SoxFest notes: Konerko supports MLB's new HGH testing

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SoxFest notes: Konerko supports MLB's new HGH testing

Paul Konerko said hes in favor of Major League Baseballs new policy, in which players will be tested for HGH. Earlier this month, MLB implemented a policy which requires players to available for in-season testing after the plan was approved by the players union.

MLB officials have indicated players will be randomly selected for HGH tests at least once every season, but not during the postseason, according to media reports.

This is just about the right progression, Konerko said at SoxFest on Friday. As soon as there was testing there was going to be testing as soon as the science was up to doing it. This should be the way to test because now that the science is there, you can test guys from all angles and test for everything you want to test for.

The only issue Konerko can foresee is how some players react to blood tests. Players previously submitted blood tests in spring training last season.

I dont have a problem having blood drawn, Konerko said. I can see that might be the issue for some guys. Some guys, if they get blood drawn in the afternoon, they are done for the day. They are a mess. As for me I have never had a problem giving blood. The issue about how it is done will have to be figured out.

-- Dan Hayes

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Peavy: Detroit's the team to beat

White Sox starter Jake Peavy is confident in his team's chances of unseating Detroit atop the AL Central, but he's not going to make any bombastic statements about his squad in relation to the Tigers.

"I'm not going to say the White Sox are the team to beat because we're not," Peavy said. "The Tigers are the team to beat. They're the AL Central champions, they're the American League champions. They're the team to beat."

Detroit will return the core of its 2012 team along with catcher Victor Martinez, who missed all of last season following an ACL injury in the offseason. Until Peavy's White Sox are able to unseat the Tigers, the right-hander feels his team has plenty to prove.

"Are we sitting here that we're conceding? Absolutely not," Peavy said. "This team won't concede anything until we're mathematically eliminated. And we all believe right now that that's not going to happen. We know that we have enough talent, as we did last year, to play with the Detroit Tigers, who were the American League champions. There's not a player in this room who was on this team last year who doesn't believe we can beat that team."

- JJ Stankevitz

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No WBC for Santiago

Pitcher Hector Santiago confirmed Sunday he wont to play in the World Baseball Classic in March. Santiago (Puerto Rico) was one of five White Sox players listed on provisional WBC rosters. Jesse Crain (Canada) and Alex Rios (Puerto Rico) are expected to participate as are minor-leaguers Andre Rienzo (Brazil) and Andy Gonzales (Puerto Rico).

-- Dan Hayes

Mitchell primed to turn the corner?

Jared Mitchell hit .237.358.420 between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte last season, which represented a step in the right direction for the team's 2009 first-round draft pick. His trikeout total was still high -- 179 in 549 plate appearances -- but White Sox assistant GM Buddy Bell feels the 24-year-old is starting to put everything together.

"I saw a guy who's starting to look like a baseball player," Bell, who's raved about Mitchell since seeing him play in the Instructional League last fall, said. "(He's) a guy who looks like a baseball player that's athletic as opposed to an athlete trying to play baseball."

-- JJ Stankevitz

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Reed working to avoid another slow finish

Addison Reed's offseason has consisted of plenty of cardio in an effort to avoid another late-season letdown.

As a rookie, Reed allowed 13 hits, two walks and eight runs in nine September innings. The right-hander said he didn't feel tired -- his fastball velocity in September was consistent with the rest of his season -- but the issue may have bee a little more latent.

"It might have been a combination of the hitters seeing me a couple times around," Reed said. " Physically, I didn't feel tired, but that didn't mean I didn't get tired."

-- JJ Stankevitz

More from SoxFest: Flowers' first appearance goes well

Oh those fans

Pitcher John Danks elicited plenty of laughs in a Sunday afternoon seminar when he was asked about his habits when he watches University of Texas sporting events.

I become one of the fans I hate, Danks said.

-- Dan Hayes

Preview: White Sox start series at Twins tonight on CSN

Preview: White Sox start series at Twins tonight on CSN

 

The White Sox take on the Twins on Friday, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (8-8, 2.97 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (4-8, 5.40 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.

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Back with White Sox, Chris Sale ready to move on from 'fiasco'

Back with White Sox, Chris Sale ready to move on from 'fiasco'

Even though he felt isolated and experienced a five-day stretch he called “a fiasco,” Chris Sale was right where he wants to be Thursday, surrounded by White Sox teammates.

Shortly after a 3-1 loss to the Cubs, the pitcher echoed the sentiments of White Sox management in a 10-minute media session when he suggested he’d like to move on from a five-game suspension for insubordination and destruction of team property.

With the trade deadline only four days away, Sale wants to stay with the White Sox and hopes the current roster gets an opportunity to win. He also thought an incident in which he destroyed promotional throwback jerseys had been blown out of proportion.

While he didn’t apologize for his actions, the left-hander said he regretted letting down his teammates and fans who attended Saturday’s game. Sale, whose record fell to 14-4 after he allowed two runs in six innings, said he plans to address White Sox players and coaches soon and intends to let them know his level of appreciation.

“I want to let them know where my head is at, where my heart is at,” Sale said. “And let them know how much I appreciate them.

“I felt like I was out on an island, really. 7 o’clock rolls around and I usually know what’s going on. Sitting at the house sucks.

“I regret not being there for my guys. I’m a pitcher. I’m called upon every fifth day and when I can’t go out there for my guys and the fans, it gets to me.”

Similar to March when he pitched a day after ripping executive vice president Kenny Williams, Sale said his focus is back on the field. He declined to answer what he didn’t like about the throwback jerseys, calling it “counterproductive.” Even though the White Sox are on the outside looking in, Sale is hopeful he and his teammates can rally and make a strong postseason push over the final 60 games.

“I think everyone is making just a little bit bigger deal of this than it really is,” Sale said. “We are here to win games and from this point forward, I think that’s our main focus. We are going to come in every day and do our jobs and try to win ballgames, that’s at the forefront.

“I don’t like people filling in for me. I love what I do. I love pitching. I love competing. I love the guys that I’m surrounded by.”

“When I let them down, it hurts me more than it hurts them.”

Three days after he suggested manager Robin Ventura didn’t properly support him, Sale declined to discuss their future relationship and again diverted the conversation back to the field. When asked what was the biggest lesson he took from the ordeal, Sale said he wasn’t quite sure.

“I know you guys are trying to get in there and you guys have to write stories and stuff,” Sale said. “I understand. But they said their side. I said my side. I’m ready to talk about baseball and playing baseball and getting back to winning and getting the Chicago White Sox into the postseason. That’s my goal. That’s my focus. Anything else, that’s for you guys.”

While he admits that his competitive side may have fed into Saturday’s events, he also knows abandoning it would hurt him on the field. Sale said he was inundated by texts and calls from teammates past and present during his absence. That only strengthened his desire to win with the current group, Sale said.

“There’s no doubt my emotions have got me to this point,” he said. “I wouldn’t be the same person without them but stuff happens. Move on. We have an unbelievable group of guys in that clubhouse. We’ll just push forward.

“I’m here to win. I love exactly where I’m at. I have an unbelievable group of guys in that clubhouse. We’re pulling for each other, they are pulling for me and vice versa, through and through. I’d like to stay with this group of guys and make a push for the playoffs because I love those guys.”

White Sox find normalcy in Chris Sale's return from suspension

White Sox find normalcy in Chris Sale's return from suspension

The word of the day Thursday around the cramped confines of the visitor’s clubhouse at Wrigley Field was normal, as in getting things back to it with ace left-hander Chris Sale taking the mound after serving a five-game suspension for “insubordination and destruction of team property.”

A completely abnormal story — Sale cut up the 1976 throwback uniforms he didn’t want to wear last Saturday and was sent home for his actions — gave way to a relatively routine evening. Sale allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts over six innings, though the White Sox lineup was shut down by John Lackey and the Cubs’ new three-headed bullpen monster in a 3-1 Crosstown loss.

“Things were pretty normal,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Guys got here, not a different clubhouse or anything like that. I think everything went fairly normal as far as him going out there and pitching and it was about baseball.”

First baseman Jose Abreu said things felt like an ordinary Sale start, even though the American League’s All-Star starting pitcher hadn’t pitched since July 18. He didn’t have his best stuff and wasn’t his sharpest, either — those three walks were his highest total in over two months — as he wasn’t able to consistently paint the corners with his explosive arsenal of pitches.

But, as usual, Sale worked quickly and kept his team in the game against one of baseball’s best offenses.

“He pitched a very good game,” Abreu said through a translator.

The Cuban first baseman added: “I think that we already moved on.”

Catcher Dioner Navarro agreed.

“He gave us a great outing, we just weren’t able to score any runs for him,” Navarro said.

Before the game, third baseman Todd Frazier said he and his teammates rallied around Sale and hoped a solid outing from the 27-year-old left-hander would put the bizarre incident squarely in the rearview mirror. 

“Some mistakes are bigger than others but you gotta understand that we’re all not perfect,” Frazier said. “Things do happen in this game, different things that you think (you’ve) never seen before, and then it happens. It’s just one of those things, hopefully it goes away quick with the way he pitches."

Sale said he didn’t discuss the incident or his suspension with his teammates before the game to keep things as normal as possible. After he showed up a little after 4:40 p.m., he received hugs and handshakes from teammates welcoming him back following his five-day exile.

But after that, Navarro said things were business as usual. He and Sale went through the gameplan and got ready to face the Cubs' powerful lineup instead of dwelling on what happened last Saturday. Eventually, Sale will talk to his coaches and teammates on a personal level to “let them know where my head is at, where my heart is at, and let them know how much I appreciate them.”

With the White Sox playoff hopes flickering as the trade deadline approaches, though, Sale’s teammates are eager to keep the focus on trying to dig themselves out of a substantial, two-games-under-.500 hole.

“Everything’s in the past,” Navarro said. “He did a great job. Quality start, nothing else you can ask.”