Bayne Nearly Untouchable In Winston-Salem Victory; Burgess Raking For Daytona

Bayne Nearly Untouchable In Winston-Salem Victory; Burgess Raking For Daytona

Monday April 11, 2011
Posted: 10:20 p.m.WHITE SOXWinston-Salem A
A late offensive burst lifted Winston-Salem to a 7-5 victory against Potomac Monday night at Pfitzner Stadium. It was the third consecutive win for the Dash, who have allowed nine runs in three games after surrendering seven runs in a season-opening defeat at Kinston.

The Dash scored five runs over the final three innings, offsetting the Nationals four-run outburst in the eighth. Kyle Sheltons solo homer in the seventh got the late charge started. The Dash also scored twice as a result of a Potomac error in the ninth. That was sandwiched around an eighth inning that saw Winston-Salem plate three times on run-scoring hits by Jose Martinez, Ian Gac and Jason Bour.

Martinez remains red hot, collecting a pair of hits. Hes hitting .556 through four games.

Cameron Bayne, a 12-game winner last year at Kannapolis, made his season debut and allowed an unearned run in seven innings before the bullpen stumbled. Bayne struck out three and allowed only one hit in earning the victory. He had a no-hitter for 6 23 innings, retiring 16 consecutive batters at one point, before a Destin Hood double spoiled his evening.
Charlotte AAA
The Knights continued to improve on their best start in franchise history Monday night, topping the Durham Bulls, 4-3, with a late rally to remain undefeated. Charlotte improved to 5-0, marking the first time in franchise history it has gotten off to such a start. The Knights and Columbus, which was rained out on Monday, are the only undefeated International League teams remaining.

Charlotte spotted the Bulls a 3-0, first-inning lead and thats how the score stayed until the seventh when Gookie Dawkins RBI double made it 3-1. Dayan Viciedos two-run homer in the eighth knotted it up at 3-3 before Alejandaro De Azas RBI single in the ninth brought home the game winner.

Brandon Hynick started and settled down after allowing the three first-inning runs, tossing shutout ball over the next five innings. Jhonny Nunez then pitched two scoreless innings before Josh Kinney earned his first win of the season despite walking a pair in a shaky ninth.

In other news, Jake Peavy is scheduled to make a rehab start for the Charlotte on Wednesday when it faces Durham on Wednesday at Knights Stadium.
Kannapolis A
The Intimidators, coming off their riveting doubleheader sweep of Lakewood on Sunday, continued their road trip on Monday with a 5-3 victory at Delmarva.

Kannapolis scored what would prove to be the winning run in the seventh without the benefit of a hit, snapping what had been a 3-3 tie. Trayce Thompson was hit by a pitch, went to third on an errant pickoff throw and then scored on a wild pitch to give the Intimidators the lead. Juan Silverios run-scoring single made it a two-run game an inning later. Thompson also had a homer and drove in a pair.

Jimmy Ballinger picked up the win in relief.
Birmingham AA
The Barons dropped their second consecutive game, this one a 10-3 decision to Montgomery in a game that was stopped in the seventh inning because of weather. Nevin Griffith allowed seven runs in three innings to take the loss.
CUBSDaytona A
Michael Burgess three-run homer capped a four-run seventh inning as Daytona rallied for a 6-5 victory over Clearwater at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The victory, coupled with Ft. Myers loss, leaves the Cubs 5-0 as the lone undefeated team in the Florida State League. Burgess, meanwhile, continues his long-ball tear. He had two homers in the game and has four this season. The outfielder, who was originally a first-round draft pick by the Nationals in 2007, had three hits and five RBIs.

Though Brent Ebinger allowed three runs one earned in four innings he picked up his first victory of the season.
Tennessee AA
The Smokies couldnt handle Mother Nature or Chattanooga on Monday night, dropping a 6-5 decision in a game that was called in the sixth inning because of rain.

Ryan Flaherty, Josh Vitters and Steve Clevenger all had homers for Tennessee but Brooks Raley, making his Double-A debut after winning eight games for Daytona last year, allowed six runs on eight hits over 3 23 innings to take the loss.
Peoria A
The Chiefs opened their first road trip of the season, a 10-game Midwest League jaunt, in disappointing fashion, dropping a 4-2 decision at Burlington.

The Bees took the lead with a two-run third inning without ever getting the ball out of the infield. Greg Rohans error helped fuel the inning and made a loser of Graham Hicks. Rubi Silva was 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to five games while Matt Szczur had two hits and made a spectacular diving eighth-inning catch in center field. The three Chiefs pitchers did not record a strikeout. It marked the first time since April 13, 2006 against Quad Cities that Peoria pitchers didnt strike out a batter. Hicks walked a career-high six.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

What White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is doing to combat second-year struggles

What White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is doing to combat second-year struggles

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tim Anderson got what sounds like a much-needed day off on Saturday night.

Normally soft-spoken, the White Sox shortstop was even quieter than normal during a pregame media session at Kauffman Stadium. Anderson discussed at length his struggles on and off the field after what has been another few trying days. A day after his mentor Todd Frazier was traded, Anderson bunted into a double play on Wednesday after he failed to quickly get out of the box. He also was surprisingly thrown out on an infield chopper in Friday’s loss, though his manager said that was more about Anderson’s route after he made contact. Either way, Anderson is learning how to handle the grind in a difficult season.

“It’s going to be — it was an up and down season,” Anderson said. “I’ve learned a lot. Just from on a maturity level. And just on the field. I still have to keep working and keep having fun with it.

“It’s easy to lose focus when you are not doing good. It’s something I have to keep grinding through. The game won’t stop for nobody. I have to keep playing.”

Anderson had a trying night during Friday’s four-plus hour affair played in 100-degree plus temperatures. Not only did he fail to beat out the infield chopper in the third, he also had a base running mistake to end the sixth inning. Anderson reached on a one-out single with a line drive to left. But he aggressively tried to advance from first to third on Kansas City pitcher Scott Alexander’s errant pickoff throw not noticing the ball rebounded most of the way back toward first base. Anderson got caught in the middle as Eric Hosmer quickly retrieved the ball and started an inning-ending rundown.

That play came three innings after Anderson hit an infield chopper that Alcides Escobar fielded near third base and fired to first just in time. Manager Rick Renteria said Friday he was a little surprised Anderson wasn’t safe but attributed it to his route out of the batter’s box. Renteria said it’s an adjustment the team is working on with Anderson.

“He's got a tendency to run out of the box, almost like he's going to start rounding a banana, and he does that a lot,” Renteria said. "We're trying to clean him up from going out and creating a straight line. I don't if it's because he ends up finishing his swing, he starts to fall out toward that side. But once he got down there he was busting his butt. I thought he got down there once he got himself back on track and line to try to give himself a chance and beat it out. Was I surprised? Yeah, it was close.”

Anderson said there’s been some discussion about his route from the box to first base but not a ton. He also said it’s an involuntary action.

“I don’t feel it,” Anderson said. “It’s something I’m still working on. I don’t feel it coming out of the box.

“When I get down the line a little bit, I kind of feel it. But I don’t feel it directly when I come out of the box. 

“Sometimes my finish could throw me back a little bit and kind of take me to that route.

“It’s just naturally.”

It’s only natural that Anderson is down about Tuesday night’s deal that sent Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees. Frazier has taken Anderson under his wing since the second-year player arrived in the majors last June.

Anderson said Frazier helped him improve his positioning and was a constant presence with their ongoing conversation.

“It’s tough to see people like him go,” Anderson said. “He’s kind of the voice of the locker room. So, it’s kind of, I’m on my own really. Just trying to figure it out myself.” 

Anderson’s had plenty to deal with already this season. The sudden death of his friend, Branden Moss, in May is well documented. He’s also struggled at the plate and in the field as the league adjusts to him. Renteria doesn’t think any one thing is responsible for the toughest year of Anderson’s life as a professional.

“There’s probably multiple factors,” Renteria said. “There are a lot of things going on in his life this year. I think the opponents are adjusting to him a little bit more. I think he’s having to deal with the newness of trying to also make his own adjustments. I’m sure he’s frustrated at times and still trying to kind of put himself in a position where he feels good about how he’s handling his at-bats. The truth is, though that’s the nature of the game of the big leagues.

"We’ve talked about process obviously, but we’ve also talked about, you’re always going to be making adjustments, but you’re also looking at some form of a finality in terms of trying to figure out exactly where you’re at and who you are as a hitter and as a player. And even then, you’re still always evolving, because the game’s always changing; the opponent’s always changing. You’re always having to make adjustments along the way and what will be I believe a very good and long career for Timmy.”

For the Blackhawks defense, change is the new normal

For the Blackhawks defense, change is the new normal

Ulf Samuelsson saw the changes the Blackhawks made this season, his hiring as assistant coach being one of them. Soon he’ll be working with the team’s defensemen, another area that’s had some upheaval.

“I think there’s a lot of opportunity here, some uncertainties and some moving parts that I probably, typically haven’t seen going into a season. So that makes it even more interesting and challenging,” Samuelsson said. “So I’m looking forward to this opportunity to really develop and work with some of the younger players.”

From its immediate coach to its personnel, the Blackhawks’ defense is dealing with plenty of change that will continue when the season begins this fall. The Blackhawks have had some addition (Connor Murphy, Jan Rutta and Jordan Oesterle) but dealing with the subtraction (Niklas Hjalmarsson and Trevor van Riemsdyk) will nevertheless be tough. Coach Joel Quenneville said on Friday that pairings are a work in progress.

“We’re going to see when we’re putting the pairs together, whether we're going to reunite [Duncan Keith] and [Brent Seabrook] or look for some balance,” he said. “There are a lot of options. We’ll look forward to that and sorting it out.”

For Murphy, who was acquired in the deal that sent Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes, there are no set expectations as to where he fits yet.

“With any team you go into training camp proving where you’re going to be. Everyone has to come in and earn certain positions, especially me being a guy who they’re not as familiar with; I have to show what I can do,” Murphy said. “I definitely want to bring a more physical edge to defending at times and be able to skate well, have a good reach, make smart reads and try to help out with whatever’s needed with that.”

As for young players, the opportunity is there. Gustav Forsling admits he wasn’t happy that fellow Swede and role model Hjalmarsson was traded. But Forsling, who looked strong coming out of camp last September, knows he has to take advantage of the situation.

“Of course, I want to take the next step and play more,” he said. “I want to keep progressing my game and keep developing.”

The same goes for Jordan Oesterle, who the Blackhawks signed to a two-year deal on July 1.

“When I wanted to come here the opportunity was tremendous. Just the chance to come in and try to make the top six is there, it’s a battle with a number of us guys but that’s all you ask for in the situation I’m in,” he said. “Just the amount of opportunity that is in front of me just drives me even more. I want to be here and force their hand to keep me here.”

Again, the Blackhawks could re-address defense once they implement Marian Hossa’s long-term injured reserve after the season begins. General manager Stan Bowman said there’s “no exact plan” right now on how they use that space – “that’s probably going to be dictated by where we’re at when we get to October, how the team’s playing, what areas are strong, what areas we want to add to,” he said.

It remains to be seen on that front. Regardless, from coaching to personnel, much has changed with the Blackhawks defense.