White Sox

Sox lose, but another positive step for Peavy

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Sox lose, but another positive step for Peavy

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Posted: 3:09 p.m. Updated: 5:33 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Theres nothing Jake Peavy likes better than making major league hitters miss pitches. And for the bulk of his second Cactus League start vs. the San Francisco Giants, he did just that.

Peavy threw 49 pitches, 31 for strikes, in falling one out short of completing four innings the longest outing for a White Sox pitcher so far this spring. The righthander was bounced after Aubrey Huff deposited a cutter into the seats just inside the right-field foul pole at Scottsdale Stadium. The Giants added three runs off of Jeff Gray in the sixth to shoot ahead 4-0. The White Sox halved that lead with back-to-back homers to right field by Adam Dunn and Stefan Gartrell.

Today wasnt as free and easy as the other day, Peavy said. It was certainly a lot of work to get ready, but my body did all we asked it to do. I wasnt very sharp. I had pretty decent stuff. It was just a good step in the right direction, another hurdle to clear and moving on toward my ultimate goal, and thats to break camp with the team.

I dont want to get excited, but out of the rotation, he throws the ball the best right now, Guillen said. Hes hitting his spots, making pitches. I was very glad today, because he was facing the regular Giants lineup. He was supposed to go three innings, he went to the fourth. I was supposed to take him out before the home run; I left him in there because the pitch count was good.

"It was a very exciting day, but were in the same situation we were last time. Its all about how he feels tomorrow. But its a step forward, if you want to call it that.

While Peavy is his own harshest critic, the fella catching him thought it was the best hes seen from the White Sox workhorse.

Peavy threw the ball great: His slider was as good as Ive seen it in the last two years, his control was there, catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. He was a little bit off, but Jake is a perfectionist and if he doesnt throw every single pitch where he wants it, he gets mad. Basically, the home run to Huff was a ball in, off the plate. He had to throw out of the stretch to try to get some work on it because he went so easy the first three innings. He was only supposed to go three, and he almost went four.

Peavy has a 1-2-3 first, throwing nine pitches, six for strikes. He whiffed leadoff hitter Andres Torres on a cutter, then induced increasingly deep fly outs to center from Freddy Sanchez and Huff. Ironically, Peavy had just cracked Huffs bat on a foul grounder before the blast.

Early in the game, yeah you watch how the cutter, Peavy said. In spring training, you feel fresh out of chute. You throw crisp breaking balls, and I threw some good ones early.

In the second, Peavy also retired the side in order. Buster Posey popped out to shortstop Alexei Ramirez, Miguel Tejada was jammed and grounded out weakly to short, and a lazy fly to Juan Pierre ended the inning.

The third saw more of the same, with Peavy firing more strikes, getting Pat Burrell to ground out to short, Cody Ross to pop weakly to second baseman Omar Vizquel, and DH Mark DeRosa to fly out to center.

He was unable to finish the fourth, inducing fly outs from Torres and Sanchez before Huff clocked a 1-2 pitch out of the park.

The pitch Aubrey hit out it was the same cutter that struck out Torres, Peavy said. You lose some command as game goes on but thats part of building and climbing to build endurance.

In the fourth, having allowed no baserunners, Peavy worked from the stretch against both Sanchez and Ross. Yes, its where he gave up the eventual winning run. Its also an inning he wasnt supposed to pitch.

Getting up and down four times was the biggest thing, Peavy said, unsure even of how many pitches he threw in the game. Ozzie and Coop asked me if wanted to go back out. I hadn't thrown out of stretch, and I wanted to go out of the stretch with game-like intensity.

In all, Peavy had one strikeout and one walk, and two of his 10 other outs were ground balls. The righthander is due to make his next start at home on Monday vs. the San Diego Padres.

A good day, all in all, Peavy said. I came out of it healthy and climbing. That's all you can ask for.

It was a great day for the White Sox, again, Guillen said. Every day Peavy goes out there before the season starts, its a great day for us. I didnt expect him to throw this well today. The first outing, youre all pumped up and want to be back on the mound, but the second outing, for me, was very important. He handled it very well.

Rinse and repeat

As Guillen said, Wednesdays outing was spectacular, but it all comes down to how Peavy feels Thursday.

Thats was one of the things were going to monitor: Am I able to bounce back and throw a good side session and have good days of playing catch, and feel up to par to starting five days later? Peavy said. We did that. It was a lot of work, but we got there. I hope that continues to be the case. Im going to have typical soreness and probably am going to go through that dead arm period.

The ball didnt feel like it was coming out the other day like it did vs. Anaheim but like I said, you have these kind of starts. But were on the up and up. That was their 'A' lineup and we got some guys out. They hit the ball hard, but they were being aggressive. I was throwing the ball across the plate so

As Pierzynski noted, Peavy is his own harshest critic, so take his self-flagellation with a grain of salt.

Ham sandwiched

Plus, there was a matter of hamstring tightness that slowed Peavys roll.

I had a little hamstring tightness, Peavy said. We had that going on and wrapped up and like I said, my arm didnt feel that great. So we didnt want to go there and push it, push it, push it. Obviously we faced a pretty good lineup today and had to get some good hitters out, and I did that.

Uh, whats that about a hamstring, Jake?

My right hamstring has a little bit of a knot in it. When you have those little bitty things, theres no sense in going out there in spring training and pushing the envelope. I would even suspect my velocity was probably more down a little bit, because I certainly didnt push it as hard as I pushed it vs. Anaheim. The other day vs. Anaheim I made sure I was healthy and made sure I could throw the ball 90-92 mph without being hurt. I know I can do that now. I just need to find that happy medium of building that arm strength toward the start of the season now.
Adam Dunn hit his first home run of the spring, and while it's only March, both Dunn and manager Ozzie Guillen were relieved to see one finally get out of the park. (AP)
Another good sign from Peavy is that unlike his first start vs. the Angels, he threw all of his pitches against San Francisco, including the changeup he avoided on March 4.

I threw about five changeups, five cutters, five breaking balls, and a lot of fastballs, he said. I was aggressive today, I threw balls across the plate but made them hit it. I got a little tiredagainst Buster, I tried to throw a good sinker but got on top of it for a walk in there late. You start to lose a little command as the game wears on.

Dunn goes Bunyan

Dunn clouted his first homer of the spring in the ninth, a mammoth clout that landed about 430 feet from home plate, above the Salty Pavilion sign in right but slightly short of the Charro Lodge roof. But the affable slugger didnt put much stock in getting his first dinger on the board.

Its good to feel like you can actually still do it, Dunn said. Anytime you square one up, its good. It doesnt matter when it is I come into spring training getting ready for April 1, not March 5. The competitor in you wants to do really good, but you cant expect to do really good when youre kinda getting back into it. Every day Im working, just trying to get ready for opening day and a long season.

Dunns manager was a bit relieved, however.

He needs that for his confidence, Guillen said. Hes swinging the bat pretty good. Hell start swinging the bat better. He swung well in Tucson. I dont worry about him but he needs to take the monkey off his back and relax a bit.

The slugger himself was more tickled by Cody Ross in right field. In the fourth inning, Dunn smashed a single so hard that Ross would have stood a good chance of throwing Dunn out at first. Dunn acknowledged as much, yelling at Ross and making a throwing gesture as he crossed first.

Thats Cody, Dunn laughed.When he was with the Florida Marlins, he would act like hes firing to first every time. So I threw my gum at him.

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

White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

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USA TODAY

White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

For the biggest dreamers among the White Sox faithful, here's how this offseason might be playing out.

Rick Hahn said the team will make some additions to the pitching staff. So for those dreamers, it's a rush to the top of the list of free-agent starting pitchers, right? Why not hook one of the biggest fish in the pond?

The top of that list looks like this: Clayton Kershaw (should he choose to opt out of his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and seek a new, more lucrative one), Dallas Keuchel and Patrick Corbin. Some might even have those last two names flipped, with Corbin, coming off an All-Star season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, second only to one of the best to ever throw a baseball.

The White Sox might not be capable of outbidding baseball's biggest spenders, and that's without even mentioning that they might simply not be looking to ink a hurler to a long-term contract. After all, that's what all those talented prospects are for, right? Assembling the rotation of the future? Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are all already part of the 2019 staff. Michael Kopech, when he's done recovering from Tommy John surgery, will join them in 2020. And Dylan Cease was just named MLB Pipeline's minor league pitcher of the year. With all that in mind, any offseason additions to the rotation for 2019 might simply be one-year fill-ins.

But fans often like to dream big, and a lot of them have Corbin on their wish list.

That's not surprising when you look at his numbers. He threw 200 innings last season and struck out 246 batters while finishing with a 3.15 ERA, those last two numbers the best of his six-year big league career. He's 29 years old and a long-term deal would figure to have him in the starting rotation as the White Sox plan to shift from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

Just one problem: There's plenty of belief out there that Corbin's destination this winter has already been booked.

This has been a talking point for a while now, as the Yankees tried to bring Corbin to the Bronx via trade last offseason. They're expected to try to do so again, this time via free agency, as they've got a ton of money to spend. Corbin was quoted in the Nightengale story from April saying: "It would definitely be great to play there. I grew up a Yankee fan."

Sorry to burst your bubbles, White Sox fans. But don't blame me. Blame the Yankees, which seems to be becoming a frequent refrain. If Didi Gregorius' elbow injury means Manny Machado ends up in the Bronx this winter, too, White Sox fans might drop the Cubs as Public Enemy No. 1.

The White Sox have enough hurdles to clear in any pursuit of one of the game's top free agents: They have to compete with baseball's traditional big spenders, and they have to try and beat win-now pitches with a pitch of planned — though not yet arrived — long-term success. It's not like that hasn't been a winning battle before, though, as the rebuilding Cubs got Jon Lester to believe in their future and brought him in to help make their transition from rebuild to championship contention.

But throw in the hurdle of a history between a player and another team, and it makes it an even harder job.

The White Sox will be making some additions this offseason, though they might not be the ones fans are dreaming about. But not landing the winter's biggest fish doesn't mean the organization's biggest, most important dream of building a perennial contender on the South Side is going anywhere.

Top White Sox MiLB moments of 2018: Omar Vizquel's award-winning managerial debut

Top White Sox MiLB moments of 2018: Omar Vizquel's award-winning managerial debut

With the White Sox season over, we're looking back on the top 10 moments of the club's minor league season. We'll unveil one per day for 10 days, showcasing each moment in chronological order.

The moment: Omar Vizquel is named the Carolina League Manager of the Year, Sept. 13.

Vizquel became the third Winston-Salem Dash manager to be named Manager of the Year. The Dash went 84-54, the second-highest win total in franchise history and won the division title in both the first and second half.

Vizquel's season: As soon as Vizquel retired after the 2012 season, he went straight into coaching. First, he was an infield coach for the Angels in 2013. Then, he became the first base coach for the Tigers.

Vizquel remained there until taking the Dash job in the White Sox organization this season. Winston-Salem was an important post because seven of the top 10 and 16 of the top 30 prospects from MLB Pipeline's rankings spent some time there in 2018.

Vizquel was able to guide that talent to a whole bunch of winning. The Dash had the best record in the Carolina League in the regular season.

The playoffs did not go so well. The Dash got swept by the eventual league champion Buies Creek Astros in the first round.

Still, it was a successful managerial debut for Vizquel and the White Sox got to take advantage of his experience with a number of top prospects playing under him.

He may not manage the White Sox any time soon, but Vizquel's ties to the organization (two years playing with the team and now coaching in the organization) make him a possible candidate at some point in his managerial career.