First Sox drops include a surprise in Leesman

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First Sox drops include a surprise in Leesman

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Posted: 12:05 p.m. Updated: 3:50 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The Chicago White Sox announced their first seven roster cuts of the spring, headlined by aspiring spot starters Lucas Harrell and Charlie Leesman.

Harrell and pitcher Jhonny Nunez were sent to AAA Charlotte, while Leesman, outfielder Brandon Short, catchers Josh Phegley and Jared Price, and pitcher Kyle Bellamy were reassigned to minor-league camp.

Harrell, coming into camp considered the front-runner for the No. 5 spot in the rotation had Jake Peavy proven unable to break camp with the big club, had a mostly disastrous spring. His first appearance was a scoreless inning of relief, during which he made a diving, linebacker assist of a spinning tapper toward first, but his Cactus League was disappointing from there. His spring numbers included a team-worst 20.25 ERA (six earned runs in 2 23 innings), nine hits, and two home runs.

He should be disappointed in himself, Guillen said. We gave him the opportunity. We gave him everything. The first meeting I had, I told him wed give him a chance. What we saw is not what were looking for. Youve got to go out there and throw strikes.

Bellamy was also among the springs biggest disappointments, recording a 9.00 ERA in two games, with two strikeoutstwo walks and a wild pitch.

The remaining cuts saw little action this spring. Nunez pitched to just one batter, striking him out (he did allow two hits and punched out three batters in two innings of B-Game action vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 3). Phegley was 0-4 with two Ks, Price was 1-2 in two games, and Short was 2-6 with three Ks in five games. He made his Cactus League debut in fine fashion, with a diving catch in left field late in the opener vs. the Dodgers.

Leesman also saw little action this Cactus League, pitching just two innings, allowing one hit and three walks against two Ks. The young lefty notched a 0.00 ERA but also had a wild pitch. White Sox brass shine sunny on Leesman, but his struggle with breaking-pitch command was made evident in a number of bullpen sessions prior to game action.

White Sox manager on Monday had implied the window was wide open for any player fighting for a roster spot, as no one had distinguished themselves in battles for the teams 12th pitcher spot and final bench seat.

I dont see anybody stepping up into last bullpen or bench spots, Guillen said. Thats not too bright. Were going to give guys a chance to make the team. At the end of the day, they will make the team for you or they will cut their own throats.

Guillen, known as ruthlessly efficient when it comes to his spring work, said on Wednesday that he wasnt in the business of sending out false signals or hopes to young players.

Nobody will be sent down, at least if youre a kid, until we have to send you down, he said. Were going to give you a shot. Were not going to send you down just because. I dont think we should waste anybodys time here. I dont think we should go home and make this guy hope for an opportunity: Oh, Im in the mix. The way were going to do it this year, the way GM Kenny Williams wants to do it is move quicker and try to put this roster together as quick as we can.

Chicago is now down to 46 players in camp, including 24 pitchers, four catchers, 11 infielders and seven outfielders.

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

How to watch, stream White Sox vs. Yankees

How to watch, stream White Sox vs. Yankees

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Last-place White Sox ready to trade, but only if the right offer arises

Last-place White Sox ready to trade, but only if the right offer arises

That the White Sox lost their fourth consecutive game doesn’t change the big picture plans of the franchise, which probably — but not definitely — will involve making at least one trade before the end of July.

Before the White Sox lost, 6-5, to the New York Yankees Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field, general manager Rick Hahn met with the media and delivered the same message he’s had since trading away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in December. The White Sox are open for business, and would like to make a number of moves to further bolster their farm system, but won’t make a trade if they don’t receive what they view to be a fair return.

“Would I be surprised (if we didn’t make a trade)? No, because I try not to be surprised by the dynamics of this market,” Hahn said. “Would I be mildly disappointed? Sure. We are here to try to improve this club.

“We feel we have certain first and desirable players that would help other clubs and may fit better on their competitive windows then they do on ours right now. And we intend to be active each day in trying to further accomplish what we set out to do a year ago at this time.

“But do we have to do it? No. That would be using an artificial spot on the calendar to force decision-making. That would be the last thing we need to do. We need to take a long term view of what we are trying to accomplish.”

Hahn didn’t name names, but Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson could be short-term fixes for contending clubs. Jose Quintana, who will start Tuesday against the Yankees, remains the team’s most valuable trade chip despite a 4.69 ERA that sits over run higher than his career average.

Frazier homered Monday and entered the game hitting .262/.351/.524 since Memorial Day. Cabrera similarly has found success after a slow start, slashing a healthy .324/.375/.482 in his previous 34 games before picking up two hits in four at-bats Monday. And Robertson, who’s been linked to the relief-starved Washington Nationals for months, has 41 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings with 11 saves.

“We want to be able to do as much as we can in our power to get this team to where it needs to be,” Hahn said. “Yes, there’s an element of competitiveness involved in that. There’s an element of patience involved in that. But at the end of the day, we have to — we get paid to be prudent in our decision making. We have to make the right decision.”

In the meantime, the White Sox looked the part of a rebuilding team with the worst record in the American League on Monday. Starter David Holmberg struggled, allowing six runs on five hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings — but only two of those runs were earned thanks to errors by Holmberg, Frazier and Matt Davidson.

As the Yankees took advantage of those miscues with three runs in both the fourth and sixth innings, Jordan Montgomery retired nine consecutive White Sox batters and went on to cruise with eight strikeouts over seven innings. The White Sox – as they’ve done quite a bit this year – still showed fight late, battling back in the ninth inning.

Tim Anderson ripped a three-run home run in the ninth inning off Yankees left-hander Chasen Shreve to bring the White Sox within two. Joe Girardi quickly turned to Aroldis Chapman, who allowed a run when Jose Abreu doubled home Melky Cabrera. But the tying run was stranded on second when Avisail Garcia grounded out and Frazier flew out to end the game.