Hit parade: White Sox tap out 31

Hit parade: White Sox tap out 31

Monday, March 7, 2011
6:45 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. After finishing the first week of Cactus League play 1-6, the Chicago White Sox enjoyed their last day of manager Ozzie Guillens declared vacation with a split-squad run barrage, winning 12-1 over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Tucson and tying the Cleveland Indians 16-16 after nine innings at Camelback Ranch.

Both games were the sort of windswept affairs that do wonders for slumping hitters egos. The White Sox entered Monday with a .239 team average, an ugly figure far back in their rearview mirrors after 31 hits between the split squads today.

Down in Tucson, it was homer heaven early for the White Sox, with Alexei Ramirez blasting solo shots into a 36 mph jet stream in his first two at-bats and Ramon Castro adding a home run of his own in the third. Ramirez was 3-for-3 on the day, with three RBI, and is now hitting .400 on the spring.

Brent Lillibridge punctuated a seven-run seventh for the White Sox with a two-out, bases-clearing double off of Rattlers pitcher Daniel Strange. Lillibridge now has five RBIs and is hitting .313 in Cactus League action. Kenneth Williams, son of GM Ken Williams, pinch-ran for Adam Dunn in that frame, inducing a balk from Strange and scoring Chicagos seventh run.

All in all, the White Sox slapped out 12 hits, with the only hitters to bat more than once and take the collar being Lastings Milledge, Brent Morel (both 0-for-3) and Dallas McPherson (0-for-2).

White Sox pitchers were stellar, as starter Edwin Jackson earned the win with 3 13 innings of one-run, two-strikeout ball, and remaining pitchers Chris Sale (two innings), Sergio Santos (23 innings), Josh Kinney (two innings) and Charlie Leesman (one inning) held Arizona scoreless.

Back in Glendale, conditions were even more ripe for a 16-inch softball game, with 25 mph winds were howling out to left. The White Sox led the Indians 9-6 after two innings but coughed up six runs in the final two frames to end regulation in a tie.

Chicagos 19-hit assault was led by Alex Rios, with two homers and five RBI on the day; Rios leads the White Sox with seven RBI but was batting just .231, as all three of the centerfielders hits this spring have been home runs. Mark Teahen went 2-for-3 with three RBI, but again struggled in the field, committing two more throwing errors to bring his total to four in Cactus League play. White Sox phenom Jared Mitchell saw his first action of the spring, pinch-hitting for Juan Pierre in the eighth and tapping out a run-scoring single to close Chicagos scoring.

The only White Sox with more than one at-bat who failed to place a safety were second baseman Austin Yount (nephew of Robin) and catcher Josh Phegley (both 0-for-2).

White Sox pitchers didnt fare so well, allowing 20 hits to the Wahoos. Only Brandon Hynick, who struck out the side in the fifth, hurled with any merit. Lucas Harrell flopped away his chance to assert himself as the systems top starter outside of the major league rotation by getting knocked out of the box with two out in the second, having allowed eight runs (six earned). Jeff Marquez relieved for 2 13 innings but remained crazy-wild, striking out three but spinning not one but two wild pitches en route to two earned runs.

After Hynicks mastery of Cleveland in the fifth, Kyle Cofield came on for two innings, allowing two earned runs. And in the eighth and ninth, things really got ugly, as Gregory Infante was touched for five hits and four earned runs in the eighth and Nate Jones failed to close out the game, allowing three hits and the two tying runs (one earned).

The White Sox defense was uncommonly sloppy, committing five errors in all, while Cleveland coughed up just one.

Getting the offense out of the starting gatein just one days time the White Sox saw their team average shoot skyward from .239 to .274was a relief to Guillen. But now, the competition begins.

Today is the last day of our vacation, he said. Its time to start playing the game right.

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

Preview: White Sox face the Mariners Thursday on CSN

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Preview: White Sox face the Mariners Thursday on CSN

The White Sox take on the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Thursday’s starting pitching matchup: Anthony Ranaudo vs. James Paxton

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James Shields, White Sox lose to Phillies and snap winning streak

James Shields, White Sox lose to Phillies and snap winning streak

James Shields allowed his fewest runs in a month on Wednesday night, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a loss.

Shields yielded two more home runs in six innings and his offense couldn’t keep pace as the White Sox lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 in front of 15,630 at U.S. Cellular Field. Shields gave up four earned runs and seven hits. Dioner Navarro homered in the loss, which snapped a three-game White Sox winning streak.

“We’ve seen better,” manager Robin Ventura said. “(Shields) got to two strikes, two outs and gave up a couple there and that’s tough. The homer to left, that’s just one you get in this ballpark. The biggest one, for him, mistake-wise was the homer to Joseph. I think that’s the one that he wants back. But as far as going out there and getting us to a point, he’s still got room to improve on. But he got through it.”

The six innings pitched marks the most by Shields since July 26.

In between, Shields allowed 28 runs (27 earned) and 33 hits in 14 innings over four turns, good for a 17.36 ERA.

He fell behind 3-0 by the third inning before he settled in and retired nine of 11 batters. The Phillies pieced together a two-out rally in the second inning to go up two runs as Tommy Joseph and Freddy Galvis doubled with an Aaron Altherr singled sandwiched in between.

Cesar Hernandez opened the third inning with a solo homer just inside the left-field foul pole.

Joseph also homered with two outs in the sixth inning to put Philadelphia ahead 4-0.

Shields has allowed 31 homers in 143 innings this season, including 22 in 75.2 innings for the White Sox. Eleven of those have come in his last four starts.

He walked none and struck out six.

“I think the only pitch I made a mistake on was that last one, the home run in the sixth inning there,” Shields said. “The ball kind of slipped out of my hand a little bit and kind of left it over the plate. Other than that I felt good with my location tonight. I was hitting my spots consistently. They were getting hits here and there. That’s part of it. One of the positives things, I didn’t walk anyone and I was getting some swings and misses. But we have to move on and move forward and build off that.”

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The White Sox didn’t have much success against Phillies starting pitcher Jerod Eickhoff, who retired the first nine batters he faced. Avisail Garcia led off the sixth inning with a single and Navarro belted a two-run homer to right to make it a 4-2 game.

Eickhoff limited the White Sox to two runs and four hits in six innings.

Garcia kept the White Sox alive with a two-out RBI single in the ninth inning. But Jeanmar Gomez retired Navarro with runners on the corners to end the threat.

“Until Dio hit the homer there wasn’t much going for us,” Ventura said. “We got one --- I think Adam was the one that breaks it up and gets it going. But (Eickoff) was tough on us. A great curveball. That’s the biggest thing that sticks out. When he got in trouble, that curveball was the pitch for us. After that, it just wasn’t a good night offensively. I don’t think we swung it that well.”

White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez felt good in bullpen session

White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez felt good in bullpen session

If all continues to go well, Miguel Gonzalez could pitch in a rehab start as soon as Friday.

On the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin, the White Sox starter said he felt good during a second bullpen session on Wednesday.

Gonzalez, who is 2-6 with a 4.05 ERA in 19 games (18 starts), threw 30 pitches. He previously threw a bullpen session on Friday and felt some discomfort the following day. But Gonzalez said he has made progress since he received treatment on Saturday.

“A lot better,” Gonzalez said. “I didn’t feel anything while I was throwing my bullpen, which is great. I’m happy with the results today and come back tomorrow and we’ll see.”

Gonzalez left an Aug. 11 start at Kansas City in the bottom of the second inning. Though he wasn’t yet sure if he’d head out on a rehab assignment, Gonzalez said he was on the third day of a five-day schedule in which he was supposed to start. But it’s also possible the White Sox could have Gonzalez first throw a simulated game.

“We're going to have him go back out there again and do a little bit more, that looks more like starting in a game where he's going to throw for a little while, sit down, get back up,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Simulate some innings and hopefully after he does that a couple time he can go out for a rehab assignment.”