Sunday, March 13, 2011
Posted 5:31 p.m. Updated 6:43 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
GLENDALE, Ariz. Never mind that he faced a lineup of Los Angeles Dodgers N-teamers, John Danks will take a one-hit effort any day of the week.
Danks threw the White Soxs longest outing of the Cactus League season, scattering one hit and three walks over five innings and pacing the White Sox to a 6-1 win at Camelback Ranch on Sunday.
I feel good. I feel like I can throw most of my pitches, Danks said. There were a couple of instances where I got lucky, but for the most part I felt good. I was able to throw the ball in to righties a lot better than I have all camp.
He threw the ball better, manager Ozzie Guillen said. We try to eliminate the walks during spring training. Thats the goal right now. He threw pretty good and is pitching pretty well.
Danks punctuated his good feeling with two Ks and plenty of splintered lumber, dropping his spring ERA to a lean 1.74.
How well I pitched showed with all the broken bats, Danks said, adding that he didnt even see the first barrel that came flying at him to end the first inning. There were like two or three broken bats. All in all, I felt good. Everything is progressing right on track. Thats where I need to be.
Milledge making the team?
Carlos Quentin jumped on Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda early, clocking a first-pitch deep to left for his first homer of the spring. In the fourth, the hot-and-cold White Sox offense lit up L.A., courtesy of a sacrifice fly from Lastings Milledge, chased by a two-run homer from an unlikely source, second baseman Omar Vizquel. The White Sox pushed their advantage to five after Juan Pierre doubled in Brent Morel in the seventh.
Will Ohman found his spring streak of perfection snapped by allowing a run-scoring double to Justin Sellers in the Dodgers half of the inning. In the eighth, a Sellers throwing error was responsible for the final White Sox run of the day, as a failed double-play scored Eduardo Escobar.
The biggest hitters on the day were the Chisox most struggling offensively this spring: Quentin, Paul Konerko, and Morel all entered action hitting less than .200 and were the only Chicago hitters to strike two safeties on the day.
As his hair is growing back (after Mark Buehrle shaved it early in camp in honor of the St. Baldricks childrens cancer-fighting effort), Danks is letting his face grow long, sporting a beard that may not last too much longer.
Moms coming in town on the 24th, so well see what happens then, Danks said. It will be cold in Cleveland Ive got to have a little face coverage for April 1.
Fourth outfielder candidate Milledge continued to state his case for the 25th spot on the roster, playing a flawless center field and going 1-3 with an RBI.
Im happy with the way Milledge is playing right now, Guillen said. Hes playing very good. Catching the ball is very important.
Guillen wasnt worried about Milledge getting picked off of first after leading off the ninth inning with a single.
I want players to create some confidence in spring training to steal bases.
Vote of confidence: Morel
Guillen was pleased to see Morel clock a couple hits (raising his OPS on the spring to .566) and make several sweet plays at third.
Hes fine, he said. As a kid, you are going to be kind of anxious. I wont say he was panicking, but he tried to overdo stuff to impress people. We talked to him about backing up, make sure you are yourself. He swung the bat better today.
Vote of confidence: Flowers
Guillen sees a world of difference in catcher Tyler Flowers this spring compared to prior camps.
Out of everyone, Flowers is the one Im very happy about, Guillen said. That kid came to spring training this year as a different guy. He swings the bat better and more comfortably. Behind the plate, hes outstanding."
Its safe to say that if the White Sox knew theyd see this sort of change in the 25-year-old slugger, hed be breaking camp with the big club instead of seeing his ticket again punched back to Charlotte.
Im pretty excited and happy for this kid, from one spring training to another, Guillen said. Ive talked to everybody about it. Hopefully, no matter where he goes, hell keep up playing this way so people can count on him for the future.
The White Sox won their B-Game against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday morning in come-from-behind fashion, 11-8. The game, which stretched more than three hours, was studied closely by the entire White Sox coaching staff: We told players, B-Games count, because were watching, Guillen emphasized. (That he mimed falling asleep during the game was merely for comedic effect.)
On the bump, Cleveland roughed up just two of the White Sox hurlers, Kyle Cofield (two innings, six hits, six runs, five earned runs, and a long triple-home run-home run in back-to-back-to-back fashion) and Miguel Socolovich (one inning, three hits, two earned runs).
Brandon Hynick started the game and acquitted himself well, pitching around three walks in two innings of work. Shane Lindsay stayed hot, throwing two innings with a walk and two strikeouts (pushing his total spring scoreless streak to five innings). Nate Jones finished off the Wahoos, twirling two scoreless innings and allowing a hit and a walk against two strikeouts).
At bat, two likely Charlotte Knights stars let a power surge for the Chisox. Stefan Gartrell had two homers, five RBI, and three runs scored on the day, reaching base three times total. Jordan Danks hit a grand slam as part of a 2-5 day and his brother, John, expressed his pleasure during the afternoon game, saying, Yeah, hes having a great camp. Hes progressing and getting closer to where people thought he would be at this point. Im thrilled to death with how hed doing.
Escobar went 2-5 with two doubles then, as last B-Game, subbed into the spring training game proper, vs. the Dodgers. Alejandro De Aza and Brent Lillibridge both went 3-5 in the game.
Scenes from a B-Game
After Gartrell's first home run, a three-run shot, the Wahoos walked off the field (Clevelands hurler hit his pitch count). When I asked him why he had to ruin a perfectly nice game, Gartrell trotted back out to right field, laughing and yelling, Guess we automatically win! Guess the games over!
Jordan Danks had been taunting Gartrell for being too slow to get to a foul fly down the right-field line but when Gartrell made the next one, a nice grab right at the foul wall, Danks changed his tune and shouted, web gem!
White Sox first base coach Harold Baines, looking on from the sidelines and chiding the Wahoos batboy, whose extreme hustle caused his mullet to fly freely in the wind.
Jim Gallagher was chasing hard after a foul pop, but missed the carom after it hit off a light pole in foul territory and headed back to the field: That scared the ( out of me!
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.