White Sox

Ballantini: Dunn hopes to be sprung soon

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Ballantini: Dunn hopes to be sprung soon

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Posted: 2:18 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com
Adam Dunn emerged from his postoperative, underground lair and took batting practice in the warm breeze of an uncommonly beautiful, 80-degree Chicago afternoon and didnt look any different than when he still had his appendix.

It was good to get out of solitary confinement and hang out with the general population, you know what I mean? Dunn said after a full hitting session on the field. The genial slugger put at least three balls over the fence and another high off the wall, taking batting practice balls out to center and giving Omar Vizquel the chance to delightfully chase bruised and battered baseballs into the center-field tunnel.

Whether the White Sox will clear him to start tomorrow night against As lefthander Dallas Braden, who Dunn has never faced (in eight career games vs. Oakland, Dunn has a .643 OPS with two homers and four RBI).

I dont know if Ill play, the Big Donkey said. Im done making those bold predictions. I feel better than I did yesterday, which is good. But again, the guys who are looking at me are a lot smarter than I am. I just want to be ready when Im in the lineup, whenever that may be.

One thing that was evident is that the slugger was swinging freely in the cage, under the watchful eye of hitting coach Greg Walker. When one observer felt Dunn was swinging too softly, Dunn was quick issue a correction.

You know, I really dont ever swing full force until the game, Dunn said. Today I swung more aggressively than I did yesterday, and it felt good. Im still going to feel stuff, but its nothing where its going to inhibit the way I swing the bat.

Dunn has been adamant about never wanting to miss a game and crawling the wallsas much as a load of a mellow fellow can crawl walls. Its easy to imagine a multimillionaire taking his sweet time to return from a serious surgical procedure, but Dunn is no ordinary superstar.

Its been a battleI wouldnt call it learning, Dunn said when asked what hes learned from being sidelined. I feel like Im being punished. Its kind of like youre, being grounded and you dont know what you did. I hope it never, ever happens again.

Thats what manager Ozzie Guillen adores about Dunneven if it means he has to keep a seriously watchful eye on his status.

This guy is a baseball playerhe wants to be out there, Guillen said. He doesnt want to sit down and watch his teammates having fun and play the game. You as a manager, as a coach, you always appreciate when the guys want to go out and perform, and I do. But we have to be careful. Were not in a hurry. We want to make sure when hes back, hes back for good.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Dylan Cease shows off big velocity in first spring training start

Dylan Cease shows off big velocity in first spring training start

Dylan Cease is entering the 2020 season with plenty to prove. Considering how important he is to the future of the White Sox, it is perhaps fitting he was the first White Sox pitcher to take a mound in a spring training game.

On Saturday, Cease pitched two innings against the Cincinnati Reds as he ramps up to full strength. The most notable thing wasn’t how long he pitched or what his stat line was. It was his fastball.

Cease's fastball sat mostly at 96-98 mph and topped at 99. Cease quipped there could be a bit more in terms of his velocity.


Cease averaged 96.5 mph on his fastball in the majors in 2019. In 73 innings, he threw nine pitches that were at least 99 mph, topping out at 100.1 mph, according to Baseball Savant. He was capable of throwing that hard, but didn't do it often. For Cease to be on the higher end of his average and feature a 99 mph fastball in his first pitches of Cactus League baseball might be a sign that he could have added a touch more velocity.

It’s also just a two-inning spring training start, meaning Cease knew he could let fly a bit more in a shorter outing. Cease told reporters after his start he was focusing on his fastball command. He struck out three with no walks and three hits allowed.

In his rookie season, Cease struggled with command and consistency. He had a 5.79 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 35 walks over 14 starts.

February baseball doesn't carry any meaning, but this is a small encouraging sign for Cease.

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Kenny Williams shuts down rumor connecting free agent Yasiel Puig to White Sox

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USA TODAY

Kenny Williams shuts down rumor connecting free agent Yasiel Puig to White Sox

You can put to bed the rumors about free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig possibly signing with the White Sox. It’s not happening.

The two sides did get together during the MLB Winter Meetings in December. Kenny Williams, Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria met with Puig for about 90 minutes to discuss the possibility of the 29-year-old joining the White Sox as their everyday right fielder.

But instead, the White Sox chose to take a different route. That same week, they acquired Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers for minor league outfielder Steele Walker, ending any chance of Puig coming to the South Side.

“After our meeting we came away big Yasiel Puig fans, but he wasn’t the right fit for us then and he isn’t right now,” Williams said.

With spring training games starting this weekend and the regular season a little over a month away, fellow Cuban Jose Abreu says he’s surprised the flashy 29-year-old outfielder remains a free agent.

“Yes, I am (surprised). That’s one of those things that happen that you don’t understand. A guy with his talent. He’s still so young,” Abreu said through a translator. “He doesn’t have a team yet. It’s a surprise. I’m confident he’s going to find something this year.”

Even with Puig’s talent, Abreu looks around the White Sox clubhouse and agrees with the decision by the White Sox not to sign the former All-Star who hit .267/.327/.458 with the Reds and Indians last season.

“I don’t think he would be a good fit here. Don’t get me wrong. He has a lot of talent but we’re full," Abreu said. "Our outfield is looking great with Nomar (Mazara), Eloy (Jimenez) and (Luis) Robert. There’s no reason for us to make more moves in that area of our team. He’s someone who would fit in with any major league ball club because he has the talent to help any of those teams.”

What about possibly platooning Puig with Mazara in right field? On paper, that might sound like a good plan, although Puig has traditionally hit better against righties than lefties in his career. But a larger issue could be the timeshare. The idea of Puig, nicknamed “Wild Horse,” being forced to the stable for half the season could spell problems not only for him, but the chemistry inside the clubhouse.

“It would be difficult, especially for him being an everyday player,” Abreu said about Puig being a platoon player.  “When you have to make that decision, it’s not easy.”

So, where will Puig end up?  No one knows for sure but it won’t be with the White Sox.  

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