White Sox

Garfien: White Sox-D'Backs Game Live Blog

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Garfien: White Sox-D'Backs Game Live Blog

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

3:00 PM
Hey everyone. It's a gray day in Chicago. Sunny and perfect in Arizona. Life as Chicagoans as we know it!

Guess what? Baseball season is almost here. I think I have told myself this about 20 times ... today. If you're like me, this is the best and worst time of the year. Best because you know that Opening Day is so close you can taste the hot dogs (or in our case, the rounds of hot chocolate we end up drinking because it's the only thing at the concession stand to keep us "warm" on Opening Day). Worst because we're at the point where we've been watching spring training for so long it feels like life has stopped. Maybe that's a good thing. To put it another way, it's like going out and buying a brand new car with all the bells and whistles (GPS, DVD player, Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones), but you have to keep it under a tarp in your garage until April 5th.

Torture.

So to help pass the time I've decided to write a running blog about today's White Sox-Diamondbacks game airing on Fan's Best Friend, Comcast SportsNet.

It's all I can do.

So sit back, relax, and strap it down. White Sox baseball is coming your way.

3:12 PM
First inning.

John Danks gets the start for the Sox. He seems to be fully recovered from picking his beloved Texas Longhorns to win the NCAA Tournament.

Hello?

They didn't even make it out of the first round.

Danks gets out of the first inning unscathed. Mark Teahen almost threw a routine ground ball to third all the way to Flagstaff. But Paulie was there to nab it out of the air.

The Sox go 1-2-3 against Arizona pitcher Billy Buckner. No score after one.
3:35 PM
Second inning.

The year might be 2010, but this inning feels a lot like 2009.

JustinUpton leads off with a chopper to third. Teahen takes his time, makes abetter throw to first, but Upton beats it. He then steals second, RamonCastro throws the ball into the outfield. Upton to third. He scores ona base hit by Jeff Bailey. 1-0, D-backs. No more damage done.

Well,for the White Sox anyway. In the bottom of the second, there goes Uptonwith the Arizona training staff walking out of the ballpark. Maybe he'shurt. Maybe he wants to go buy some In N' Out Burger down the street. Ido.

Steve Stone says "If he's not ok, the Diamondbacks have real problems."

Speakingof problems, Mark Teahen comes to the plate. He's batting .143 thisspring with one RBI. Never a good sign when your biggest contribution sofar has been on Twitter (@espyteahen). Sorry, Mark (like he's reading this), but I couldn't help myself.

He'sa really funny guy. I've talked to him a little bit so far. He's quietat the start, but has a very dry sense of humor. He just needs to breakout of this slump.

Hasn't happened yet. Teahen grounds out to short.

3:58 PM
Third inning.

Stephen Drew up with two outs. He was my shortstop last year in fantasy baseball. That didn't work out good for either of us.

But he absolutely crushes a Danks pitch. I mean CRUSHED it. John knew it immediately. 2-0, Arizona.

Uptonhas a strained left ankle. I'm guessing he'll be ok. But then again,I'm a sportscaster writing about this from my couch.

Don Cooper is wired up for the bottom of the third.

Heconfirms that Jake Peavy threw nothing but fastballs against the Royals acouple days ago because they just wanted to build up his armstrength and not show anything to a division rival.

Coopersays he is much better suited being a pitching coach than an actualpitcher. Judging by his 1-6 career record with a 5.27 ERA ... Coop weall agree!

He says that Matt Thornton is "throwing the livingcrap out of the ball." He says there isn't anyone throwing the ballbetter in the Cactus League than Thornton. Cooper says he's fine with Mattclosing if Bobby needs a breather.

Need a quote to get youexcited for the season? Cooper: "Here's what I'm saying about our wholestaff, if we're healthy we're going to be good. And if we gethot ... watch out."

How about some offense?

Carlos Quentinwith an RBI single. Paul Konerko with an RBI groundout. Augie Ojeda robs Jones of a double that would have scored two more. Gotta talk about Joneseventually. We're tied at 2 after three.

4:12 PM
Fourth inning.

Teahen smokes the ball up the middle. That's what Greg Walker has been telling him to do. But the ball ricochets off Buckner's foot and he throws Mark out at first.

Baby steps.

My great, great grandfather Omar Vizquel drives in Mark Kotsay. Sox up, 3-2.

By the way, we're halfway done with the game and there hasn't been a single shot of Ozzie. But he's talking so loud his voice is being picked up by a nearby microphone. Ozzie, keep it clean.

Want some Ozzie Ball?

Vizquel on third. Pierre on first. Beckham at the plate. Pierre breaks for second, Vizquel races home. Everybody safe. Get used to this. 4-2, Sox.

Beckham smashes a base hit to left. Pierre scores. 5-2, Sox.

Meanwhile, my computer is at the Apple store, so I'm doing this entirely on my blackberry. I might be getting the early signs of Carpal tunnel syndrome. Anyone have Carlos Zambrano's contact info?

4:34 PM
Fifth inning.

Danks moving right along.

I start dozing a little (it's spring training) until I hear this from Hawk Harrelson:

Aubrey Huff says that Danks' changeup is as good if not better than Johan Santana's.

Really?

Not sure if you caught my recent interview with John and his brother Jordan. They last played together at Round Rock High School in Texas in 2003. In fact, they played in the state championship game. With a victory, they would have been the No. 1 high school team in the country.

Danks got the start that day but gave up five runs and took the loss.

The game still bothers John to this day. He says it's the worst loss of his career. This past winter his dad wanted to take out the tape of that game and show it John for some crazy reason. John wanted no part of it.

Danks gives up a run in the fifth to make it 5-3, Sox.

5:01 PM
Sixth inning.

After getting out of the inning unharmed, Danks is mic'd up with Hawk and Steve.

Danks says he'll pitch once more in Arizona against the Angels and then the last preseason game in Atlanta.

He gave up three runs over six. Threw 92 pitches.

Breaking news: Teahen with a base hit up the middle. He's winning the AL batting title. You heard it here first!

That would be sarcasm. But I'm not worried about him.

Ozzie calls for a hit-and-run.

95-year-old Vizuel rips a double to left. Teahen scores. Castro scores. I can hear Ozzie yapping with glee in the dugout.

7-3, Sox.

I don't know about you, but with this kind of offense, Sox-Twins games should be pretty interesting this year.

A Quentin RBI single drives in Vizquel. Yes, the Sox offense is finally here. 8-3.

Konerko is up. He gave me a hitting lesson this winter while I attended the Sox Fantasy Camp.

When we got in the cage he said he thought I'd be of the "non-athletic type."

Thanks Paul.

I asked him if we were playing a pick-up game, where would he pick me? He said in the middle to late rounds "because every team needs charisma."

So I've got that going for me ... which is nice.

5:21 PM
Seventh inning.

Greg Aquino in for Danks. Remember Chris Young, the "can't-miss" prospect the Sox traded to Arizona in the Javier Vazquez?

Well, after that breakout season in 2007, he's come back down to earth. Last year he hit .212 with 15 homers and 42 RBIs. Aquino strikes him out. He's 0-for-3.

Kotsay with another hit. He'll bat .980 this year.

Here's Teahen. And here's Hawk:

"YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD ... YES!!!!"

Mark goes oppo to left.

His first home run of the spring. A two-run jack. He goes straight into the dugout and tweets about it.

10-3, Sox. Hawk is VERY happy. So is Teahen.

5:42 PM
Eighth inning.

Bobby Jenks is in.

A couple weeks ago when I was at Spring Training, I asked him if he'd be willing to sit down with us for an interview about his decision to give up drinking.

He had just spoken to mlb.com about it, but he decided he was done talking about it.

So we started talking about Bobby's trip out to Glendale. He drives each year with his family all the way from Chicago, making tourist stops along the way.

Bobby says, "You should come with us next year with your cameraman."

Hmmm. I think we might have to do it. Although that's a looooooonnnnnnggggg drive. Maybe we'll meet him somewhere in New Mexico.

Bobby puts a couple runners on. One on a hit off the end of the bat. The other on a walk. But he gets out of it.

Andruw Jones is up. He's a beast! A base hit up the middle. He just hurt that ball. Yep, Kenny Williams got him for 500,000, 1.5 million with incentives.

Look out American League.

5:47 PM
Ninth inning.

I've just come to the realization that I have watched an entire spring training game on television.

I think there's something wrong with me.

No, I'm just studying. Yeah, that's it! I'm simply preparing myself for the season.

Opening Day better get here soon.

Like tomorrow.

Sox win, 10-3.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

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USA TODAY

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.

In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.

Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.

Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.

But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.

While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:

4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen