De Aza, Morel power Sox past Indians

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De Aza, Morel power Sox past Indians

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) As poorly as Ubaldo Jimenez has pitched this spring, even a performance in which he gave up a bunch of hits looked pretty good.Jimenez threw plenty of strikes in five innings for the Cleveland Indians in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.Jimenez allowed two earned runs and seven hits, walking none and striking out three. He said he stayed consistent with his mechanics in his second-to-last start of the spring, lowering his ERA from 7.24 to 6.27."I was able to throw a lot of strikes to get ahead and stay ahead," Jimenez said. "I think it was the first game that I've been able to do that in spring training."Jimenez is trying to bounce back after finishing 4-4 with a 5.10 ERA for the Indians last season following a late trade with the Colorado Rockies. He is expected to be Cleveland's No. 2 starter.Indians manager Manny Acta said Jimenez's secondary pitches were possibly the best he's thrown this spring."It's a big relief for me," Acta said. "I wanted to see some improvement. He looks very relaxed, at times too relaxed. He says he doesn't always pitch well in spring training. He has assured us the velocity will be there. We have to trust him."
Brent Morel and Alejandro De Aza hit their first home runs of the spring for the White Sox, both two-run shots. Paul Konerko added two doubles.Zach Stewart, a candidate for the Chicago bullpen, allowed a run and three hits in 5 1-3 innings."Whatever role or job they decide for me and want me to pursue, that's fine," Stewart said. "My main goal is just getting there (in the majors)."Before the game, the White Sox sent six players to their minor league camp, boosting the chances of infielders Eduardo Escobar or Ray Olmedo winning the final bench spot.Escobar, a switch-hitter, started at shortstop and went 0 for 4. He is batting .421 this spring. Olmedo started at second base, went 2 for 4 and is hitting .450.Escobar is on the 40-man roster while Olmedo is a non-roster invite."I've been working very hard and will continue to do that. I think that being here as long as I have, making the cut, shows the hard work that I've been doing."Escobar made his major league debut Sept. 3 and hit .286 in nine games."You could say that I'm a natural shortstop, but by the same token, the more reps and practices I get at the different positions, the more comfortable I feel," he said. "Also, it gives me the opportunity to highlight what I can do."Olmedo has hit .228 in 198 major league games.NOTES: White Sox closer candidate Jesse Crain (oblique) allowed an unearned run two innings in a minor league game, his first action since March 12. Crain said he's on target to be ready for the regular season. "I believe I'll have at least three more actual games," he said. "By then, I'll get locked in." ... White Sox starter Jake Peavy allowed five runs and 12 hits in seven innings in the minor league game. He struck out seven and walked one. ... The Indians' Michael Brantley went 1 for 2 in his first game after missing a week with a tight right hamstring.

Ranking the five best games Mark Buehrle pitched with the White Sox

Ranking the five best games Mark Buehrle pitched with the White Sox

The White Sox will retire Mark Buehrle's No. 56 prior to June 24's game against the Oakland Athletics, a deserving honor for one of the best pitchers in franchise history. The left-hander compiled a 3.83 ERA and won 161 games during 12 seasons with the White Sox, and perhaps more impressively, he threw over 200 innings every year he was a full-time member of the team's starting rotation. 

So with the White Sox announcing Buehrle's number retirement ceremony for this summer, let's take a look back at the best games the St. Charles, Mo. native pitched with the White Sox. 

1. July 23, 2009: 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 6 K vs. Tampa Bay. Time of game: 2:03

Buehrle's perfect game, complete with Dewayne Wise's legendary catch, sits at the top of mountain of Buehrle's historic achievements with the White Sox. This was a vintage Buehrle game, with him working quickly and getting plenty of weak contact. It just turned out that Tampa Bay couldn't get anyone on base in it.

2. April 18, 2007: 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K vs. Texas. Time of game: 2:03

By game score, this was actually the best game Buehrle pitched in his career thanks to the two more strikeouts he had than in his perfect game. And in no-hitting the Rangers, Buehrle still faced the minimum — after walking Sammy Sosa, he picked off the former Cubs slugger. 

3. April 16, 2005: 9 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K vs. Seattle. Time of game: 1:39

The 99-minute game might get lost in Buehrle's career thanks to his no-hitter and perfect game, but it's right up there in terms of how impressive it was. Not only did Buehrle set a career high in strikeouts against Seattle, but only one Mariners player got a hit that day (Ichiro, who naturally had all three). And it was the first — and still only — nine-inning game to be completed in under 100 minutes since 1984.

4. Aug. 3, 2001: 9 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 K vs. Tampa Bay. Time of game: 2:12

Before Buehrle was an All-Star, World Series winner and no-hitter/perfect game thrower, he took a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Devil Rays before Damian Rolls singled to break it up. This wasn't Buehrle's first great start of his career — that came in a three-hit shutout of the Detroit Tigers on May 26, 2001 — but it stood up for a decade and a half as one of the best games he pitched in the majors. 

5. July 21, 2004: 0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 K vs. Cleveland. Time of game: 2:31

This was another brush with perfection for Buehrle, who only allowed a one-out, seventh-inning single to Omar Vizquel (he got Matt Lawton to hit into a double play after, allowing him to face the minimum for the first time in his career). This is the longest game in Buehrle's top five thanks to the White Sox blasting Cliff Lee and the Indians for 14 runs, but even then, barely over two and a half hours was a relatively brisk pace. 

White Sox will retire Mark Buehrle's number in June

White Sox will retire Mark Buehrle's number in June

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Mark Buehrle apparently has retired after all.

The longtime White Sox pitcher, who never officially called it quits, will have his No. 56 retired on June 24.

Buehrle, who won 161 games and completed at least 200 innings in 11 straight seasons for the White Sox, last pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015. The White Sox will honor their former ace — he's the 12th player in franchise history to have his number retired — before they host the Oakland A's at 1:10 p.m. in June.

Buehrle was a human highlight reel over his 12 seasons with the White Sox. Whether it was his fancy glovework, a perfect game, his no-hitter or recording a save in the 14th inning of Game 3 of the 2005 World Series, Buehrle was a South Side legend.

"Mark Buehrle is one of the most accomplished pitchers in franchise history," White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. "Mark carried himself with class and professionalism throughout his career, and his popularity with staff, teammates and Sox fans is very well deserved. Although a very humble person, he certainly showed a flair for the dramatic on the mound, from a no-hitter to an unforgettable perfect game to a World Series title. A standout on the field and a standup teammate in the clubhouse, it is our honor to retire Mark Buehrle’s No. 56 and to welcome him into the legendary class of all-time White Sox greats."

The White Sox selected Buehrle in the 38th round of the 1998 amateur draft and he debuted in 2000, going 4-1 in 28 games (three starts). Buehrle also earned four All-Star nods while with the team (five overall) and was a three-time Rawlings Gold Glove winner (four overall). He also won two of three starts during the team's 2005 World Series run as the team snapped an 88-year championship drought.

Buehrle signed a four-year, $58-million deal with the Miami Marlins ahead of the 2012 season and was later traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. He pitched 200 innings in 14 consecutive seasons before falling four outs shy of the feat in his final campaign (2015). Though Buehrle never officially retired, he hasn’t pursued pitching for another team since.