White Sox

Sox Drawer: Buehrle's all in... for 2011 and more

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Sox Drawer: Buehrle's all in... for 2011 and more

Friday, Feb. 18, 2011
Posted 5:41 p.m.

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Mark Buehrle is a man without a filter. A pitcher who says whats on his mind.

I usually have my comments once a year, once every couple years, Buehrle admits. I say something I probably shouldnt have. Sometimes people like it, sometimes people dont.

Michael Vick, for example.

But Friday, Buehrle shared some words that people will like, especially if you live south of Madison Street in Chicago. The White Sox legend is backing off comments hes made the last two years when he frequently hinted about retiring after his contract runs out following this season.

Instead, he has arrived at spring training thinking about playing this year and beyond.

A couple years ago I was really, really seriously considering retiring after this year, and I think the percentage is going down, Buehrle told Comcast SportsNet.

Buehrle acknowledges that there is still a small brain cell in his noggin that yearns to walk away to be with his family for good, but after talking it over with his wife Jamie during the off-season, the plan is for Buehrle to finish out his contract, and then sign another one.

Where?

Hopefully its here, Buehrle said. I dont know what the team has moneywise for the next couple years. Theres a lot of factors. They might have someone else up and coming and they dont even want me back. Im open to whatever. If this is the last year, Im going to go out and have fun like I always do.

"Im not going to put any more pressure on myself during the season. Ill go out there every five days, do the best I can, and whatever happens at the end of the year happens.

After the 2011 season, Buehrle will have made 84 million in his major league career. He has a 15 million vesting option for 2012 that kicks in if hes traded, and few teams will be willing to take on that kind of salary, although the pitching-weak New York Yankees certainly come to mind.

But if Buehrle becomes a free agent, he says he wont play just anywhere.

If the White Sox dont want to sign me back after this year and some team (wants me) that Im not a fan of, or dont want to play for, or its too far from home, Im not going to go play just to make money. Its going to have to be the right spot, the right fit for my family.

The thought of Buehrle wearing something other than a White Sox uniform could send many Sox fans into a panic - or at the very least, a therapists office. But hes already compiled a small list of teams hed play for in his head.

Obviously, St. Louis would be there. Im not going to throw teams out (publicly) because obviously at the end of your career, youre going to want to go to a team that can win. Youre not going to go to a team thats rebuilding. Right now I cant pinpoint how many teams. I know there are teams in my head that I will not go to, no matter how much money or what the situation is.

Considering the rivalry the Sox have with a certain team on the North Side of town, I had to ask if he was referring to the Cubs.

Im not saying any names. Im not throwing any cities, any towns, anything out there, but I have a few teams on my mind that I would go play for and theres a few teams I wouldnt play for.

At this point I mentioned to Mark that if he did actually sign with the Cubs, there would be major concern about the mental well being of many White Sox fans.

I could see that. I dont know if I could get up for that many day games. Im not a morning person. Spring training is about it. I need some sleep.

So rest easy South Siders. Youve got Buehrle for one more season. Maybe two. Maybe more.

And remember that once in a lifetime play he made last Opening Day? Behind the back, through the legs, into the hands of Paul Konerko?

Im going to try to top it this year, Buehrle predicted.

He was kidding.

But Buehrle sticking around? Thats no joke. Hes all in.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.