Danks wild, White Sox slug way to victory

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Danks wild, White Sox slug way to victory

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Posted 5:27 p.m. Updated 6:29 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. A wins a win, and the Chicago White Sox improved to 3-6-1 on the spring with a 9-7 victory Tuesday over the Colorado Rockies, but it was a bit sloppier an outing for John Danks in his second start of the spring, throwing 55 pitches and just more than half for strikes.

More than anything, I just wasnt making my pitches, Danks said. Its good to go out there and throw the pitches I need to throw and whatnot, but walks are an issue. Theres no other way of putting it I feel good, I just need to be able to throw it where I want to now.

He only walked a few people, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen offered in Dankss defense. He threw the ball very well. Im happy where he is.

Guillen also characterized the 31-hit, 17-run affair, with a roll of the eyes and wipe of the brow, as a typical Arizona game.

Bounced from the fourth inning with just one out, Danks struggled with his control all game long, giving up three walks and five hits, including a two-run shot to Ty Wigginton that drove Danks from the game.

Its just part of the process in spring, Danks said. There are four more starts left. Theres time to get it right. Thats going to be my focus.

Chicago tapped out 17 hits against Colorado pitching, amassing eight early in the game against Rockies starter Felipe Paulino. Tyler Flowers and Eduardo Escobar knocked run-scoring singles in the second, while Gordon Beckham and Mark Teahen did the same in the third.

The White Sox picked up a fifth run courtesy of Flowers smoking hot bat, as the catcher upped his average to .625 with a line-smash home run to left.

After Colorado rallied off of aspiring closer Matt Thornton to tie the game at five in the seventh, the White Sox broke the game wide open with five hits in their first six at-bats in the bottom half, punctuated by a game-tying hit from Paul Konerko and a two-run double from Jordan Danks.

Colorado had another rally going in the eighth, but found it stanched in part by a second outfield assist from Dayan Viciedo, this time throwing Ben Paulsen out at the plate in the eighth.

After the game, Guillen offered his strongest endorsement of The Tanks play so far.

He looked good, Guillen said. I dont know if its hes more comfortable out there, or just natural. Hes better than we thought: Making the plays, hitting the cutoff man, having great at-bats Hes making it harder for a lot of people, no doubt.

Its early, too early

Guillen has consistently lamented the long spring schedule ahead of the White Sox, anguishing over the 31 games remaining.

We still have a long way to go, he said. I was checking the schedule this morning and I almost started crying when I saw how many games weve got left laughter. To be honest with you, this is a joke. We got 31 games and we have doubleheaders, B-games, we have day-night doubleheaders.

But its not just bus weariness that is slowing Guillens roll. The long spring means its much too early to make bold decisions on players, even to the extent of cutting players off of the spring roster.

Thats why I say its too early to make big decisions, Guillen said. Guys are swinging the bat well. The people were watching closely are doing good, the Gordons, the Chris Sales, the Sergio Santos, Viciedo, Brent Morel. Mark Teahen is swinging the bat very well Everything is fine, everybody is healthy, thats the most important thing.

Tank talk

Viciedos play was a natural topic postgame, and the long spring was one reason Guillen gives in not going overboard about his right fielders play.

Its too early, Guillen repeated. Viciedos had a pretty good spring training, but you never know. Were glad about how hes played, no doubt about it. Were excited about him. Hopefully this year we finally have got him in one position. Hes only had a couple years in baseball, and we moved him from third base to first base, first base to third base, its not easy. Hes handled it very well. I hope he continues to play like that.

Method to the madness

The tedium of spring is part of the reason Guillen tabbed all the action up until today as vacation for his players. Pacingthe six-month regular season hasnt yet begunis key for Ozzie.

With the big guys core players, I dont worry, Guillen said. They get ready for the games in their own way. Its not easy to put pressure on yourself, like, Oh God, I have to win games. Just pitch and play the games to get ready for the season. Obviously, when you win its nicer. But I dont worry about the core players. I dont even look at those guys. Adam Dunns already got a couple more hits this spring than he had all last year, we checked that his spring statistics out.

Ozzie on Ali

Guillen was still wowed by his teams meeting with Muhammad Ali before todays gamemore so for the discussion it fostered within his team than the audience with the champ.

It was a great experience, not just for me, but for everybody, Guillen said. To me, it was cool, but for the rest of the guys, it was inspirational. I took a lot of feedback from the players. I can learn from them. Brent Lillibridge said something. Lastings Milledge said something I never heard before. We have different opinions, not talking about black or white, were talking about everyones opinion. This was the best meeting Ive had in 30 years in spring training.

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 prospect Lucas Giolito: No-hitter 'special' after early struggles

White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito: No-hitter 'special' after early struggles

Lucas Giolito got the “click” he was looking for on Thursday night and it resulted in a seven-inning no-hitter for Triple-A Charlotte.

Currently the No. 2-rated White Sox prospect, Giolito has struggled so far this season at Charlotte. He’s 2-5 with a 5.44 ERA in nine starts in 46 1/3 innings.

While he’s struck out 43 hitters, Giolito has also walked 25. But it all came together for the tall right-hander on Thursday when he threw an 87-pitch no-no against the Syracuse Chiefs.

“It was special,” Giolito said on a conference call on Friday. “Just the way the year has gone, it didn't start the way I wanted it to, the numbers haven't been great. So it's great to have a no-hitter under my belt, my first professional one. Just take that and work from there. I'm just going to keep working on the things I've been working on the past few weeks and hopefully string a few good ones together.”

Rated the No. 3 overall prospect in the majors before the 2016 season, Giolito’s profile has slipped some because of performance. The top name included from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal, Giolito has struggled with command of his offspeed pitches and fastball at times. Earlier this month, Giolito described his performance as “atrocious,” while remaining optimistic that his fortunes could change just like clicking on a light switch.

Giolito said he felt confident on the mound Thursday and it translated.

“I did a lot better job of keeping the fastball down in the zone to both sides of the plate,” Giolito said. “I was able to get the ball inside to lefties pretty well, maybe got a few jam shots some pop outs here and there and then I had my two-seamer working as well. It was just a pretty solid day as far as throwing the fastball.”

Pleased as he is, Giolito is striving to be better. He pointed at his three walks as an area he’d like to improve upon. But he’s also happy with how it all worked on Thursday.

“There's always still work to do,” Giolito said. “I walked three batters and that is not something I want to be doing. The walk numbers are a little too high for my liking. There's still plenty to work on, but everything felt pretty solid last night. I felt like I repeated my delivery well, I executed more pitches. Especially when I'd fall behind in the count I'd execute quality pitches and you can get yourself out of bad situations doing that.”

The Knights made two roster moves on Friday -- Yoan Moncada was activated off the seven-day disabled list and Ryan Raburn was traded to the Washington Nationals for cash or a player to be named later.

James Shields throws again as White Sox place Dylan Covey on 10-day DL

James Shields throws again as White Sox place Dylan Covey on 10-day DL

Dylan Covey is already the sixth White Sox pitcher to be placed on the 10-day disabled list this season. The club announced Friday that Covey is headed to the DL just as one of the pitchers already there, James Shields, took another step forward in his rehab.

Shields threw his second bullpen in three days on Friday and hopes to begin a minor-league rehab assignment after he throws a three-inning, game-situation-like bullpen on Monday.

The White Sox promoted reliever Juan Minaya to take Covey’s spot on the 25-man roster. They also announced Tyler Danish would be the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader and manager Rick Renteria said Covey’s scheduled start Monday would be filled internally. Reliever David Holmberg could make the start.

“I’m full bore,” Shields said. “Everything is working really well and everything feels good. Ready to rock and roll.

“It’s been pretty tough for me. I’m pretty anxious. I want to be out there and help my team win. But at the end of the day I have to stick to the process. You know the team was really doing good up until this last road trip. Now we need to pick it back up. I’m looking forward to coming back and helping the squad out.”

Covey isn’t surprised he landed on the DL.

He missed much of the 2016 season with a left oblique strain and knew exactly what he was experiencing when he felt the tug on Tuesday. But Covey remembers the early portion of last year’s injury and thinks he’s in better shape now.

“Well, my first thought was, ‘Oh, no. I did it again,’” Covey said. “It’s kind of looking like it might not be nearly as bad as it was last year. So I’m staying optimistic and taking it day by day.”

“I think if I tried to push it another pitch like I did last year, it could have maybe worsened the situation. So I’m glad I was able to hold back a little bit.”

Minaya -- who pitched in 11 games for the 2016 White Sox -- missed roughly five weeks with an abdominal tear. Though he wanted to race back (he struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings this spring), Minaya knew he had to be practical about his rehab. Once healthy, Minaya pitched well at Triple-A Charlotte, where he posted a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 innings.

“I took a little while but we’re going through the process and we have to be patient and do everything they say to get healthy,” Minaya said. “We have to do the right thing to be healthy.”

“I feel very happy with myself because I’m working to get back here and I see the progress and I feel very happy.”

Minaya gives the White Sox nine relievers on their 13-man staff. That amount would make it much easier for the team to fill Covey’s first turn in the rotation with a bullpen game on Monday. A career starter who only began to pitch in relief this season, Holmberg could give the White Sox several innings to start. While Renteria won’t name any candidates for the series opener against the Boston Red Sox, he did suggest it would be an internal candidate.

“We’ll probably end up filling with one of our own guys,” Renteria said.