Dunn drops back while he waits to go deep

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Dunn drops back while he waits to go deep

Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Posted: 7:22 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

NEW YORKBack in Tampa, Adam Dunn and I sat and talked for awhile about high school football in Texas.

He starred at New Caney High near Houston, and was a prized Texas Longhorns recruit who was ticketed to start in Austin after redshirting in 1998 as a dual minor league playercollege football quarterback. I went to college in the Lone Star State.

He hung out with running back Ricky Williams, then a similar dual player, albeit one of much greater fame. I hung out with guys who grew up in the glare of Friday Night Lights in west Texas, so I knew more than I wanted to about that football-crazed state.

After first acknowledging the supremacy of my Texas Christian University Horned Frogs over his beloved Longhorns, we laughed over my memories of attending high school playoff games in Dallas that he watched on TV as a nine-year-old.

Tampa marked the first time that the pigskin made its debut with the White Sox, as Dunn and Paul Konerko tossed the ball back and forth, beneath the Trop surface.

Today, Dunn took his skills to the surface, putting a twist on pitching sprints by having the White Sox arms run routes for him, as he launched spirals 50 yards in the airand his troops mostly flailed in trying to run under them.

I try to do it three times a week, especially when it warms up, Dunn said. Its fun. Its good exercise.

Dunn cited Edwin Jackson has the best receiver of the pitchers, and indeed Jackson flashed some speed in chasing down some Dunn bombs.

Jackson mentioned playing some wide receiver in high school, but, true to his nature as a hurler, lost interest because you dont get to throw the ball.

Dunn dismissed many of the other hurlers with his usual, derogatory label of kickers, saying, There are probably a lousy players who are your typical kickers out there.

The troops, including Dunn, were rusty, the affable slugger acknowledged.

None of us were in shape to be doing that, he said. Look at us in July; minicamp time, well be right there.

While Dunn admitted in Tampa that his high school team ran the ball a ton and he threw around 15 passes per game (I had a lot of 12-for-15s with 300 yards, our receivers were awesome), he dreamed like all young Texas boys did of lining up behind center.

Its something Ive done my whole life, he said. But I still enjoy running around and throwing, just like anyone. I just have enough time to do it every day.

With Jay Cutler locked out of the NFL, Dunn said he hasnt given any thought to recasting himself again as a two-sport star.

No, dudes, he said with a laugh. Ive got enough to worry about right now.

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

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As he surveyed the landscape this offseason, Peter Bourjos thought he and the White Sox would make for a good fit.

Adam Eaton had been traded and Austin Jackson departed via free agency, leaving the White Sox with Melky Cabrera and several young players to man a thin outfield. Bourjos, who lived in Chicago until second grade, pursued the White Sox and last month agreed to terms on a minor-league deal in hopes of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Last season, Bourjos, who was born in Chicago, hit .251/.292/.389 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 383 plate appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I always liked playing in Chicago,” Bourjos said. “It was a good fit and then spring training is here. I have two young kids. So packing them up and going to Florida wasn’t something I wanted to do either.

“We definitely look at all those options on paper. Evaluate what might be the best chance of making a team and this is definitely one of them. It seems like a good fit on paper.”

If he’s healthy enough, Charlie Tilson will get the first crack at the everyday job in center field. Tilson, who missed the final two months of last season with a torn hamstring, is currently sidelined for 10 days with foot problems. Beyond Tilson, the White Sox have prospects Adam Engel and Jacob May with Cabrera slated to start in left field and Avisail Garcia pegged for right. Leury Garcia is also in the mix.

But there still appears to be a good shot for Bourjos to make the club and manager Rick Renteria likes his veteran presence for the young group. Bourjos has accrued six seasons of service time between the Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals.

“Bourjy has been around,” Renteria said. “He knows what it takes. He understands the little nuances of major-league camp and how we have so many players and we want to give them all a look. We want to see Bourjos, we want to see him out there.”

Bourjos, who turns 30 in March, has an idea what he wants to do with his chance. A slick defensive outfielder, Bourjos wants to prove he’s a better hitter than his .243/.300/.382 slash line would suggest. He said it’s all about being relaxed.

“Offensively just slow everything down and not try to do too much,” Bourjos said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it hasn’t translated. I think last year I got in a spot where I just tried to relax in the batter’s box and let everything go and what happened happened. I had success with that.

“I now realize what that feels like and it doesn’t work. Just take a deep breath and be relaxed in the box and good things are going to happen.”

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Giovanni Soto pitched to Geovany Soto at White Sox camp on Monday morning, and the Internet loved it.

The veteran catcher and rookie pitcher, who share similar names and have been friends for two years, worked together during live batting practice. The unrelated pair, who both hail from Puerto Rico, said they’ve been confused for each other several times since reporting to camp last week. Each has also heard the other’s name being called out and thought it was for them, which has led to more confusion. But those mix-ups haven’t limited their enjoyment of the situation, either.

“It’s kind of surreal that he has the same name, last name,” Geovany Soto said. “It’s kind of weird calling him Gio and he’s calling me Geo. It’s kind of weird.

“With the physicals, doctors, the people for the drug testing, we’ve been confused in all three of those. I’m expecting that to happen. Hopefully I can get a big check on his name and cash it.”

The social media world isn’t alone in its enjoyment of the topic as both players smiled while discussing it on Monday.

Giovanni Soto said the players met two seasons ago when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians and the catcher was in his first stint with the White Sox. They grew up about 20 minutes apart from each other in Puerto Rico and now spend time together in the offseason. But what has made the scenario even more confusing is that White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito is seated only a few stalls away from Giovanni Soto in the clubhouse.

“It’s kind of weird, especially in the clubhouse and on the field because when someone says Geo, we turn around to see if it’s for him or for me,” Giovanni Soto said. “And we also have Giolito, and people call him Gio. It’s weird, but it’s funny too.”

Both Sotos could make the team’s Opening Day roster.

Geovany Soto, who signed a minor league contract in January, is the most experienced catcher in camp and is favored to win a job. Giovanni Soto, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs in November, is one of several relievers competing for a spot and could make the club if the White Sox decide to carry two left-handers in the bullpen. And while Giolito is expected to start the season at Triple-A, he could reach the majors at some point causing more pandemonium.

“There’s a lot of Geo going on with Giolito, Giovanni and then me,” Geovany Soto said. “And can get pretty hectic. But yeah, it’s fun for us.”