Ballantini: 'Peavywatch' kicks up a notch

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Ballantini: 'Peavywatch' kicks up a notch

Friday, March 4, 2011
11:00 a.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com
TEMPE Peavywatch has taken to the streets here on Friday, as rehabilitating Chicago White Sox fireballer Jake Peavy makes his first start of the season on the road vs. the Los Angeles Angels.

On Thursday, manager Ozzie Guillen kept the pressure low on his potential ace, while still tabbing Peavys outing as an important a moment as youll find in spring training.

Im not going to say tomorrow can be the biggest day of camp for us, because the only thing I expect is Peavy comes out of the game healthy, Guillen said. I dont care how he throws. Gauging his health gives us the opportunity to see what we can do, gives us the idea of how healthy he is. Right now, his health report is great. I dont want to put a lot of heat on Peavy but hopefully well see and itll be a good game for us.

Peavy insisted after his last heavy bullpen session on Tuesday that he didnt just feel strong for someone rehabbing from a unique, detached latissimus dorsi muscle injury, but that he doesnt feel like hes coming off of major shoulder surgery at all.

If we didnt talk about it all the time, I wouldnt feel like Im coming off of an injury, he said. I feel normal, just like I would any other spring training The injury monitoring is the biggest thing we are doing different than I ever have before.

Thursdays starter, John Danks, is just one of four rotation members who are eager to see Peavy back and healthywhether or not he surrenders the first hit by a White Sox starter this spring.

The no-hits thing is for fun, were all having a good time with it, but the most important thing is a healthy Jake, Danks said. For him to go out there and feel good, the results dont even have to be there. We just need him to feel good and healthy and come back as soon as possible, for sure. A healthy Jake, that makes a huge difference in our rotation.

Guillen echoed his laid-back leftys sentiments, but stopped short of calling his rotation the one to beat in the American League.

We have a great rotationon paper, Guillen said. Thats a plus, but its what you do between the lines, not on paper Today all I want is to see Jake Peavy walk off the field healthy. Results? The results will be better later, I guarantee you that.

Laid-Back Lefty, Redeux

Danks is as popular a figure as youll find in the clubhouse, part of the so-called Redneck Row that made a huge offseason addition in picking up the unique stylings of slugger Adam Dunn. But among the pitchers, Danks is the perfect foil.

Take yesterdays startduring his in-game interview in the clubhouse after he left the game, Danks was chided by a friendly expletive from Edwin Jackson after Danks joked that he was disappointed in his start because Im tied for the team lead in walks with Edwin Jackson. Just a few minutes later, Mark Buehrle gave Danks noise for his wild effort, pointing out that his own offseason pitching regimen has kept him sharp: Thats something you oughta be doing, Danks.

Even his own, younger brother in White Sox camp Jordan purportedly doesnt return his phone calls. Yet through it all, Danks is the happiest-go-lucky hurler in a pretty congenial rotation.
Overheard

Hitting coach Greg Walker, feeling the heat after a couple of subpar offensive efforts early, after Thursdays win: Hey, we won one!

Guillen, when asked if he was feeling itchy being the last team of spring training to get a win: I dont worry about that stuff. Ive earned my Masters in managing by now. Ive got a doctorateI dont worry about that stuff.

Outfielder Stefan Gartrell, having a friendly debate over fielding form with animated outfield instructor Daryl Boston in the dugout during Thursdays B-Game: You guys think whatever you wantI catch the ball! Have I ever dropped one?
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 will give Tim Anderson freedom to make mistakes

White Sox will give Tim Anderson freedom to make mistakes

MINNEAPOLIS -- The White Sox have no plans for Tim Anderson to take the same path as the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber.

An hour before the Cubs announced their shocking news Thursday that the World Series hero is headed to Triple-A, White Sox manager Rick Renteria said he thought Anderson’s struggles could be addressed in the majors.

Playing in his first full season, Anderson has had an up and down campaign. He leads the majors with 16 errors committed and has struggled at the plate, hitting .256/.284/.374 with six home runs and 19 RBIs in 265 plate appearances. The roller coaster ride has led to some aggravation for Anderson, who slammed his batting helmet in frustration during Wednesday’s loss. Anderson said the helmet slam was the topic of a postgame conversation he had with Renteria on Wednesday.

“I feel like this year has been the toughest year I’ve dealt with since I’ve started playing baseball,” Anderson said. “I have to keep playing, lock in and control it.

“(Slamming the helmet) doesn’t make you feel better. It’s just a little frustration. You get mad at times, but you just try to control it and keep playing.”

Anderson, who turns 24 on Friday, has had a lot to manage in 2017.

It’s his first full season in the majors. He signed a contract extension in March. Since May he’s been dealing with the loss of his close friend, who was shot to death. Throw in the on-field struggles and Renteria realizes there’s a lot with which Anderson had to deal.

“You just make the sure the perspective they’re having at any particular moment is the correct perspective,” Renteria said. “You try to make sure that the underlying frustrations he might be having, that he’s able to separate it.

“You have ups and down, they’re not always going to be in the best place mentally at times. But for the most part you address it, you talk about it because you understand it, you’ve lived all those things and you just try to give him a little insight and keep it going in the right direction.”

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Anderson made a pair of miscues in a costly third-inning Twins rally on Wednesday night.

But Renteria expressed his confidence in the second-year player, calling him one of the premier shortstops in the league.

The White Sox manager has seen Anderson make the necessary corrections after infield work with bench coach Joe McEwing. The effort and preparation have been there. Renteria just wants to make sure his player can compartmentalize and stay focused. He realizes there’s going to be mistakes from time to time and wants to make sure Anderson is handling them well.

“To say he’s not going to continue to make mistakes every now and then, yeah that’s going to happen,” Renteria said. “It’s there for everybody to see. That’s why everybody takes notice and that’s natural. I think the one thing we have to do as a staff and players also is step back and stay away from the fray of that attention and stay focused on what you have to do. Minimize how all the noise affects you and continue to play the game.”

Renteria remembers his own struggles as a young player and knows how much more scrutiny Anderson faces. Every game is televised and highlights are streamed on the internet. Any little gaffe can be magnified. Anderson admits that at times he’s dealt with frustration he’s never before experienced and it’s caught up to him. Now he just needs to learn how to cope with the stress a little better.

“Nobody wants to go through tough times and struggle,” Anderson said. “Slamming helmets is not the right way to go about it because you could get injured, so try to handle it in a better way.

“It’s been tough times and a lot of frustration, but I try not to let it get to me, but sometimes it does. I try to balance it out and keep going.

“I’m just trying to manage it, balance it out and separate it from each other.”

Jose Berrios gave the Twins exactly what the White Sox could use most right now

Jose Berrios gave the Twins exactly what the White Sox could use most right now

MINNEAPOLIS — Jose Berrios gave the Minnesota Twins exactly what the White Sox could use most right now on Wednesday night: a deep, dominant outing.

The young Twins pitcher overcame a slow start to deliver eight sharp innings as the struggling White Sox fell 4-2 in front of 33,316 at Target Field. Starter David Holmberg lasted only 3 1/3 innings for the White Sox, losers of three straight. It was the 23rd time in 28 games a White Sox starter has failed to deliver a quality start.

“These guys are trying to give us length,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It just hasn’t happened. I get it. I don’t anticipate that’s what’s going to continue to happen as we move forward. I don’t think anybody could sustain over a long haul using your starters for three or four innings. It’s impossible. You would wear out your arms in the pen. Today we were fortunate in that we just used two guys for quite a few innings and outs. … They did a very nice job. That type of work is unsustainable.”  

There are many reasons why the White Sox rotation has struggled through the first 70 games of the season. Injuries to four starters is the most significant factor, the biggest being to Carlos Rodon. The White Sox were hopeful their third-year starter would step into the rotation and deliver 33 starts and 200 innings. But Rodon is only now nearing a potential return to the majors and his first start of the season after he went on the disabled list in March with bursitis in his left shoulder. James Shields, Miguel Gonzalez and Dylan Covey, who originally replaced Rodon, have also been placed on the DL.

While replacements Mike Pelfrey and Holmberg have pitched well enough, neither starter has gone deep into games. The pair is averaging 5 1/3 innings in 16 starts with two six-inning performances by Pelfrey marking the longest efforts to date.

Combine those figures with the inconsistent performances of Derek Holland and Jose Quintana and you have a White Sox bullpen working overtime.

Holmberg limited the Twins to a run through the first two innings. But a combination of hard-hit balls — four straight registered at 95 mph or better to start the inning — and shoddy defense helped Minnesota pull ahead for good in the third.

Miguel Sano blasted a game-tying solo shot, Max Kepler singled in a run and Ehire Adrianza’s fielder’s choice brought in another as the Twins made it 4-2. Mixed in was a Tim Anderson error, a liner that Jose Abreu didn’t catch and a bobbled turn of a potential inning-ending double play by Anderson.

Holmberg recorded only 10 outs before he gave way to Gregory Infante and Michael Ynoa, who pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings.

“Feel like I got behind a couple guys, had to make a pitch a few times,” Holmberg said. “Labored through some innings. I would have like to get some quick outs and gone a little deeper into the game.

“Ultimately it’s up to Ricky. He’s going to do what’s best for the team. But that goes hand in hand with performance. We get some quick outs, quicker through the order, that’ll tie in.”

The White Sox scored in the first and third innings against Berrios before he began to find a rhythm. In the first, Avisail Garcia singled in Alen Hanson, who led off the game with a walk, to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Then in the third, Melky Cabrera grounded into a double play to score Adam Engel, who started the inning with a double.

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But that was all the White Sox would get against Berrios, who has allowed 34 hits in 54 innings this season. Berrios retired 14 of 15 hitters after Hanson singled in the third inning. The only man to reach was Garcia on an error in the fourth inning.

Berrios didn’t allow another hit until Omar Narvaez singled to start the eighth inning. He allowed two runs and four hits in eight innings with eight strikeouts and one walk.

It was a performance of which the White Sox are desperately in need. Through 70 games, the team’s rotation has also only had a pitcher go at least seven innings eight times. Jose Quintana was the last to do so on Friday. Before that it was Gonzalez on May 28. Over their last 28 games, White Sox starters are averaging a tick over 4 2/3 innings.  

Renteria is confident the trend will turn. Quintana starts on Thursday and has been good in two of his last three outings. Shields just returned from the DL and Rodon is right around the corner, if he stays on track. But Renteria also knows his bullpen can’t keep this up and hope to remain effective.

“It’s not sustainable,” Renteria said. “It just isn’t.”