Garfien: White Sox-D'Backs Game Live Blog

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Garfien: White Sox-D'Backs Game Live Blog

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

3:00 PM
Hey everyone. It's a gray day in Chicago. Sunny and perfect in Arizona. Life as Chicagoans as we know it!

Guess what? Baseball season is almost here. I think I have told myself this about 20 times ... today. If you're like me, this is the best and worst time of the year. Best because you know that Opening Day is so close you can taste the hot dogs (or in our case, the rounds of hot chocolate we end up drinking because it's the only thing at the concession stand to keep us "warm" on Opening Day). Worst because we're at the point where we've been watching spring training for so long it feels like life has stopped. Maybe that's a good thing. To put it another way, it's like going out and buying a brand new car with all the bells and whistles (GPS, DVD player, Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones), but you have to keep it under a tarp in your garage until April 5th.

Torture.

So to help pass the time I've decided to write a running blog about today's White Sox-Diamondbacks game airing on Fan's Best Friend, Comcast SportsNet.

It's all I can do.

So sit back, relax, and strap it down. White Sox baseball is coming your way.

3:12 PM
First inning.

John Danks gets the start for the Sox. He seems to be fully recovered from picking his beloved Texas Longhorns to win the NCAA Tournament.

Hello?

They didn't even make it out of the first round.

Danks gets out of the first inning unscathed. Mark Teahen almost threw a routine ground ball to third all the way to Flagstaff. But Paulie was there to nab it out of the air.

The Sox go 1-2-3 against Arizona pitcher Billy Buckner. No score after one.
3:35 PM
Second inning.

The year might be 2010, but this inning feels a lot like 2009.

JustinUpton leads off with a chopper to third. Teahen takes his time, makes abetter throw to first, but Upton beats it. He then steals second, RamonCastro throws the ball into the outfield. Upton to third. He scores ona base hit by Jeff Bailey. 1-0, D-backs. No more damage done.

Well,for the White Sox anyway. In the bottom of the second, there goes Uptonwith the Arizona training staff walking out of the ballpark. Maybe he'shurt. Maybe he wants to go buy some In N' Out Burger down the street. Ido.

Steve Stone says "If he's not ok, the Diamondbacks have real problems."

Speakingof problems, Mark Teahen comes to the plate. He's batting .143 thisspring with one RBI. Never a good sign when your biggest contribution sofar has been on Twitter (@espyteahen). Sorry, Mark (like he's reading this), but I couldn't help myself.

He'sa really funny guy. I've talked to him a little bit so far. He's quietat the start, but has a very dry sense of humor. He just needs to breakout of this slump.

Hasn't happened yet. Teahen grounds out to short.

3:58 PM
Third inning.

Stephen Drew up with two outs. He was my shortstop last year in fantasy baseball. That didn't work out good for either of us.

But he absolutely crushes a Danks pitch. I mean CRUSHED it. John knew it immediately. 2-0, Arizona.

Uptonhas a strained left ankle. I'm guessing he'll be ok. But then again,I'm a sportscaster writing about this from my couch.

Don Cooper is wired up for the bottom of the third.

Heconfirms that Jake Peavy threw nothing but fastballs against the Royals acouple days ago because they just wanted to build up his armstrength and not show anything to a division rival.

Coopersays he is much better suited being a pitching coach than an actualpitcher. Judging by his 1-6 career record with a 5.27 ERA ... Coop weall agree!

He says that Matt Thornton is "throwing the livingcrap out of the ball." He says there isn't anyone throwing the ballbetter in the Cactus League than Thornton. Cooper says he's fine with Mattclosing if Bobby needs a breather.

Need a quote to get youexcited for the season? Cooper: "Here's what I'm saying about our wholestaff, if we're healthy we're going to be good. And if we gethot ... watch out."

How about some offense?

Carlos Quentinwith an RBI single. Paul Konerko with an RBI groundout. Augie Ojeda robs Jones of a double that would have scored two more. Gotta talk about Joneseventually. We're tied at 2 after three.

4:12 PM
Fourth inning.

Teahen smokes the ball up the middle. That's what Greg Walker has been telling him to do. But the ball ricochets off Buckner's foot and he throws Mark out at first.

Baby steps.

My great, great grandfather Omar Vizquel drives in Mark Kotsay. Sox up, 3-2.

By the way, we're halfway done with the game and there hasn't been a single shot of Ozzie. But he's talking so loud his voice is being picked up by a nearby microphone. Ozzie, keep it clean.

Want some Ozzie Ball?

Vizquel on third. Pierre on first. Beckham at the plate. Pierre breaks for second, Vizquel races home. Everybody safe. Get used to this. 4-2, Sox.

Beckham smashes a base hit to left. Pierre scores. 5-2, Sox.

Meanwhile, my computer is at the Apple store, so I'm doing this entirely on my blackberry. I might be getting the early signs of Carpal tunnel syndrome. Anyone have Carlos Zambrano's contact info?

4:34 PM
Fifth inning.

Danks moving right along.

I start dozing a little (it's spring training) until I hear this from Hawk Harrelson:

Aubrey Huff says that Danks' changeup is as good if not better than Johan Santana's.

Really?

Not sure if you caught my recent interview with John and his brother Jordan. They last played together at Round Rock High School in Texas in 2003. In fact, they played in the state championship game. With a victory, they would have been the No. 1 high school team in the country.

Danks got the start that day but gave up five runs and took the loss.

The game still bothers John to this day. He says it's the worst loss of his career. This past winter his dad wanted to take out the tape of that game and show it John for some crazy reason. John wanted no part of it.

Danks gives up a run in the fifth to make it 5-3, Sox.

5:01 PM
Sixth inning.

After getting out of the inning unharmed, Danks is mic'd up with Hawk and Steve.

Danks says he'll pitch once more in Arizona against the Angels and then the last preseason game in Atlanta.

He gave up three runs over six. Threw 92 pitches.

Breaking news: Teahen with a base hit up the middle. He's winning the AL batting title. You heard it here first!

That would be sarcasm. But I'm not worried about him.

Ozzie calls for a hit-and-run.

95-year-old Vizuel rips a double to left. Teahen scores. Castro scores. I can hear Ozzie yapping with glee in the dugout.

7-3, Sox.

I don't know about you, but with this kind of offense, Sox-Twins games should be pretty interesting this year.

A Quentin RBI single drives in Vizquel. Yes, the Sox offense is finally here. 8-3.

Konerko is up. He gave me a hitting lesson this winter while I attended the Sox Fantasy Camp.

When we got in the cage he said he thought I'd be of the "non-athletic type."

Thanks Paul.

I asked him if we were playing a pick-up game, where would he pick me? He said in the middle to late rounds "because every team needs charisma."

So I've got that going for me ... which is nice.

5:21 PM
Seventh inning.

Greg Aquino in for Danks. Remember Chris Young, the "can't-miss" prospect the Sox traded to Arizona in the Javier Vazquez?

Well, after that breakout season in 2007, he's come back down to earth. Last year he hit .212 with 15 homers and 42 RBIs. Aquino strikes him out. He's 0-for-3.

Kotsay with another hit. He'll bat .980 this year.

Here's Teahen. And here's Hawk:

"YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD ... YES!!!!"

Mark goes oppo to left.

His first home run of the spring. A two-run jack. He goes straight into the dugout and tweets about it.

10-3, Sox. Hawk is VERY happy. So is Teahen.

5:42 PM
Eighth inning.

Bobby Jenks is in.

A couple weeks ago when I was at Spring Training, I asked him if he'd be willing to sit down with us for an interview about his decision to give up drinking.

He had just spoken to mlb.com about it, but he decided he was done talking about it.

So we started talking about Bobby's trip out to Glendale. He drives each year with his family all the way from Chicago, making tourist stops along the way.

Bobby says, "You should come with us next year with your cameraman."

Hmmm. I think we might have to do it. Although that's a looooooonnnnnnggggg drive. Maybe we'll meet him somewhere in New Mexico.

Bobby puts a couple runners on. One on a hit off the end of the bat. The other on a walk. But he gets out of it.

Andruw Jones is up. He's a beast! A base hit up the middle. He just hurt that ball. Yep, Kenny Williams got him for 500,000, 1.5 million with incentives.

Look out American League.

5:47 PM
Ninth inning.

I've just come to the realization that I have watched an entire spring training game on television.

I think there's something wrong with me.

No, I'm just studying. Yeah, that's it! I'm simply preparing myself for the season.

Opening Day better get here soon.

Like tomorrow.

Sox win, 10-3.

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — If Carlos Rodon starts on the disabled list as expected, the White Sox won't turn to any of their vaunted top prospects in the interim.

The news on Rodon has been encouraging so far as no structural damage has been discovered. Still, the White Sox won't clear Rodon until after he receives a second opinion on Monday. While the length of Rodon's absence won't be determined for several days, the White Sox are certain of one route they won't take — they don't want to disrupt the development of their young starting pitchers. Were a DL trip for Rodon necessary, the White Sox would likely select either Saturday's starter, Dylan Covey, or minor leaguer David Holmberg over their top prospects. Covey made a strong impression on Saturday afternoon with 3 2/3 scoreless innings pitched and the White Sox rallied for a 10-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark.

"When you have an opportunity to stabilize action or movement for players it serves them better," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "They get a little more comfortable where they're at. They get comfortable with the staffs they're working with and the information they're gathering, being in a routine. It is a little disruptive going from team to team to team. It happens, but it's not the most conducive (to learning)."

The White Sox are all about development this season. Therefore, they have no plans to call upon Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer or Michael Kopech unless they're A) ready and B) throwing every fifth day in Chicago. Renteria's comments Saturday reiterated Rick Hahn's earlier message, saying the club doesn't want to disrupt the development path.

That puts Covey, a Rule 5 draft pick in December, with a decent opportunity to make the club out of camp. Covey commanded the strike zone on Saturday only hours after Renteria said he hoped to see the young right-hander replicate an Arizona Fall League performance that initially warmed the White Sox up to him.

Aside from a two-out walk in his final inning, Covey was sharp the whole way. He allowed three hits and struck out three.

"My last couple of outings I was definitely feeling the stress," Covey said. "I was kind of pitching a little passive, pitching to not make a mistake instead of just going right after guys. So today and yesterday I just thought I'm just going to throw every pitch with conviction and see what happens. I got a lot of weak contact today and some swings and misses, so I felt good."

Covey threw 44 pitches, 27 for strikes. He potentially could stay in Arizona on Thursday and make an additional minor league start to build arm strength, which would get him to roughly 60 pitches before the regular seasons started.

The White Sox don't officially need a fifth starter until April 9 and they're off the following day. That break could allow the White Sox to start Covey as part of a bullpen day. Covey said he recently changed his mindset after lackluster results in relief this spring. The right-hander has a 6.94 ERA this spring in 11 2/3 innings.

"Obviously my last two outings out of the pen I wasn't getting crushed, but I just wasn't commanding the ball or commanding the count as much as I would like to be," Covey said. "The mistakes get hit a little harder when you're falling behind in the count. Today I wanted to have the mindset of attacking hitters, throwing everything down in the zone and going right after them, and it worked out."

The White Sox blasted six home runs in the contest, including a majestic, go-ahead grand slam by first baseman Danny Hayes in the top of the ninth inning. Hayes is hitting .351/.400/.595 with two homers and is tied for the team lead with 13 RBIs this spring. Jose Abreu, Nick Delmonico, Cody Asche, Everth Cabrera and Jacob May also homered for the White Sox. 

White Sox: Carlos Rodon feels reassured after clean MRI

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USA TODAY

White Sox: Carlos Rodon feels reassured after clean MRI

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While he still has a second opinion ahead and is likely to start 2017 on the disabled list, a clean MRI has Carlos Rodon feeling relieved after a bizarre Thursday.

The White Sox pitcher described Saturday the strange experience he’s had the past few days dealing with soreness in his left bicep.

In the span of 48 hours, Rodon -- who will receive a second opinion on Monday -- went from feeling good enough after a midweek bullpen session to request that his first start be moved up to likely landing on the DL. As he prepares to navigate the rehab process, Rodon is more at ease after an MRI on Friday showed no structural damage.

“(Thursday) was a weird day for me,” Rodon said. “I wasn’t very happy with it. I got that checked out, trying to figure it out.

“I feel better. It’s reassuring.”

“(Your arm is) your tool. It’s concerning. But that’s why you go get those things checked out and make sure everything is ok. That’s what we did.”

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Rodon, who went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 165 innings in 2016, has one more checkup before he’s all clear. He travels to Los Angeles on Monday for an appointment with Dr. Neal ElAttrache. General manager Rick Hahn said Friday that a second opinion is “protocol.”

Though he has already been reassured -- the club’s diagnosis was he had no structural issues after a physical exam and then the clean MRI -- Rodon wouldn’t mind more confirmation. The left-hander said he hadn’t experienced the kind of tightness he suddenly felt in his biceps tendon before Thursday. He could lift his arm above his head, but Rodon said his stuff wasn’t the same. After he informed them, the White Sox determined to be cautious.

“It’s pretty tight up there,” Rodon said. “I’ve never really been that tight. I couldn’t really step on some balls I wanted to throw to get that arm going. So, I had to get it checked out. It didn’t feel too good.”

The White Sox already had Rodon on a delayed schedule where he needed to hit every mark to be ready for the regular season. They did so in hopes of helping him avoid the fatigue he experienced last summer and also reaching the 200-inning mark this season. Now it appears Rodon will begin the season on the DL, according to Hahn.

Though he’d like to start the season on schedule, Rodon wants to make sure he’s physically good to go.

“Just trying to be healthy man,” Rodon said. “You don’t want to go the start of the season and be behind the best guys. You are a tick down from the best guys in the world. It’s not fun pitching when you are not feeling too good. I want to be 100 percent when I’m out there. That gives our team the best chance of winning.”