Ballantini: White Sox eager to play

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Ballantini: White Sox eager to play

Monday, February 28, 2011
2:10 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. Reflective of the eagerness the Chicago White Sox have had for getting started on the 2011 season, Mondays Cactus League opener vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers couldnt come fast enough.

Slugger Adam Dunn echoed the sentiments of the entire clubhouse when he said, with a bit of a sigh, Im just happy to get the games going.

Dunn admitted that he and the other White Sox hitters are still behind pitchers, who reported to camp earlier than most position players. So despite bringing a career seven-of-11 mark against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw (including three homers, seven RBI and a 2.273 OPS), Dunn warned against setting expectations too high: I wouldnt expect too much.

Dunn said he would be working on something I havent felt so far in batting practice yet, and even the notion that playing with pride might not kick in for the opener: You can pretty much throw pride out the window today.

This early in spring training is where pitchers will have their fun, Dunn said, recounting the fact that he derogatorily refers to hurlers as kickers (as in non-player specialists). Theyve been here longer than us. Theyre ahead of us.

Juan Pierre was Kershaws teammate for two seasons in Los Angeles and has never faced the wicked lefty. But the speedster takes a different stance on hitters vs. pitchers: They always have the advantage. You never know what theyre throwing.

Pierre is the kind of player who starts counting down toward a day like today as soon as the last out of the previous season is made. And he cant help but be eager to get going.

The games dont count, but your competitive nature kicks in, he said. You dont want to mess up. You cant simulate game action in drills, so for now, its just see the ball, hit the ball.

Lucas Harrell will relieve todays White Sox starter, Gavin Floyd, and hes excited to get game play underway as well.

Im excited for the games to start and show what I can do, Harrell said. You cant put pressure on yourself, but just let things happen.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

Preview: White Sox continue series with Tigers on CSN

Preview: White Sox continue series with Tigers on CSN

The White Sox continue their road series with the Tigers on Tuesday night in the Motor City, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage from Detroit starts at 6 p.m. Then be sure to stick around following the final out for reaction and analysis on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today's starting pitching matchup: Anthony Ranaudo (0-1, 7.88 ERA) vs. Daniel Norris (2-2, 3.63 ERA)

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

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— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with White Sox Pulse.

Isaiah Wright, young fan with cancer, receives VIP treatment from White Sox

Isaiah Wright, young fan with cancer, receives VIP treatment from White Sox

Berwyn-native and White Sox fan Isaiah Wright entered the world fighting the odds. At just 14 years old, he has undergone multiple organ transplants and more than 50 surgeries because of a rare birth defect.

Isaiah and his family have an appreciation for just how precious life can be and they were able to make the most of a recent visit to the South Side for a White Sox game, where he received VIP treatment and met his favorite players, including a private meeting with Jose Abreu.

Check out the video above.

A Go Fund Me page was also created to help support Isaiah and his family. Click here to make a donation.

Tigers' late homer sends the White Sox to another tough loss

Tigers' late homer sends the White Sox to another tough loss

DETROIT — The White Sox still haven’t figured out how to beat their American League Central foes.

Short of a miracle run over their final 32 games, the White Sox can point to their failures within their division as a primary reason they’ve missed the postseason for eight straight seasons.

The middle of the White Sox order missed out on several key chances on Monday night and kept the Detroit Tigers within striking distance in a 4-3 loss in front 27,201 on Monday night at Comerica Park. Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s two-run homer off Nate Jones in the eighth inning dropped the White Sox to 11-27 against the Tigers, Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals this season. The White Sox dropped to 21-25 in one-run games.

“Usually when you have aspirations to get in the playoffs your No. 1 priority is always taking care of the teams in your division,” catcher Alex Avila said. “That’s the best way to go about it, and we haven’t really done that too well this year.”

Much like their postseason aspirations, the White Sox had been hanging on by a thread through seven innings on Monday.

Starter James Shields stranded seven in six innings, and the combination of Dan Jennings, Tommy Kahnle and Chris Beck kept the White Sox ahead 3-2 through the seventh.

Jones took over in the eighth and issued a leadoff walk to J.D. Martinez. Two batters later, Saltalamacchia ripped a 1-0 fastball out to right to put Detroit ahead for good.

Melky Cabrera’s bid for a game-tying homer in the ninth off Francisco Rodriguez was caught on the track in right-center field.

“Any time you get that reversal right there late in the game it’s always tough,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Nate has been as consistent as anybody. It’s a tough one, especially when you know he has his stuff. You tip your cap to them, really.

“Salty has gotten us a couple times late.

“That was the tough one because you grinded your way through it.”

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It was made even more difficult given the White Sox offense missed out on several key opportunities.

Tyler Saladino drove in all three White Sox runs, delivering a two-run single in the fourth inning and putting them back ahead by a run with a solo homer in the seventh.

But in the first, Jose Abreu struck out and Todd Frazier flew out with two aboard.

Abreu later grounded into a double play in the fifth after the first two men reached and Frazier grounded out. Frazier also struck out with two in scoring position to end the seventh inning after Abreu doubled Cabrera over to third.

The White Sox finished 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.

“It was a game with opportunities we didn’t cash in on,” Ventura said. “(Alex) Wilson came in and got a big double play really changed how that (fifth) inning developed. We did some good things but looking at it like this, that’s what makes it tough.”

Though he pushed the limit in nearly every inning, Shields finished a rough August on a high note. Much like he did when he posted a 1.71 ERA in six starts from June 29-July 26, Shields was most effective when he needed to make the big pitch.

Tigers hitters were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven against Shields. During the six-game stretch, opposing hitters went 0-for-28 against Shields with runners in scoring position.

He struck out six and allowed two earned runs in six innings, putting the White Sox in position for a much-needed win.

“The first couple of innings I was a little erratic, but as the game went on, I got a little more comfortable and just made some pitches when I needed to,” Shields said. “Overall, I felt good out there, and unfortunately we lost the game.”