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.

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

carlos_rodon_white_sox.jpg
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.”

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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.”