room on the 40-man roster to bring either up, even just for a day.

While it would be on “short rest,” perhaps the most logical option is just to start Volstad or Santiago on Saturday and start the other on Sunday. Tuesday, Volstad threw 66 pitches and Santiago threw 59 pitches, neither total approaching the qualification of a heavy workload, especially considering both veterans have plenty of starting experience under their belts.

Renteria talked about how well it worked using both guys in tandem Tuesday, but he might have to split them up to staff his rotation this weekend. It would also eliminate the need to remove someone from the 40-man roster. The White Sox could just bring up another bullpen arm as the 26th man, someone like Juan Minaya, who was on the Opening Day roster.

Renteria has already shown willingness to use his pitchers outside of the traditional “every fifth day” strategy. Shields and Fulmer both pitched in back-to-back games just last week. And Fulmer’s turn was moved up when Gonzalez went on the DL, pressing him into his third appearance in six days Monday.

The mystery likely won’t be solved, at least publicly, anytime soon. We’ll likely have to wait a few days to know for sure. Until then, it’s a guessing game.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Trayce Thompson - 'This is home'

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Trayce Thompson - 'This is home'

Drafted by the White Sox in 2009, Trayce Thompson never wanted to play for another team but the White Sox. 

All that changed in 2015 when he was dealt to the Dodgers in the Todd Frazier trade. Now back with the White Sox, Thompson talks with Chuck Garfien about the trials and tribulations of the last few years, the whirlwind of being on 4 teams in the last 4 weeks, how the White Sox threw him a lifeline bringing him back, how he wants to make the best of this new opportunity and more. 

Take a listen here or in the embedded player below.