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.

Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

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Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

The Cubs made the Jose Quintana deal knowing it would have been more difficult to give up Dylan Cease if he was already performing at the Double-A level, and that the White Sox organization would be a good place to continue his education as a young pitcher.

While Eloy Jimenez keeps drawing ridiculous comparisons – the running total now includes Kris Bryant, Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz – Cease is more than just the other name prospect from the deal that shocked the baseball world during the All-Star break.

“We still project him as a starter,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said during this week’s GM meetings in Florida. “He certainly has the stuff where it’s easy to envision him as a potential dominant reliever. But to this point – for the foreseeable future – we deal with the starting and continue to develop him as a potential front-end arm.”

The Theo Epstein regime still hasn’t developed an impact homegrown pitcher, but that hasn’t stopped the Cubs from winning 292 games, six playoff rounds and a World Series title across the last three seasons, while still being in a strong position to win the National League Central again in 2018.

Without Quintana and his affordable contract that can run through 2020, Epstein’s front office might have been looking at the daunting possibility of trying to acquire three starting pitchers this winter.

While surveying a farm system in the middle of a natural downturn, Baseball America ranked seven pitchers on its top-10 list of prospects from the Cubs organization: Adbert Alzolay, Jose Albertos, Alex Lange, Oscar De La Cruz, Brendon Little, Thomas Hatch and Jen-Ho Tseng.

So far, only Alzolay, an Arizona Fall League Fall Star with seven starts for Double-A Tennessee on his resume, and Tseng, who made his big-league debut in September, have pitched above the A-ball level.

Cease – who went 0-8 with a 3.89 ERA for Class-A Kannapolis in his first nine starts in the White Sox system – has a 100-mph fastball and a big curveball and won’t turn 22 until next month. That stuff allowed Cease to pile up 126 strikeouts against 44 walks in 93.1 innings this year, putting him in the wave that includes Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech and Alec Hansen.

“Ideally, we have a lot of guys we project to be part of the future, very good, championship-caliber rotation,” Hahn said. “In an ideal world, there’s not going to be room at the inn for all of them. You only have five in that rotation and some of these guys will wind up in the bullpen. In reality, as players develop, you’re going to see some attrition.”

One spot after the White Sox grabbed Carlos Rodon with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, the Cubs did Kyle Schwarber’s below-slot deal, using part of the savings to buy out Cease’s commitment to Vanderbilt University ($1.5 million bonus for a sixth-rounder) and supervise his recovery from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Cease was never going to be on the fast track to Wrigley Field, and now the White Sox hope he can be part of the foundation on the South Side, where it’s easier to sell a rebuild after watching the Cubs and Houston Astros become World Series champions.

“It doesn’t change really for us internally in terms of our commitment or focus or our plan or our timeline or anything along those lines,” Hahn said. “I do think, perhaps, it helps the fan base understand a little bit about what the process looks like, where other teams have been and how long the path they took to get to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series (was). In Chicago, many fans saw it firsthand with the Cubs.

“There are certainly more and more examples in the game over the last several years to help sort of show fans the path and justification for what we’re (doing).”

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

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USA TODAY

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

The White Sox continued their rebuild Thursday by trading for an intriguing young right-handed pitcher.

The South Siders acquired Thyago Vieira from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for international signing bonus pool money.

The 24-year-old Vieira is a Brazilian native and has only made one appearance in the big leagues, striking out a batter in one perfect inning of work in 2017.

While his career minor-league numbers don't jump off the page — 14-19 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 13 saves and 7.4 K/9 in 290.2 innings \— Vieira has been reportedly clocked at 104 mph with his fastball and was ranked as the Mariners' No. 8 prospect at the time of the deal. He also held righties to .194 batting average in 2017.

Here's video of Vieira throwing gas:

And this may explain why Vieira was even available:

Control has been an issue throughout his career, as he's walked 4.6 batters per nine innings in the minors. He has improved in that regard over the last few seasons, however, walking only 22 batters in 54 innings across three levels in 2017 and he doled out only one free pass in 5.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.

What does this deal mean in the big picture for baseball? How did the Sox pull off a move like this while not having to give up a player in return? 

This may help shed light on the situation from Baseball America's Kyle Glaser:

Either way, the White Sox may have just acquired a guy who could potentially throw his name in the hat for "future closer." Or at the very least, throw his name in the hat for "best name."