Buehrle in the dark but anticipating Opening Day start

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Buehrle in the dark but anticipating Opening Day start

Friday, February 25, 2011
Posted 11:23 a.m. Updated 9:21 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. While sure to mention he hasnt been told anything about a potential Opening Day start, Chicago White Sox starter Mark Buehrle early Friday had the conversation hes undoubtedly anticipated since the start of camp.

In fact, the lefty was so prepared to discuss an Opening Day start that he had prepared both a happy statement in reaction to getting his ninth opener assignment and an angry one in case he was bypassed.

The way its lined up, it looks like Ill start Opening Day, Buehrle said. I havent been told a word yet. Its a great honor. Hopefully, I stay healthy down here and get out there and hopefully do better than I did the last time we started in Cleveland. Because that was 1 23 innings, and that was rough.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen loves the drama of naming an Opening Day starter, even when its a no-brainer in picking Buehrle. Still, Guillen could draw the storyline out no longer, caving in and naming Buehrle on just the fourth day of full camp.

You can put it this way: Yeah, hes going to be our starting guy, Guillen said. I dont think GM Kenny Williams is going to say anything It was in the paper this morning and on whatever TV, and Kenny didnt say anything, so thats the guy.

Of course, Buehrles one prior Opening Day game at the Cleveland Indians was also his worst opener ever, giving up seven earned runs to start 2008 but escaping with a no-decision, as the White Sox drove Indians starter C.C. Sabathia out of the box early in an eventual 10-8 loss.

The last time he started Opening Day in Cleveland, oh, it was an ugly one, Guillen said. Ill ask Mark: Please dont do that again.

Hopefully Ill do better than I did the last time we started in Cleveland, Buerhle smiled. Because that was 1 23 innings, and that was rough.

Buehrle is 3-1 lifetime with a 3.39 ERA in eight Opening Day starts. Remove 2008 from his opener resume, and the lefthanders Opening Day ERA falls to 2.08.

The normally droll veteran still does get excited about getting the nod to open the season. If manager Ozzie Guillen hands him the ball for the April Fools opener, it will extend Buehrles franchise record of season kickoffs to nine.

Its like an All-Star appearance, he said. A lot of people say it gets old, but I dont know how it can get old. Its a buildup from the offseason with all the offseason moves you make. Its the one game thats sold out. Its sort of like a playoff game Its going to be a great atmosphere, and Ill try to get us off on the right foot.

Buehrle had humbly admitted at the start of camp that if consulted, hed endorse fellow lefty John Danks as the Opening Day starter, an endorsement he jokingly pulled back when I reminded him.

No, screw him, Buehrle said, before the two started quibbling (like arguing with my wife, in Buerhles eyes). Ill take the Opening Day start.
Teahen Leaves

Infielder-outfielder Mark Teahen was excused from camp to attend to a family issue. The veteran, who struggled throughout 2010, his first season with the White Sox, looked good in his early drills and apparently was overcoming his hot corner fielding and throwing yips of a year ago.

I always say family is first, Guillen said, anticipating Teahens absence as just a couple of days. You take care of your stuff back home and you come back here and youre more than welcome back.

While rookie Brent Morel is the presumed starter at third base, a righted Teahen is invaluable to the White Sox as a superutility player. Any worries the 29-year-old might have had about his role shrinking while away was quickly allayed by Guillen.

I said to him, What are you going to miss, a game? Dont worry about it, Guillen said. Besides that, when youre on the field and thinking about something else, you might bring it on the field, and that wont help you. Make sure you take care of what you need to take care of, come back here, and well help you.

American League Dominates

White Sox assistant director of media relations Pat OConnell not only spurred the inaugural games, but clocked a deep-drive, ground-rule double as part of a 1-4 effort in Chicagos doubleheader sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers interleague office games.

You can read more about the games in Scott Reiferts Inside the White Sox blog, but one notable oddity (Reifert drew it out first, not me) was public relations coordinator Marty Maloneys two bases-loaded, ground outs to the pitcher in the same inning.

Its pretty clear that for such a unique achievement, it was Maloney and not winning pitchers Jeff Szynal and Stacy Tsihlopoulos, taking MVP honors.

Better luck next year, Dodgers.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

Jose Quintana turns in stellar outing as White Sox crush Twins in series finale

Jose Quintana turns in stellar outing as White Sox crush Twins in series finale

MINNEAPOLIS -- Guess who’s back?

Jose Quintana turned in the kind of game on Thursday afternoon that reminds you why he has been one of baseball’s top pitchers the past few seasons. Working with a swing-and-miss curveball and another shocking barrel of run support, Quintana waited out a near five-hour delay to produce a stellar outing. Quintana struck out nine batters in 6 2/3 scoreless innings as the White Sox avoided a sweep with a 9-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins in front of 27,684 at Target Field. Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier and Matt Davidson all homered for the White Sox, who finished with 18 hits and a 3-3 mark on their road trip.

After making several baby steps in his past few starts, Quintana ran wild in the series finale against a Twins team that he has always struggled against. While he worked deliberately, Quintana never got into trouble facing a team against whom he was 6-8 with a 4.28 ERA in his career.

The left-hander used a nasty, biting curveball along with sharp fastball command to keep Minnesota hitters off balance. Quintana struck one batter in each of the first five innings before he picked up steam. He struck out two batters each in the sixth and seventh innings and is averaging a career best 8.97 strikeouts per nine innings this season.

He struck out Miguel Sano three times in three trips and never allowed a man past second base in a 113-pitch effort. Quintana allowed five hits and walked none.

Quintana has a 2.25 ERA in his last four starts as he’s allowed 19 hits and six earned runs in 24 innings. He has walked eight and struck out 24.

[MORE: White Sox will give Tim Anderson freedom to make mistakes

The White Sox offense made it all much easier for Quintana for a second straight start. Six days after they produced an early four-spot for Quintana against Toronto, the White Sox scored five times and knocked Minnesota starter Nik Turley out in the first inning.

Showing no signs of malaise after a 290-minute rain delay, Abreu and Frazier each blasted two-run homers off Turley to put the White Sox up 4-0. With two outs and Turley gone, Adam Engel singled off reliever Buddy Boshers to make it 5-0 in the first.

The White Sox continued to add on for Quintana as Kevan Smith and Engel each singled in runs in the third to give the 2016 All-Star pitcher a seven-run cushion. Engel finished with four hits and Smith tied a career high with three.

Davidson increased the lead to 8-0 in the fifth inning with a 427-foot blast off Craig Breslow, his 17th homer. Davidson also singled, doubled and walked. The White Sox scored once more in the seventh when Tim Anderson (two hits) doubled in a run off Breslow.

After they produced 22 runs of support for Quintana in his first 13 starts this season, the White Sox have scored 20 in his last two.

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.”