Chris Sale is one of 11 pitchers identified by veteran baseball writer Tom Verducci as being at risk because of a sharp increase in workload.
The White Sox starter’s 121-inning increase to 192 last season makes him more vulnerable to injury or a worse performance, or so says the theory. The accuracy of Verducci’s theory has long been debated over the last seven years since he began to publish it annually.
Either way, Sale, who went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA in 30 games (29 starts), said he hasn’t paid any attention.
“I don’t keep that stuff in mind at all,” Sale said on Tuesday. “I don’t think about going out there and blowing my arm up or anything like that. Obviously it’s a long season and you’re throwing a lot. You have to make sure everything is intact and moving right. Pay attention to your body and know what’s going on and how it feels on a given day and know when enough is enough and when you can throw some more.”
White Sox starter Jose Quintana is also listed as being at risk after his innings jumped from 102 in 2011 to 185 last season between Double-A Birmingham and the majors.
Flowers likes extra time
Some players might not be thrilled with the extra week in this year’s spring schedule because of the World Baseball Classic but Tyler Flowers isn’t one of them.
The White Sox catcher arrived in Glendale on Feb. 2 and has already caught three bullpens from newcomer Matt Lindstrom. Flowers joked the extra time to prepare for the season isn’t the only reason he’s excited.
“It’s another meal packet of money, I like that,” Flowers said. “It’s fine. I think it’ll be a good thing, for me at least. I’m sure Paul (Konerko) has a different opinion. For me, I’m so excited for this spring. It’s going to be another week of free at-bats and getting more comfortable and getting better.”
Konerko is one of more than a half-dozen position players who has already arrived at camp. While Tuesday was both the report date and first workout for pitchers and catchers, position players aren’t expected to arrive until Sunday. The others: Keenyn Walker, Dewayne Wise, Gordon Beckham, Jeff Keppinger, Brent Morel, Angel Sanchez and Josh Bell.
Heath joins the team
Deunte Heath surprised White Sox officials as he arrived to camp on time Tuesday. The club expected Heath, whose wife Melisa is expecting, to stay home until the child was born. Heath said he knew he was scheduled for a bullpen Tuesday and left Atlanta to join the team.
While Heath is already here, general manager Rick Hahn said the team hopes catcher Hector Gimenez can arrive by Friday. Gimenez is being held up in Venezuela with visa issues.
Hahn on Cleveland’s moves
Hahn credits the Cleveland Indians’ front office for being aggressive and creative this off-season after the Tribe’s last-minute addition of Michael Bourn on Monday. Bourn signed a four-year, $48-million contract. The Sox GM also thinks the Kansas City Royals have improved too, but he likes how his own team is constructed.
“I think it’s going to be tough for any one team to run away with it in the (American League) Central this year,” Hahn said. “I think it’s going to be a fun summer. … From our standpoint, it doesn’t change the fact that we are going to plan to compete with pitching and although (the Indians) are a stronger offensive club than they were the day before, we still feel like we can measure up with anyone in the division one-through-12 on our staff and that will be key to our success going forward this year.”
Lack of competition?
Robin Ventura agrees it would appear there’s not a lot of competition on the White Sox 25-man roster. But he wouldn’t define how many spots are open during a Tuesday press conference.
“You seem to think so, but again, until you see everybody out there and how it goes, you would like to think it’s just clear cut and nothing will change,” Ventura said. “But you just never know when you come to spring training.”