Buehrle's struggles continue in loss to Cubs

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Buehrle's struggles continue in loss to Cubs

Friday, March 11, 2011
Posted: 4:47 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. Mark Buehrle suffered through a second straight subpar start, this time at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, as the Chicago White Sox fell 4-3 at Camelback Ranch on Friday afternoon.

Buehrle was hammered for three runs (two earned) and six hits in just three innings of work, burning through 63 pitches and raising his ERA to 7.88. The outing included uncharacteristic wildness (two walks), a rare error by the two-time Gold Glover, and a gopher ball served up to Carlos Pena, his fist round-tripper of the spring.

I was supposed to be building up innings, but my innings are going downhill instead of going uphill, Buehrle said. I was a little more wild than you want to be but its spring training and Im getting pitches in and building stuff up.

This was the first time I saw him a little upset after the game. Maybe it carried over from the last outing, when he was hit pretty well, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. I dont remember Buehrle having too many good springs.

A three-run rally by the White Sox fell short, although the South Siders did notch three late runs, one on a Stefan Gartrell double to deep left-center, two on a 420-foot blast by the following batter, Lastings Milledge.

Jeffrey Marquez, Will Ohman and Jesse Crain relieved Buehrle and had almost perfect results, Marquez offering up one hit and striking out three and Crain allowing just one runner on a hit batsman. Ohman retired the Cubs 1-2-3 and has had a glistening spring, with four innings of perfect pitching.

There are a few people who have picked it up, Guillen said. Now that Dayan Viciedo is not on the map, Milledge has played pretty well. Alejandro De Aza and Lilly Brent Lillibridge also have had good at-bats.

I said a couple of days ago that nobody has stepped up and I didnt see anything special. Now the players got the message and are swinging the bat better You dont need to go 4-for-4 to make this ballclub, you need to play the game well, and I will pick the right guy.

But the story of the gameeven this relatively meaningless one, smack dab in the middle of spring trainingwas Buehrles rough start digging another early hole for the White Sox.

Im more frustrated than I should be for a spring training start, Buehrle said. Being competitive, I dont like getting hit around. Im not overpowering; Im not going to throw the ball by guys, so its like I make a couple of good pitches, and they get hits, and then I miss a spot, and they hit the ball hard. Its frustrating that when Im hitting my spots, theyre putting the ball in play and hitting holes.

I just worry about Mark on April 1, Guillen said. Besides that, the only thing I can wait for is him to be healthy, get out of spring training and be ready for the season.

The White Sox didnt do much to back Buehrle, mustering just two hits (and striking out seven times) in the first six innings off of Cubs starter Ryan Dempster and reliever Sean Marshall.

In the ninth, White Sox reliever Anthony Carter was touched for back-to-back doubles, pushing across the North Siders final run.

10 vs. 10,000

Making his rough effort all the more annoying to Buehrle is that he did it in front of the White Sox biggest game of the season.

Yeah, you get a little more adrenaline going playing in front of 10,000 fans instead of 10 gets you going a little bit more, Buehrle said. It is a spring training game and we were joking around coming into it that its too early in the spring to have a pressure situation, but its good to play in front of a big crowd so it feels more like the regular season.

First: Ozzie on Quade

When asked whether hed have any advice for his new managing counterpart, Mike Quade, Guillen felt it wasnt quite his place to advisethen offered plenty anyhow.

Its hard to predict what will happen in Chicago, Guillen said. Coaching in Chicago before, its different to go through it as a coach than it is as a manager. I know hes not going to lose his hair, thats for sure. I guarantee that, he wont lose his hair. And hes not going to get gray.

I always say Chicago, sometimes Chicago people are like the weather. Sometimes theyre nice, sometimes theyre not. One day, theyre beautiful, the next day they hate you. You have to live with that. Fans in Chicago are pretty tough; media in Chicago is pretty tough; radio is pretty tough. You have a couple of good games, they love you. All of a sudden you lose a game, and they hate you. You have to be prepared and have very thick skin to handle it, take one day at a time and hope for the best. But anybody who coaches or manages in Chicago know they are on the hot seat every day. No matter what you do, you will have more negative than positive. You have to be prepared for that.

Guillen doesnt know Quade too well, but has heard enough to give a ringing endorsement.

This man is a great baseball man, Guillen said. I kind of like that, because a lot of people say he doesnt have a name and stuff. Hopefully he puts that team in a position to win and puts them in a good spot. This guy has been in baseball so long; I know hes happy to have the job. I hope the players play well for him and hopefully he keeps the job. The players are the ones who fire the coaching staff. Its not the general manager, its the playershopefully the players play well for him.

Second: Speechless Ozzie?

Guillen showed writers a letter from Dallas Green that was sitting on his desk postgame, thanking him for his role in Mondays fundraising game in Tucson. The ebullient manager recounted catching the ceremonial first pitch from the longtime executive, whose granddaughter, Christina Taylor-Green, was killed by a gunman in a mass shooting in January. Simply recounting the story of talking with Green before the game was giving the confident manager goose bumps.

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

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — If Carlos Rodon starts on the disabled list as expected, the White Sox won't turn to any of their vaunted top prospects in the interim.

The news on Rodon has been encouraging so far as no structural damage has been discovered. Still, the White Sox won't clear Rodon until after he receives a second opinion on Monday. While the length of Rodon's absence won't be determined for several days, the White Sox are certain of one route they won't take — they don't want to disrupt the development of their young starting pitchers. Were a DL trip for Rodon necessary, the White Sox would likely select either Saturday's starter, Dylan Covey, or minor leaguer David Holmberg over their top prospects. Covey made a strong impression on Saturday afternoon with 3 2/3 scoreless innings pitched and the White Sox rallied for a 10-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark.

"When you have an opportunity to stabilize action or movement for players it serves them better," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "They get a little more comfortable where they're at. They get comfortable with the staffs they're working with and the information they're gathering, being in a routine. It is a little disruptive going from team to team to team. It happens, but it's not the most conducive (to learning)."

The White Sox are all about development this season. Therefore, they have no plans to call upon Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer or Michael Kopech unless they're A) ready and B) throwing every fifth day in Chicago. Renteria's comments Saturday reiterated Rick Hahn's earlier message, saying the club doesn't want to disrupt the development path.

That puts Covey, a Rule 5 draft pick in December, with a decent opportunity to make the club out of camp. Covey commanded the strike zone on Saturday only hours after Renteria said he hoped to see the young right-hander replicate an Arizona Fall League performance that initially warmed the White Sox up to him.

Aside from a two-out walk in his final inning, Covey was sharp the whole way. He allowed three hits and struck out three.

"My last couple of outings I was definitely feeling the stress," Covey said. "I was kind of pitching a little passive, pitching to not make a mistake instead of just going right after guys. So today and yesterday I just thought I'm just going to throw every pitch with conviction and see what happens. I got a lot of weak contact today and some swings and misses, so I felt good."

Covey threw 44 pitches, 27 for strikes. He potentially could stay in Arizona on Thursday and make an additional minor league start to build arm strength, which would get him to roughly 60 pitches before the regular seasons started.

The White Sox don't officially need a fifth starter until April 9 and they're off the following day. That break could allow the White Sox to start Covey as part of a bullpen day. Covey said he recently changed his mindset after lackluster results in relief this spring. The right-hander has a 6.94 ERA this spring in 11 2/3 innings.

"Obviously my last two outings out of the pen I wasn't getting crushed, but I just wasn't commanding the ball or commanding the count as much as I would like to be," Covey said. "The mistakes get hit a little harder when you're falling behind in the count. Today I wanted to have the mindset of attacking hitters, throwing everything down in the zone and going right after them, and it worked out."

The White Sox blasted six home runs in the contest, including a majestic, go-ahead grand slam by first baseman Danny Hayes in the top of the ninth inning. Hayes is hitting .351/.400/.595 with two homers and is tied for the team lead with 13 RBIs this spring. Jose Abreu, Nick Delmonico, Cody Asche, Everth Cabrera and Jacob May also homered for the White Sox. 

White Sox: Carlos Rodon feels reassured after clean MRI

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USA TODAY

White Sox: Carlos Rodon feels reassured after clean MRI

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While he still has a second opinion ahead and is likely to start 2017 on the disabled list, a clean MRI has Carlos Rodon feeling relieved after a bizarre Thursday.

The White Sox pitcher described Saturday the strange experience he’s had the past few days dealing with soreness in his left bicep.

In the span of 48 hours, Rodon -- who will receive a second opinion on Monday -- went from feeling good enough after a midweek bullpen session to request that his first start be moved up to likely landing on the DL. As he prepares to navigate the rehab process, Rodon is more at ease after an MRI on Friday showed no structural damage.

“(Thursday) was a weird day for me,” Rodon said. “I wasn’t very happy with it. I got that checked out, trying to figure it out.

“I feel better. It’s reassuring.”

“(Your arm is) your tool. It’s concerning. But that’s why you go get those things checked out and make sure everything is ok. That’s what we did.”

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Rodon, who went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 165 innings in 2016, has one more checkup before he’s all clear. He travels to Los Angeles on Monday for an appointment with Dr. Neal ElAttrache. General manager Rick Hahn said Friday that a second opinion is “protocol.”

Though he has already been reassured -- the club’s diagnosis was he had no structural issues after a physical exam and then the clean MRI -- Rodon wouldn’t mind more confirmation. The left-hander said he hadn’t experienced the kind of tightness he suddenly felt in his biceps tendon before Thursday. He could lift his arm above his head, but Rodon said his stuff wasn’t the same. After he informed them, the White Sox determined to be cautious.

“It’s pretty tight up there,” Rodon said. “I’ve never really been that tight. I couldn’t really step on some balls I wanted to throw to get that arm going. So, I had to get it checked out. It didn’t feel too good.”

The White Sox already had Rodon on a delayed schedule where he needed to hit every mark to be ready for the regular season. They did so in hopes of helping him avoid the fatigue he experienced last summer and also reaching the 200-inning mark this season. Now it appears Rodon will begin the season on the DL, according to Hahn.

Though he’d like to start the season on schedule, Rodon wants to make sure he’s physically good to go.

“Just trying to be healthy man,” Rodon said. “You don’t want to go the start of the season and be behind the best guys. You are a tick down from the best guys in the world. It’s not fun pitching when you are not feeling too good. I want to be 100 percent when I’m out there. That gives our team the best chance of winning.”